Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Athenry and the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921 Part 1: On the way to the fair 1920 by Ronan Killeen

After the execution of the leaders of 1916 this changed public opionion for sympathy of the rebels. In the post-war general election of 1918, Sinn Féin won a large majority across the country, with the exception of north-east, where unionists, opposed to any diminution of the union with Britain, held sway.
    Dáil Eireann was established in Dublin 1919 and declared Irish Independence to the world but international recognition  for the Irish Republic fell on deaf ears, and the British government refused t countenance the concept of Irish democrarcy or the Irish right to self determinition. The Republic went underground and the Irish Volunteers became the IRA.

IRA Volunteers mainly of the ages 18yrs-30yrs. IRA Volunteers occupations were mainly shop assistants, farmer's sons, rural labourers, factory and transport workers.


 For Athenry the Irish War of Independence seems to begin on the 15th December 1919, when a farmer named Michael Keane from Carramore, Loughrea was fired at by an unknown party while cycling to  the Athenry Fair was wounded in the legs and immediately had to brought to Dublin hospital.
   Mr.Keane had purchased some grazing land of a Mr.Johnstone, Fehenagh, for which the people in the locality had been agitating for sometime.Mr. Keane was not the only person shot by an unknown party but there was the most famous assaination of them all and remains a cold case to this very day and that is the assaination of Mr.Frank ShaweTaylor at Moorepark, Athenry.

On the 03 March 1920, Shawe-Taylor and his chauffer Mr.James Barrett, had to go to the Galway Fair. The reason for this was that  Shawe-Taylor had been a large stock-holder which meant it was custom for him to go to any principal fair.
   The day started to clear and Shawe-Taylor was driving at a moderate pace. The district only had a few houses. When Shawe-Taylor reached Coshla, ahead on the right was Egan's publichouse about twenty yards off the road. Shawe-Taylor and Barret noticed a barriacade across the roadway ten yards from them. Shawe-Taylor exlaimed to his chauffer Barret 'What is this for?!'
   The obstruction was composed off a donkey cart, one of the wheels of which had been taken off and placed on one side of the road and a wooden gate standing at the other side of the road and a wooden gate standing at the other side of the cart. Both had been property of a farmer who had a cottage on right opposite, on the left hand side of the road. The cart had been taken out of the yard, and the gate and gateposts (which was only of frail structure) had been pulled out of their position across the laneway leading to the house.

At 6:00 a.m  Shawe-Taylor stopped his motor, leaving the engine running, and directed Barrett to remove the obstacle. Barrett got out of the car, and the disconnected wheel was the first he went to take away. He ws just proceeding to lift it when a volley of shots rang out of his hands.
   Barrett was unable to give any connected account of what happened as the shock and suddeness of the occurrence almost stunned him but it he believed that the first volley came from inside the stone wall on the left hand side. The wall on that sid was higher than that on the opposite side, and there was two scraggy bushes  just inside it opposite the small cottage. There are no bushes on the far side.
   Barret rushed back to his employer who was now covered in blood and asked him if he was wounded. Shawe-Taylor's last words were "Oh, ye-". Shawe-Taylor leaned over on his side and Barrett went around to the front of  to lift him up. As Barrett was passing by the engine he recieved five pellets in the left jaw from a shot that must, apparently, have been fired from the back of the car. He realised then his life was in danger and he stooped under the front of the mudgaurd.
   Another volley then rung out, and all was silent except for the noise of the hurrying footsteps. The corpse of Shawe-Taylor was put in the front seat of the car. Next, Barrett crept out from under the mudgaurd and staggered to the sidewall where he fell on the grass on the side of the road.
   An unknown person came behind Barrett and assisted him to his feet. The unknown person warned him not to look back, and Barrett, seemingly, had to comply with the order. The man asked him if he was much hurt, and he replied that he thought he was. Again he warned him not to look back, but to walk straight on. Barrett did so and made his way to the house of the herd, Broderick, where he was admitted, and told the inmates of his dreadful experience.
  
A messenger from the house was immediately despatched to acquaint the dead landlord's widow of the frightful news. Mrs. Shawe-Taylor was in bed and did not know at first the cause of her being woken so early when the servant called her. The dread news came as an immense shock, but she bore it very bravely, and immediatierly set about giving direction to have her husbabn's body taken home.
   It was alleged that some employees whom she asked to go to take back her dead husband refused, their answer was 'where was the use than being dead'. Mrs. Shawe-Taylor did not wish to discuss but ordered that her ponay and trap be got ready, and she herself drove up to the scene, where she found her husband lying dead in the car and not a soul in sight.
   The shots that had killed Mr.ShaweTaylor must have been fired at a range of scarcely a yard, for part of his face was burned black, and a gun and was found embedded in his head. About eight men took part in the attack apparently because fifteen gun cartridges were found at the place, which a total of two volleys fired. The attackers wore mask's. The deceased evidently recieved the brunt of the charge.
  
