The Whiteboys in Muskerry
After the battle of Carriganima 14/01/1822 the crown authorities decided that the natives needed to be put in their place and that some or all of the prisoners captured after the battle. 9 men had been found guilty for their participation in the battle. Some of them had their sentences reduced. One of the men Con Buckley was sentenced to 80 lashes of the ‘cat and nine tails’ but because his lawyers argued that that number of lashes would endanger his life it was divided into two sessions one on the 1st March consisting of 45 lashes at the flogging post in North Main Street and the other 3 on the 1st of November at the same venue.
Another man named Jeremiah Hurly was recommended to mercy, being a simpleton. While some say that nine Clondrohid Whiteboys were executed, it would appear as if only four eventually faced the gallows. In all thirty-two men were sentenced to death by Baron McClelland by February 22, but some of the sentences were altered to transportation. All executions were ordered to be carried out in public and at the place where the crimes had been committed. Thus they were to serve as examples of all evildoers.
On Wednesday February 227, 1822, at noon, a gruesome party left the Cork County Gaol. Nine men sentenced to be hanged four at Carriganima and five at Deshure were placed in a long, black, closed car, which had been specially built for the purpose. Four horses pulled it. Inside the car was Daniel Croneen [These men were all native Irish Speakers and when asked his name he would have said Croinín. To the scribe writing in English this would have sounded as Croneen…]. Denis Murphy, Timothy Hallahan, Richard Drummy and Edward Breen, five men who had taken part in the Deshure affray, except for the last named who was captured at Keimaneigh. They were all to be executed at Deshure crossroads. Also in the car were the four men to be hanged in Carriganima – Daniel Murphy, Patrick Lehane, Thomas Goggin and Cronelius Lucy. Inside the car with them travelled Fr. Horgan, a man who had been parish priest in Clondrohid for fifteen years up till then; he was especially grieved at the situation as he himself was born in Carriganimma and he knew the doomed men personally. With him was Fr. Ryan of Macroom, while two other clergymen travelled in a chaise. A Company of the Dragoons accompanied them. A few miles outside Macroom the Muskerry Cavalry met them. The roads were lined with people all the way from Cork, who prayed and wept as the grisly cortege passed. On reaching Macroom the prisoners were kept there for the night. They were lodged in the Bridewell where they remained overnight while a gallows was being erected at Carriganima. They were attended by Fr. Horgan and spent their whole time in prayer. When left to themselves for any length of time they were always found upon their knees, making the most eloquent appeals to Heaven for mercy and grace. They received some refreshments provided for them with thankfulness and ate with their usual appetites. The father of one of the men, Cornelius Lucey, wished to see his son to give him some instructions concerning his family, and was allowed into the cell early in the morning, just a few hours before the executions were to take place. “Father, set your heart upon God” said the son. “Depend upon it, I do” said the father. At the battle, Lucey had taken refuge in a house. He hid himself in a bed concealed by tables, chairs and a number of spinning wheels. However, one of the Carbineers, having seen a man enter the house, “was induced to search it, and thrust his sword into the bed where he was. Lucey got out and made a prod of a pitchfork at him, which he carried, and struck him on the back of the head, and took him.” The house in which he was taken was immediately on the spot where the battle took place, and through the yard of which a great number of his comrades had retreated.
Daniel Murphy spent the night in the Bridewell awaiting the same fate as his friends. Like Lucey, he too had taken shelter in a house when the Rifle Brigade pursued him in the hills. Richard Harding, who was accompanying the latter, caught up to him. “Murphy had a scythe and made a stroke at him, and drove into the house. He then made him prisoner.” Patrick Lehane had been captured fleeing through the hills. John Borlase Warren had accompanied Hedges Eyre on the road running north from Bridgemount. He afterwards went up the hills on the left of the road to join Colonel Mitchell. “The insurgents moved from hill to hill, Shots rang out from the road below, Suddenly some of the rebel party came running towards the Rifle Brigade. Two of the men, who were then caught between two lines of fire, turned and ran through some swampy ground. Warren fired a shot at Lehane, “pursued and on catching up to him, found him so frightened as to induce him to take him as a prisoner” Lehane had no weapon at all.
On the morning of February 28, the four condemned men were taken from the Bridewell on their final journey. As the grisly cortege made its way towards Carriganima, people wept at their doorsteps, as it passed. It moved through Clondrohid, then Bridgemount. Apart from Cornelius Lucey, Daniel Murphy and Patrick Lehane, Thomas Goggin was the fourth of the quartet to be executed. As they travelled north his house could be seen “on the high road” (where Dan Joe Kelleher, LTV, now lives) but he was so engaged in prayer that he never once looked towards it. His head was bent down and he was consoled spiritually by a priest.
