Clare - News Items from the London Times

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Clare Index


File contributed by: Cathy Labath


The Times; London, Middlesex, England; 20 August 1790

At Clare, in Ireland, Mr. Joseph Parson, many years the only
Revenue-Officer at that port. In attempting to stop some
corn going on board a boat at Clare, he received a push from
a soldier, which threw him down, and Mr. Parsons being
rather old and infirm, it occasioned his death in a few
hours; the soldier was tried at Ennis, and acquitted.
The Times; London, Middlesex, England; 12 Feb 1812

Hugh Collins of Rosrow, county Clare, has been committed to
Ennis jail, charged with being the principal person who
murdered John Guerin, returning from Rosmanaher fair, Jan.
7, 1811, and also charged with a number of capital offences.
He was a noted offender, and had bid defiance to the laws;
hardly a day passed that he was not committing some
depredation or other; he was apprehended by the Rosscastle
infantry, and escorted to jail by a detachment of that
The Times; London, Middlesex, England; 12 April 1831

(From the Dublin Morning Register.)

We have, we regret to state, by a letter from Clare,
received full confirmation of the account of the murder of
five policemen. It would appear, however, from our
correspondent's letter, that the policemen were shot, not
stoned to death. The fight that took place was a regular
battle, in which several of the peasantry were wounded and
all the police force killed. The manner in which the
conflict commenced was this: - Information was had that a
Terry Alt or Swing party had proceeded to the house of a Mr.
John Cahill, at Ballyreen, and the police party set out to
give that gentleman all the protection in their power. Not
finding Mr. Cahill at home, the Terry Alts departed. The
police, learning the direction of their retreat, commenced a
pursuit, and came with them at Tomavehera. Here the
sanguinary conflict began and was concluded. Our
correspondent, who appears to write under great
apprehension, says, that in that district of the county of
Clare nothing like an adequate force of military has been
stationed. He mentions a circumstance, which must prove that
these miserable beings (the Terry Alts) make no sectarian
distinction in their aggressions – namely, that a Catholic
clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Kierley, who recently took a house
and land from a man named Laurence Thynne, has been obliged
to abandon it. Thynne himself was compelled to fly for
safety to the town of Ennis, where he has been living for
the last two months.

(From the Limerick Evening Post)
LIMERICK, April 6 – A dreadful affray took place on Monday
at Listoonvarna, a village about 14 miles north-west of
Ennis. There are various versions of the story in town, but
all concur and confirm the report of one countryman being
killed by the police and five police being killed by the
countrymen. The bodies of the five policemen were brought
into Ennis this day. It is not known whether more than one
countryman was shot; but it is believed there must have been
havoc made amongst them, for the police kept up an unceasing
fire of ball cartridge upon the multitude while ever they
had a bullet or grain of powder, and they had a good supply.
When the country people found the ammunition exhausted, they
then rushed in on the constables, and massacred them in a
very cruel manner. It is said the police went to the chapel,
where the people were all assembled at mass (it was a holy
day), to arrest some man against whom they had a warrant;
others say they had a man in custody, who got away from them
into the chapel. I believe there is no doubt but the police
fired, and with effect, before the country people in any
manner assailed them. I heard a policeman, who came from
Ennis with dispatches, say so. Others say the county people
first attacked the police. We have it here that Sir Edward
O'Brien and the Marquis of Anglesey are quite at issue as to
the measures to be adopted for tranquilizing the country.

(Extract of Another Letter)
At 2 o'clock yesterday (Monday) the entire establishment of
police stationed at Doolin, consisting of a serjeant and
four men, were murdered. They came in contact with a large
body of the peasantry, and after a long resistance, and
having killed and wounded several of the peasantry, they
were all shot, and their heads and bodies broken in pieces.