Shawe-Taylor's head, face and left shoulder were riddled with pellets, while only one pellet struck the widescreen of the motor. There had been many dents on the left side of the car aswell. A shot from the back of the car must have been fired with the muzzle of a gun placed under the motor. There is only one large hole through the canvas, at the back and the shot, and the shot tore through the top of the cushioned partition between the two compartments of the car, and lodged in Mr. Shawe-Taylor's head.
   The front seat of the car contained a pool of blood, and one of the dead man's teeth had been blown out. The residents of the little cottage at the scene of the shooting say they heard the shots, but the people in Egan's pub state they did not hear anything. Frank Shawe-Taylor's would have been known all over the county of Galway and of course Ireland. He was the brother of the late Captain John Shawe-Taylor influential in getting the Land Act Conference of 1903. Captain Shawe Taylor had been through the South African War, was a young Irish landlord aswell, but held views that were very much in advance to the majority of his class at the time.

This meeting of the 1903 Land Act Conference took place in Kinvara, and later Captain Shawe-Taylor got into close touch with then prime-minister of England Geroge Wyndham. Captain Shawe-Taylor had contested Galway city against Mr.Stephen Gwynn as Independent, leaning to the Devoultion scheme in politics and was only beaten by a narrow majority. His deafeat was pointed  to the fact that he had refused to make a definite declaration Home Rule.
   Subsequently, in 1907, he organised almost unassisted (except by voluntary local workers) the great Exhibition and Industrial Conference at Galway, to which delegates flocked from all parts of the world, and which was one of the most important era for Industrial conferences ever held in Ireland. He died a few years later.
 
The late Mr. Frank Shawe-Taylor was never under the public eye like his distinguished brother, but it is known that he was immensely proud of the captain's work, althought he might not have agreed with his policy. He was, too, a Unionist in politics, while Captain Shawe-Taylor, as has been stated, was in favour of Devoultion scheme for the settlement of the Irish self-government question during this period.
  Mr. Frank Shawe-Taylor had 1,000 acres of land in the vicinity of Athenry. It was assured that he recieved several threating letters following his refusal to surrender portion of this land for distribution.
amongst the surrounding tenants.

According to the Connaught Tribune on the 6 March 1920 Frank Shawe-Taylor was painted in a positive light:

In private life he was an extremly condescending and affable gentleman. He was a freee and agreeable talker and companion, and was held in great respect and regard throughout the county. But as far as the distribution of his lands was concerned, it is stated that he was of an obstinate and unyielding character, and on one occasion it is alleged that he made the statement that if he had to surrender his land, he would give it to ex-soldieres.
  On the other hand, it is said that he intended shortly to give 200 acres of it for distribution among adjoining tenants. But he refused the demand to do so which was recently made by a deputation which waited upon him. He was a man of unflinching spirits and refused to be turned aside by the threats he recieved through the post. His murder, it is stated, was forecasted in some of these letters, but still he was not afraid to travel abroad and even a night witout company.[sic]

He always carried his double-chambered revolver but on the day of his assaination, it was peculair that he didn't take it with him. If he had done so, he would have had no time to do so. Shawe-Taylor had been shot at some years ago, when driving home in a trap with his wife but he luckily escaped death.

The Connaught Tribune wrote that; With all those warnings and threats, it is a curious fact, which goes to show his indomitable courage-when he saw the barricade on the road when he drove to his death that he did not turn back and foil the trap laid for him. Wheather any thought crossed his mind fo what was in store for him is not known; his chauffer never for an instant throught they would be attacked at the spot, even when he got out to remove the obstruction.
   One sister of the Shawe-Taylor's-Mrs.Trench, of Limerick, was the last in the family that was still alive after her brothers assaination. Mr. Frank Shawe-Taylor had was married to a sister of Mr. Harry Usher, Loughrea, the well known racehorse owner and trainer. They had three children-two sons and a daughter. The daughter was killed in a riding accident in 1911. The elder boy is thirteen years, and is at school in England.The widow has recieved many messages of condolence.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Galway Blazers:Fatal Accident in the Hunting Field 1901 by Ronan Killeen

