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When death stalked the land in Den of Infamy

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Author Pat Finnegan: his family links sparked his fascination with local history. His grandfather Patrick Finnegan had been wrongly convicted of a land-related murder in 1881 and was sentenced to death. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy looks at a new book which details how Loughrea became an epicentre of violence in Land War

Anybody who needs reminding why it is that Irish people are obsessed by owning land and property would be well advised to read Pat Finnegan’s new book, Loughrea; That Den of Infamy, the Land War in Co Galway 1878-82.

It deals with events in Loughrea and surrounding areas during the Land War of 1879 to 1882 when Ireland’s tenant farmers were fighting to own the land they worked, rather than having to pay rent to frequently unsympathetic landlords.

Pat documents the unrest in this area and the response of the British authorities to the Land League, which had been set up to secure Fair Rent, Fixity of Tenure and Free Sale for Ireland’s tenant farmers. His account takes in a 13-month period from May 1881 to June 1882 during which eight people were killed in a triangle covering Ardrahan, Loughrea and Athenry.

Nationally, the authorities responded to the Land War with two Coercion Acts. Locally, there was a heavy police presence around Loughrea and Athenry, which caused massive resentment, as ratepayers had to pay for this. Arrests were frequent. A total of 111 people were arrested around Athenry and Loughrea between 1881-82. That was out of 166 arrests for the period throughout all of County Galway.

Local people seeking land reform united for protests, which included preventing landlords from pursuing their favoured pastime of fox hunting. Land activists also boycotted fellow tenants who took land belonging to families who had been evicted. Intimidating landlords and their agents was also part of the strategy. And of course, there were the eight land-related murders.

The title of Pat’s book is not his own creation, as the Loughrea born historian is quick to explain. Rather the reference to Loughrea as a ‘den of infamy’ is from a letter written by a local Resident Magistrate, Clifford Lloyd to the British authorities in Dublin in 1882, concerning local violence.

Pat’s fascination with this period in Irish history dates back to his childhood, thanks to the role played by his family during the Land War in Galway. His grandfather Patrick Finnegan had been wrongly convicted of a land-related murder in 1881 and was sentenced to death before this was commuted to life imprisonment. After almost 20 years in prison Patrick was released and in 1902 married Alice Sweeney from Loughrea, whose own father and uncles had been to the fore in the Land War. They had also been imprisoned.

So, Pat grew up knowing about his family’s role in Irish history, and with a huge treasure trove of archival material in the house, most of it relating to his grandparents and great-grandparents. For his research on the period, he travelled to libraries and museums in Ireland and Britain and uncovered a great deal more.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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1922

Scabs warning

An exciting incident in connection with the postal strike occurred at Mary-st., Galway, at four o’clock last Saturday afternoon.

An official of the Galway Electric Lighting Company, Ltd., accompanied by another official, had gone to the central post office at Eglinton-street to collect the letters of the company. Shortly after he had left, it was alleged that he had taken other letters for delivery in Mary-street on his way back to the works.

The strike picket immediately gave chase, and an exciting scene, which was witnessed by a number of people in the street, followed.

The officials of the company were chased into the licensed premises of Mr. J. S. Young, but it could not be found that they had delivered any letters.

“We did not see them delivering any letters,” said one of the strikers. “Anyhow, an undertaking has been signed now not to attempt to deliver any to other people.”

A few national soldiers in uniform were standing at the Eglinton-street end of Mary-street during the incident. Four lady members of the staff at the Galway central office returned to work on Saturday and were understood to be engaged upon sorting of letters recently delivered by road.

It is stated that letters are also being posted at the central boxes. Meanwhile the picket remains almost continuously “on duty” outside the office, in front of which two boards have been place, one stating, “Don’t take letters from scabs”; and another “Restricted Services – Four do the work of forty-two”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

 

 

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Country Living

Good to be young again even for only two hours

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Blue skies . . . 80,000 fans . . . and one Garth Brooks 'belting it out' on stage.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

OKAY, so I must admit to being one of the approximately 400,000 ‘Paddies’ who made the trek or pilgrimage to Croke Park a couple of weeks back to see one Garth Brookes, even if there was an element of chance to the escapade.   Tickets rather unexpectedly happened to come my way and a family gang of us set off to the North Circular Road on a Saturday afternoon hit-and-run mission with no overnight stay on the agenda due to a combination of late enquiries and high prices.

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve listened to the man from Oklahoma – the last occasion being in the then Point Theatre in Dublin – which I thought only felt like yesterday, that is of course until I looked it up, to discover that it was 1994.

Most things these days seem like the line from the Rod McKuen song, Love’s Been Good To Me of: ‘It seems like only yesterday, as down the road I go’, but I was quite taken aback that 28 Summers had passed since that trip to The Point.

Garth Brooks is a hard phenomenon to figure out and while I didn’t venture to Croke Park bubbling with youthful enthusiasm (come to think about, quite an impossibility), all the reports coming back from the Jones’ Road venue on the concerts had been positive.

This grandfather of 60-years-of-age, who is now married to second wife Trisha Yearwood, really seems to have a kind of spell on the Irish. He does all the right things like wrapping the tricolour around him as he traipses around the stage, but yet there’s something more to him than that.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Be good to your heart and keep stress at bay

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Suzanne Ennis, clinical manager with the mental health charity Turn2Me.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

So, how are your stress levels these days?  I’ve been told I’ve turned into a maniac by my resident psychotherapists. I think it’s worst on the days I have to face into that Galway City traffic morning and evening.

And when I’m told that two Leap cards with money on both have simply disappeared into thin air. And that was just this morning before we left the house.

I’m blaming my hormones now I’ve hit 50. A HRT patch and a progesterone tablet at night time is not cutting it on those days when 24 hours is just not long enough to fit everything in.

Thursday is World Heart Day, which is a good time to pause and think about reducing stress levels due to the strong link between stress and heart conditions.

Suzanne Ennis, clinical manager at the mental health charity, Turn2Me, has highlighted how chronic stress can lead to a stroke or heart attack because it disrupts nearly every system in your body.

Turn2Me was founded in 2009 after Oisin and Diarmuid Scollard lost their brother to suicide in 2003. The charity, which is partly funded by the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention, has several free weekly support groups and one-to-one counselling sessions available to assist with managing stress for adults and young people aged 12 and up.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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