Athenry Crime 1859-1912 by Ronan Killeen
|T. Curran's Butcher's which was shot into in the year 1905 which was of a nature of agriarian outrage|
I have decided to continue anyways with the blog as google does penalise you for copying and pasting your own work to another website... in this month's article I am going to write a short time line on Athenry Crime which I always wanted to do but some of the time will be skipped as there has been publications been done on some of the crimes that will be mentioned here as they are very long winded and I will be skipping the 1916-1923 era.
*What I am using are articles from the Irish Times website archive:
17 December 1859
At the Petty Sessions court, a 20 year old man, William Tierney was charged with stealing a sheep from
property of Timothy Kinneen, Athenry. It was on the 9th August that Kinneen realised the sheep was
missing at Cullain Bawn (today known as Cullairbaun) and he immediately reported it to one of his
It was on a Monday that the heard saw a butcher drive a sheep through the town. He followed the
Butcher to his house and notice that it was Mr. Kinneen's sheep. He told Kinneen about this. Kinneen
met the butcher and told him he would not pay him or give him the sheep as the sheep was stolen until he handed the sheep over to the police - Tierney was arrested by the constabulary and confined to the police barrack.
On Tuesday 13 Decembr1859 the whole affair was investigated at Athenry Petty Sessions by James
Clarke, Esq, who sent the affair for trial at the next court of quarter sessions to be held at Loughrea.
01 August 1862
Two men - John Donohue and Thomas Keely (doubt any relation to the the Thomas Keely who was hanged in 1902 for the murder of Mary Clasby) were indited for breaking into the storehouses of Charles
Blackhall on 8 July Athenry stealing six calfskins and one cowhide.
'Mr. Blackhall identified the calfskin which had been sold on the 11 July 1862 to a man named Small, near Ballinasloe, who lived near the the prisoners but Donohue cross-examined the witness to much of his own dis-advantage. It was very memorable that each of the prisoners was blind of the left eye'.
The Jury without leaving the box, found the prisoner Donohue guilty and Keely innocent sentenced
1869 The Peter Barrett case
To read this case read the chapter by Ann Healy 'Did the Evicted Tenant's son really shoot the Landlord' in the book Carnaun National School 1891-1991 by Finbarr O'Regan which you can find in the following libraries of Co. Galway http://ipac.galwaycoco.ie/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=1346L6HD42779.29844&profile=gweb&uri=link=3100010~!639836~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=basic_search&menu=search&ri=1&source=~!horizon&term=Carnaun+school%2C+Athenry+%3A+1891+-+1991+%2F+edited+by+Finbarr+O%27Regan.&index=ALTITLE.
28 December 1874
Thomas Cahill was arrested near Athenry on the charge of murdering his sweetheart Bridget Sandergran in America, December 1873. The couple were natives of Co. Galway.
1881 - The Craughwell Prisoners
I remember when I was doing my thesis I came across what was called the Athenry murder which
later became the Craughwell murder. Read Pat Finnegan's book about it.
16 December 1881
13 people were arrested for rioting and unlawful assembly at Athenry who were the following people Andrew Keary, Patrick Coyne, Patrick Cawley, Martin Connolly, Mary Shiel, Owen
Doherty, Patrick Howley, Michael Shiel, Mary Nolan, Thomas Mannion, Joseph Regan,
Patrick Doherty and James Gormen.
'The MacDermott of the Q. C. (Queen's Council) and Mr. F. Le Poer Trench Q. C.'s instructed by Mr. R. D. O'Farrell crown solicitor for the County Galway appeared to prosecute. Mr. John R. Stitich instructed by Mr. Fauler and Mr. McGough late land league solicitor appeared on behalf of the prisoners. The jury found the following prisoners not guilty, Andrew Keary, Mary Nolan and Patrick Coyne' were let go free.
The prisoners had been recommended on the ground of peculiarity of the case. The Baron Fitzgerald gave and order that the prisoners would be discharged apart from one prisoner who was Patrick Keary when The MacDermott stated that Keary had been arrested and in custody of the 'PROTECTION OF LIFE AND PROPERTY ACT'as a suspect. The sentences of the other prisoners were discharged. You can read about the PROTECTION OF LIFE AND PROPERTY ACT here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection_of_Person_and_Property_Act_1881.