Galway Express  Newspaper 23rd November 1901

On Tuesday the meet of the Galway Blazers was held at Knockbrack, the residence of Capt. H.T. Hall. Having found a fox a run was made across towards Castle Ellen, the residence of Mrs.Lambert. At the back of Castle Ellen House a very sad accident took place, which unfortunetly has resulted fatally. It appears Mr.Ormond, who recently  crossed from England for the hunting season, and was staying with his brother-in- law, Captain Preston at Moor park (Moorepark) was coming at pretty stiff pace, and was about taking a wall at the rear of Castle Ellen House.
   The horse which was a fine well spirited animal came along very well until clost to the wall when it instantly bolted,, with the result that Mr.Ormond was thrown over the horse's head and came with his own head and came with his own head against the wall. The injuries were of most serious nature, and from his first great doubts were entertained of his recovery.
    He was at once taken to Castle Ellen House although in an unconsious condition, and Doctors Quinlan and Mansel were soon in attendance and did everything that medical science could suggest but death took place early wednsday morning. The greatest sympathy is expressed by all in the locality here at the sad berevement of Captain and Mrs Preston of Moorepark. Although not long in the neighbourhood of Athenry they have made themselves very popular by their genial manner. Mr.Ormond was only 22 years of age.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

John J Killeen



Above: John J. Killeen (Date of photo unknown)
This is an ancestor of mine John J. Killeen, who is supposed have been born in Athenry 1841? He emigrated to America and joined the US Navy. In 1873 he became a Chief Boatswain. He died in  Everett, Massachuttes 1907. That's all I know




Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Royal Irish Constabulary of Athenry Part 2: A Debate in the House of Commons by Ronan Killeen

This is a debate about the police in Athenry on the 29th July 1909 in the House of Commons.

You can get these debates on Hansard
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd.htm



HC Deb 29 July 1909 vol 8 cc1443-7W 1443W


§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Chief Secretary what is the number of extra police stationed at present in the police sub-district of Athenry; the number of persons who were receiving police protection in the sub-district during the three last months of 1907 by patrol and by constant police protection, respectively; the number of specially reported cases during the first six months in 1907, and the

1444Wsame period in 1909, from this area; whether he is aware that there are several police huts on the lands held there by the Agricultural Department, Ireland, and that there is also a police canteen there; and will he state how many police there are stationed in such huts, how long they have been there, and when it is intended to remove them?



§ Mr. BIRRELL There are now 26 extra police stationed in the Athenry sub-district. During the last three months of 1907 thirty-four persons were protected by patrols, while two were under constant police protection. There were nine specially reported cases during the first six months of 1907, and five during the first six months of 1909. There are two police



huts containing 17 men and a police canteen on the lands referred to. One of the huts has been there since January and the other since February, 1908. I cannot say when it may be found possible to remove them.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked whether there is a regularly appointed constabulary canteen at Athenry; and, if so, what has been the turnover per month for the past six months at this canteen; and what 1445W has been the profit or loss on each month's trading?



§ Mr. BIRRELL I am informed by the police authorities that there is a regularly appointed constabulary canteen at Athenry. I do not know what the monthly turnover or the profit or loss thereon may be, and I do not think that any useful object would be attained by making inquiries into the matter. The loss, if any, does not fall on public funds.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked whether a deputation from Athenry waited on the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, Ireland, and the Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary, en 22nd January, 1908; who were the gentlemen who made up such deputation; what was the nature of its business; and what action, if any, has been taken by the Vice-President and the Inspector-General?



§ Mr. BIRRELL My right hon. Friend the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture informs me that on 22nd January, 1908, some visitors from Athenry, whose names he does not now remember, called at his office in Merrion-street in order to impress upon him that the burning of the house belonging to the Department at New Ford was not malicious. He advised them to place their views before the judge. On the same day Captain Shawe Taylor and Messrs. Daly, Ruane, Clery, Nolan, Holland, Finerty, and Murphy called on the Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary at Dublin Castle and urged him to reduce the police force in the Athenry district. It has not yet been found possible to comply with that request.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Chief Secretary whether it is the intention of the Government to reduce the police force in Athenry district to the regular number to which the place is entitled, seeing the peaceable condition of the district since the sale to the tenants of the several estates therein; and, if so, when will he take steps to do so?



§ Mr. BIRRELL The condition of the Athenry district cannot be regarded as satisfactory. The time has not yet come for considering the question of reducing the police force in the district.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that, on 1st January, 1908, a public meeting was held at Athenry in connection with the 1446W agrarian struggle then in the district, when a committee was appointed for the purpose of discussing matters in connection therewith for the purpose of arriving at a peaceable and satisfactory settlement and preventing a continuance of hostilities in that district pending the passing of the Land Bill, which it was expected would be introduced into law; whether he is aware that land disputes were discussed by this committee, and will he say what has been the result of its work since then; whether one of the cases discussed related to a man named Thomas Curran, Athenry, who signed an agreement leaving the settlement of his dispute to the arbitration of Sir Anthony (now Lord) M'Donnell, and that Lord M'Donnell refused to undertake the task; whether he is aware that this man has been since under constant police protection notwithstanding the fact that on several occasions he asked the protection to be removed; and what is the reason a force of police is kept guarding a man's house against his will?