On the occasion of his trial before Baron McClelland at the Courthouse in Cork, Thomas Goggin had pleaded that he had never been out before and that he had been forced there on the day of his arrest. Richard Ashe spoke favourably on his behalf. He was sure “from the previous good character of some of them (the prisoners) that they must have been present from terror or compulsion.” He named Goggin, who lived only a mile and a half from where he was captured as being one. The Revd. Robert Kirchhoffer also spoke as a defence witness for Goggin. He had lived in the neighbourhood of Clondrohid of which he had been Rector for thirteen years. He knew Goggin “and from his good character would sooner have suspected any man in the parish of being concerned in such offences.” He added, “he was a quiet, peaceable and well conducted man, and a comfortable farmer.” He also voiced his opinion that he had not joined the others on his own accord. He was “not aware of any person so decent as Goggin having been engaged in these outrages and many, a great many, were brought into them by compulsion.” Townsend, a member of the Bridgemount family, stated that he had known “Goggin’s family these thirty years.” They were, he added, “tenants to his father and brother for many years, they held grounds from them at a very high rate and paid with the utmost punctuality to the very farthing they had contracted for. The man at the bar was a most correct and proper man – industrious and honest.” However, these words on his behalf, were to prove fruitless, as along with nine others he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
At Carriganima the gallows had been set up on the side of a steep hill. On arriving at that fateful spot, the condemned men walked towards the platform with firm and regular steps. Fr Kelly addressed the large crowd, which had gathered with the following words. “Were I to be placed in the awful predicament of the people now prepared to receive their eternal doom, it would be my testamentary request to you to renounce all connection with disaffected men, I here, on my bended knees, as a clergyman, solemnly exhort you, in the sincerity of my good wishes for you, to take my advice. I have heretofore travelled among you in the company of our beloved and venerable Bishop. I have seen the adverse factions of this country instantly reconciled by his evangelical arguments and persuasive eloquence. I know his feelings of sorrow for your late defection from you Christian duties. Afford him, by your future conduct, the consolation of knowing that you are sorry for the past and that hereafter you will not be the dupes of the wicked and designing. These are the cause of the death of the unfortunate victims now before you. Are they here? NO! Have any of them been taken? No! They committed you and took good care of themselves. As soon as the battle commenced they provided for their own safety by running away. You could not: you home and your families were in the neighbourhood. From this you will infer the principles and motives of your seducers. I will at once state to you their characters and views. They are persons of desperate fortunes, already proscribed for the most atrocious crimes who, by immersing you in guilt, would wish to protract their own fate by confusion and excesses committed in the country. Listen no longer to them.
“I am authorised by the victims before you to make this solemn request to their friends and relatives. I am further sanctioned by the venerable authority by which the venerable authority by which I was appointed to the present painful duty, to appeal to your religious feelings in order to detach you from a diabolical confederacy appointed me to the present painful duty, to appeal to your religious feelings in order to detach you from a diabolical confederacy. Never can you be bettered in your condition until you resume your peaceful occupations. No government could parley or enter into a compromise with insurgents. The longer you continue refractory, the farther you defer your own good. Your landlords, too, will consider, for you advantage is theirs; but they cannot do anything for you until you convince them that you are perfectly amenable to the law. Another consideration is that there are many others, besides the victims present, who are under sentence of death. Upon the immediate restoration of tranquillity their fate depends, and here let me bring to your notice the cruel conduct of your seducers, who, at the very moment the trials of the prisoners in Cork were pending, were committing the most abominable excesses, as if to exasperate the already roused justice of the country.”
As the clergyman spoke he was said to have made a deep impression on his listeners. Meanwhile, Fr. Horgan ministered to the four men. A report says: “the unfortunate men, having declared they were ready and resigned to meet their fate, were launched into eternity, amidst a shout of horror from the surrounding people, who were little accustomed to such terrific scenes. It is painful to us to be obliged to add that the sufferings of some of them were not terminated as soon as, for the sake of humanity, it were to be wished, owing to the bad preparation of the executioner, after life was extinct, and the bodies had been suspended the usual time, they were cut down, placed in coffins and taken to the Macroom Bridewell, and from thence brought back to the county jail.”
The next day the bodies were taken back to Cork. They were buried in a quicklime grave in “Poll an Cropaidh” as referred to in De Búrcas book in Máire Bhuí Ní Laoghaire. The authorities did not want any trace of them to remain in the area. The heads of the McCarthy’s executed in 1801 in front of the castle gate still remained on iron spikes (as 3 black balls) on the wall of the Bridewell but their bodies were laid in the best kept graves in Dún Dha Radharc cemetery. So mush so that over 200 years later we can still read the inscription. Here lies the body of…
This Whiteboy uprising was in many ways a continuation of the 1798 rebellion in Wexford. The people fought against the same grievances. They used the same tactics. They took to the hills at the sound of the horn. The main reason the 1798 rebellion did not spread westward was one of language. It remained on the English speaking East Coast. Before the battle of Vinegar Hill both sides said the rosary. The pikemen of Wexford said it in English and the Ground Forces i.e. The North Cork Military area said the rosary in Irish. After the Irish were defeated their bodies were buried in shallow graves. When the Wexford men had been on top of the hills they had pocketsfull of corn which they chewed to keep the hunger off them (much the same as the Mealbóige Mine referred to by an t’Athair Peadar in Scéal Seádna)
The following spring the local people noticed corn sprouting near the battlefield and when they dug down 6 to 9 inches they found the bodies. Most were identified by their clothes (bainíns) and buried in the family plots. These graves became a focal point to keep the memory of freedom alive. So now nearly a quarter of a century later the Crown Forces decided to wipe out any traces of the rebels and this policy continued up to 1916.
Maybe some reader would take it upon himself or herself to pinpoint the exact spot of this grave in Cork? Is you know any information in regards to the grave please email to firstname.lastname@example.org