24 March 1904
Michael and John Coen were charged with stealing cattle at Kilconnell and Athenry fairs. John pleaded not guilty, and the crown (British Judicary System at the time) entered a 'noelle prosequi' (see here http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Nolle+prosequi).
Michael Coen pleased guilty to the charge, and the judge sent the prisoner to jail for six months and for Michael's imprisonment to start on the the 14 January 1904.
3 March 1905
By this time in the locality in Ireland agitation had heightenened in Athenry according to the Irish Times 'Agrarian troubles seem to have grown very acnte recently in the Athenry district. For months passed there had been a formidable succession of wanton outrages against property in this portion of Co. Galway' .
The paper mentions that ten days ago previous to the publication of the Irish Times newspaper on the 3 March 1905 that a herd named Dobbyn, four shots were discharged. It was unclear as to the reasons why Dobbyn's house was fired into 'His offence against the powers that be - in other words the United Irish League - is not very clear, but it appears to have some connection with the position of herd on Newport farm, recently purchased by the Congested Districts Board. The farm consists of some six or seven hundred acres, and we understand that by an arrangement with the Board of Agriculture, it is to be used for educational purposes connected with the farming industry.'
The place that the Irish Times newspaper are on about for 'educational purposes' was more than likely the location of the Agricultural College to due to the fact it was heavily policed with the Royal Irish Constabulary around the area.
A place near Moyvilla, an outrage also took place in the location of where the United Irish League had required to be divided amongst the people.
On Sunday 26 of February, Thomas Curran, a butcher from Athenry, who was 'in occupation on the eleven mouth's system' premises, was shot into (see picture). A claim for compensation under the MALICOUS INJURIES ACT was made.
Also on that publication of the Irish Times reference was made on an attack of a clergyman 'Outrages already given a constitute a sufficiently black record for the last month, especially when it is considered that the district which we are dealing with is a small one. Only recent cases have been referred to, but by going back a few months some other wanton violations of the law.
28 March 1905
Two agrarian outrages near Athenry in the parish of Kiltullagh. Were Mr. Murphy, a victuller of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo and Mr. Loughlin of Zetland Arms Hotel, Cashel, Connemara both had grazing farms close to Athenry.
Murphy has his land taken of him twelve months previous by the Congested District Boards, back in November 1904 and was then given back to him by February 1905. A number of tenants had planned to divide the land, under the disapproval of the United Irish League (I will at some point on the blog do a short article on Athenry politics but for now I will concentrate on the crimes up to 1912).
Loughlin who had a grazing farm on the property of the Lambert family, was called by the United Irish League to surrender his farm. Loughlin refused which resulted in the consequence of 'Moonlighters' to knocked down the wall of his farm, drive his cattle through the country side, and cut the tail off one animal. It was the same consequence for Murphy but tails were cut of more than one of Murphy's animals.
The farms were located in three Royal Irish Constabulary barracks', they were Bookeen, Athenry and Larah.
An Royal Irish Constable - Constable O'Halloran was shot and wounded. I plan to write this story as a separate article on the blog due to the length of the case.
12 June 1907 in the House of Commons (reported 13 June 1907 in Irish Times)
Mr. Charles Craig http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Curtis_Craig of the House of Commons asked the then Chief Secretary of Ireland Mr. Augustine Birrell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Birrell was he aware that Mr. Palmer's farm had been raided with his cattle and sheep cleared? To which Mr. Birrell replied 'On the 28 of May, there was a crowd of 100 persons drove off cattle, from Mr. Palmer's farm. There was two police present. No arrests were made, but proceedings had been taken against five men, and steps would be taken by the police to afford at necessity.
From 1907-1912 it doesn’t say much about agitation in Athenry but moves into the murder of Constable Goldrick known as The Craughwell Murder. For further reading read The Craughwell Prisoners by Pat Finnegan, and Land, Revolution and Nationalist Politics in the West 1891-1921 by Dr. Fergus Campbell. Both books can be found in Athenry library.