§ Mr. BIRRELL I am informed by the Constabulary authorities that an indoor meeting was held in Athenry in January, 1908, in connection with the state of the district, and that a committee was appointed with a view to a peaceable settlement of the matters in dispute. The committee has since met several times, but apparently with no good result. The statements with regard to the case of Thomas Curran are, I understand, correct. He is now protected by patrols. The decision as to the nature of the protection required in any particular case must be left to the police, who endeavour to afford such protection as unobtrusively as possible.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) how many police huts are on the lands now held by the Department at or near Athenry in addition to the Constabulary canteen; what was the cause for placing these huts on those lands; whether there has been any reason for such a display of force in connection with the working of this place; and, seeing that such display is likely to prevent the sons of farmers from availing themselves of the instruction paid for out of Treasury funds, whether he will, in the interests of peace as well as furthering the prospects of scientific agriculture in Galway county, recommend the removal of these huts from the lands worked by his Department at Athenry?

1447W

§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL The inquiries contained in the first portion of the question should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary. The Department do not agree with the view expressed in the concluding portion of this question, and do not propose to take the action suggested.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Case Of Stephen Jordan: Hissing the King and his allies 1915 by Ronan Killeen

Picture: Mr. Quinn, Frank Hynes and possibly Stephen Jordan on the right.
Photo from The-Quinns-of-Athenry.



On the 27th November 1915 in the Irish Times a Unionist paper at the time it was reported...

In the King's Bench Division; Dublin before Mr.Justice Gibson and Mr.Justice Kenny, in the case of Stephen Jordan, Shoemaker, of Darla (Davis) street, Athenry, who on prosecution brought against him on summons by District Inspector Collins under the Defence of the Realm (consolidation) Regulations, 1914-1915, fir hissing photograph's of the King and his allied crowned heads, and cheering for the Kaiser and his allied crowned heads at a cinematograph exhibition in the Athenry Town Hall on the 12th of June last.
   He was sentenced to one month's imprisonment, with hard labour, by the magistrates at Athenry Petty Sessions on the 25th June last, and also in the cases of in which Leo Egan, John Cleary and Michael Regan were convicted at the Petty sessions for aiding and abetting Jordan's hissing the photograph's mentioned, and cheering the Kaiser and his crowned heads, and were ordered to give bail for good behaviour in twelve months, or in default to be imprisoned for one month.

Mr. T.F. Ward (instructed by Messrs. John C.Conroy and Son) applied to have the conditional orders granted by Mr.Justice Ross quashing the convictions made absolute on the ground that if the petty sessions court was illegally constituted, in much as one of the magistrates adjudicating of the High Sheriff County Galway, Mr.Frank Shawe-Taylor, of Moor Park, Athenry.*
    The other magistrates were Messrs Kildare, R.M. Samuel Taylor, and W.G. Moriarity. The statute 7 William IV. c.13 prohibited a High Sheriff from exercising the office of the justice of peace for the county of which he was High Sheriff during his term.
   It appeared that the objection was not taken at the Petty Sessions proceedings, as the fact referred to was not known to the defendants’ representatives until afterwards. The conditional orders had been already absolute in the King's Bench office. The court granted the application, making the conditional orders absolute, and quashing the convictions.

I will be talking about Frank Shawe-Taylor when I get to the Irish War of Independence in a couple of months.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Athenry Land League Part 2: Peter Broderick in Galway Jail by Ronan Killeen

Above: Peter Broderick's Arrest Warrant 1881



An article that was written in the Galway City Tribune by John Flately on 3rd January 1997.




"The Protestant church is tolling a very sweet peal, the Catholic churches also, all seeming to mock us in out lonely cages" - Peter Broderick





In 1881 November 9th, the gates of the Galway Jail were thrown open and Peter P. Broderick of Athenry was hurried inside as prisoner, a political suspect, suspected as principal of inciting to boycotting under the Act previously passed that year 'FOR BETTER PROTECTION OF PERSON AND PROPERTY IN IRELAND'.

Broderick was a shopkeeper and farmer. He was hurried in the Governor’s Office where the Warden showed the warrant to the Governor back to the Constable and from the Constable to the Chief Warden. In the office the charge was read, entered in a 'huge book’ and a receipt of Broderick's delivery signed and given to the constable.