The Times; London, Middlesex, England; 4 July 1831


Judges Moore and Jebb took their seats on the bench shortly
after 9 o'clock. John Grady, as put to the bar, charged with
aiding and assisting in the murder of five policemen – viz.
Alexander Shaw, Andrew Joyce, James Nettleville, Thomas
Duffy, and Daniel Gallagher. The ATTORNEY GENERAL stated the
case, simply detailing the facts. Thomas Creen, examined by
Serjeant GOOLD – I saw eight or nine men armed, on the 4th
of April, who wore strawhats; two of them spoke to me and
asked where my master was, for that they wanted money from
him which he owed (Terry-alt money); saw party go over in
the direction of Toohavara. George Macnamara, Esq., examined
by Mr. BENNETT, - I am brother of Francis Macnamara, Esq.,
magistrate. Was present at an information made of an attack
to be made on Cahill's house. I am aware of the names of the
police, as above. Went myself with the party, until I
thought the insurgents had passed the mountains. It was 10
o'clock in the morning when I parted with the police; at 5
o'clock in the evening heard they were dead. Michael
Kinna?d, examined by Mr. WOULFE – I remember Easter Monday;
was going to Ennistymon; Tom M'Inery brought me into the
forge, where there was a party, and said I should go with
them; the mob had arms – guns, pistols, and swords; the mob
passed the mountain to avoid been seen and were going to
John Cahill's house, to demand 30l. After this they came
hither to the chapel at Toohavara, where the police was
following us. Our party stood and met with another party,
and both of them joined. The two parties now united, one
said – “Let us go back, and kill the police;” the other said
– “It would be a shame for us to go home without killing
them.” I know the prisoner at the bar, John Grady. He had a
gun. The police now commenced firing at the mob, and the mob
at the police. The police fired seven or eight shots, and
the mob  fired but three. Thomas M'Inery was tired,and the
police overtook him, and made a prisoner of him. When the
police came to the chapel of Toohavara, there were about
half a hundred of people present. Some of them were working
in a garden, and left their work. The police were killed by
guns, stones, and sticks. The prisoner John Grady had a gun.
He struck one of the police and broke a gun on his head.
Grady, when the gun was broken, got a stick, and struck a
policeman coming across the road, who fled for shelter to
Quin's house. He was brought out by the Terrys. His body was
stretched on the road. The party denied Cahill to send
money, and served other houses with notices. There were 14
of the Terrys, who had seven or eight guns. Saw the prisoner
knock a policeman down with a gun and beat another man down
with a stick. The Terrys fired the first shot. Many other
witnesses were called, from whose evidence the following
facts were elicited. When the police had secured as a
prisoner M'Inerny, the people said they would liberate him,
and any man who flinched had no further business in the
country. Accordingly the attack became furious; two of the
police had separated from three of their companions, one of
whom was murdered near the chapel, exclaiming, “Clare boys,
I am a Catholic.” Another was murdered about a quarter of a
mile from the chapel, and three were murdered in a field.
The prisoner had taken an active part in those murders. The
bodies (4 of them) were brought into the chapel. The
physician who examined the bodies, described the blows
inflicted as principally on the head; that the bodies were
otherwise mutilated; and that the brains of some were
protruding, owing to heavy inflictions from the but end of
guns. Judge JEBB, charged the Jury. He said that the police
were in charge of a lawful and the insurgents an unlawful
duty. In the case of resistance to the police, in the
discharge of their duty, those who offered that resistance
were accountable for the consequences which followed from
it. The Jury retired, and brought in a verdict of guilty.
The prisoner seemed not to feel the awful situation in which
he was placed, when called upon if he had any thing to say
why judgment should not be pronounced. Judge JEBB then took
a comprehensive view of the state of insubordination and the
incendiary class of crime which prevailed in this county,
and adverted in very pointed terms to those agitators who
excited the public mind by disturbing the public peace.The
word “agitators” caused some significant winking through the
court. The prisoner was sentenced to be hanged on Thursday
next. He said, in the Irish language,” Thank God, you can do
nothing to my soul.”

The Times; London, Middlesex, England; 3 May 1831

On Thursday morning, about 10 o'clock, shortly before the
Ennis caravan for Limerick arrived at Cratloe-cross, three
assassins, dressed in women's clothes, and armed with a
blunderbuss and two muskets, went to the house of a man
named Molony, herdsman to Mr. Thomas Donoughue, a
comfortable farmer, holding lands between the Cross and the
Shannon, and placing him on his knees, desired him to say
his prayers. One of the party fired on him, on which the
unfortunate man, though severely wounded, ran out of the
house, but was instantly followed, and, as he was crossing a
stream, he received a second shot in the back part of the
head, which deprived him of life. His cold-blooded murderers
then fired several balls through his head and breast, and
this in the presence of a number of countrymen at work in
the adjacent fields, but who saw these fellows entering the
unfortunate man's house, and were witness to the fatal
issue, without venturing or showing the least disposition to
render him any assistance. In a few minutes after, an
officer passed by, when these fellows fired a feu de joie,
from behind a wall, adjoining the wood, either in defiance
or to celebrate their sanguinary triumph. Poor Molony's only
offence was not having driven his master's cattle off the
farm, according to notice, in which he was apprised of his
fate in the event of disobedience. Major Ryan, of the 50th
Regiment, with a party of the 17th Lancer, were, in about 30
minutes after the foul deed took place, upon the spot, and
continued all yesterday to scour the woods, but we apprehend
without tracing the murders. Shortly after committing the
above murder these assassins went to the house of a
respectable farmer, living at the Cross, on the high road
between Limerick and Ennis, threatening him with a similar
fate, if he did not sell potatoes on their terms. This,
indeed, is a horrid state of society, and must be
suppressed, not only by the power of the Government, but by
an armed array, embodied in district and parochial corps, of
the moral and intellectual energies of the county. – Clare