In the office with two chief wardens, distinguished by the gold braid on their caps and the glittering crown on their coat collars-as well as a clerk, registered Peter Broderick's name, age, complexion, colour of hair, eyes, appearance and all the 'hue and cry' evidences. His height was measured at five feet eight inches. He handed over his possessions, two one pound notes and a penknife.

Chief Warden Number One searched for other possessions but found nothing else. Then followed the last act in the day’s drama, Peter being marched from the office to his cell, a trip that took him through the whole house. His first impressions were "The repeated banging of doors, clinking of keys and martial tread of office bearers". The gas was burning in his cell the bed prepared and he was locked in.

He looked around and measured the cell, sixteen feet long by five-and-a-half feet wide, the bed was placed on a kind of camp stool or folding bedstead. It comprised a straw mattress, two sheets marked in large letters 'Galway Gaol', two blankets and a quilt-all except the fibre mattress were prison property.



Peter Broderick got a warm reception form the other prisoners. Their comments were consoling: “You here too. Good God, isn’t this too bad”, “Bad luck to them that sent you here”. O’Beirne of Ballinamore (possibly another prisoner) went and found ‘something to cheer Peter up’ and Peter was in better fettle.A few minutes before eight o’clock the warden commanded “All in”, and in they filed back to the cells.

Prisoners on two occasions during Peter sojourn there brought up with the authorities the need to sheet the sides of a shed in the yard. After a few days of the arrival at Galway Jail Broderick received from home a consignment of personal items indicating social expectations of the time.

• Two pairs of cuffs,

• Six Collars

• Four Collar studs

• One Razor

• Strap

• Tooth Brush

• Soap

• One handkerchief

• Holy Water

• Beads

• One pillow

• Two pillow cases

• Blankets

• Sheets

• Counterpane quilt and a table cover



He made an inventory of this a week later. Isolation from the world outside, from the everyday bustle of life in Galway was almost total. An old factory whistle and the Angelus Bell ringing at 6 a.m. awakened the prisoners. Church bells pealing in early and mid-morning gave Peter the disting impression there was rivalry between the churches in the town.

"The Protestant church is tolling a very sweet peal, the Catholic churches also, all seeming to mock us in out lonely cages" . On Sunday 22nd January 1882, Peter heard the Galway Band in the distance today, but no attempt was made to approach our quarters, as it would probably be an infringement on the loyalty of the serfs.



One the 6th of December 1882 the Warden visited Peter at breakfast wanting to know what he would have for breakfast. the following day. The choice was limited to stir about and coffee, for one week. At supper the Warden asked about his preference for the coming week, tea or cocoa. In both cases he opted for the first alternative.

The following morning Peter returned from exercise (in the dark) to find 'a bright culinary utensil of gigantic proportions was laid on the table. The weapon for onslaught on the stirabout-a big iron spoon-a pan filled almost to the top with stirabout and a saucepan of milk was the inviting repast for a cold morning.

'As I attacked my skilly. I really began to feel a foretaste of prison life. The stirabout was pretty fair but abounded with salt'.

He didn't like it and turned to the cocoa with a bit of bread and butter (got in on the previous day). He observed in the refuse collected that "almost as such made its way back to the cookhouse as came from it."

For dinner that day there were 'two big pieces of coarse bread and wretchedly strong and a pint of coffee. was in his opinion 'equally as good in every was as that supplied from outside'. He was hopeful

: "All in all the fare (Prison fare) was not so bad as an outside world believes it to be. I expect (D.V.)* to be able to rough it.



By mid-December Peter was arranging for breakfast to be served from outside. Others did the same. The outside supplier was Mrs.Mason. Visitors came virtually daily and the prisoner had the choice of seeing them or not. They were welcome in nearly all instances, through Peter refused to see a certain gentleman for quite a while.

On February 7th 1882, he was visited by two men and 'felt very indifferent towards their attention'. On February 13th a woman from kilconnell visited giving Peter 'the usual santimonious consolation'. On Monday, February 20 he read in the Galway Observer that he was "Careworn and thin from confinement". The following Sunday, February 27th at Mass in Galway Jail, Fr.Creaven the celebrant 'commented strongly on the necessity of fasting'. (Sic)



Peter Broderick wasn't the only man put in jail at the time.



Martin Connelly, Athenry, Farmer was in Galway Jai

R.T. Kelly, Athenry, Farmer was in Kilminham Jail



Athenry Land League Part 3: Also coming soon.

Iggy's Bar by Ronan Killeen

In a previous article I already talked about the Old Barracks Resteraunt which used to be the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks of Athe...