'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.

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Forum Home > History Of The Irish "The Great Hunger" > During the Great Famine, 1845-1850, the Warhouse at Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary, was the scene of the principal action of the 1848 Rebellion by the Young Irelanders.

SWIFTY
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.The Young Ireland movement which attracted journalists, barristers, historians and poets was initiated by the Protestant intellectual, Thomas Davis and comprised some of the most brilliant names in modern Irish history. Together with Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon, Davis founded The Nation newspaper in 1842 to promote national self-determination, cultural identity and a pluralist Ireland.

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June 1, 2010 at 6:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 The Young Irelanders were influenced by the interdenominational ideals of Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen of the 1790s. They were a ginger group within the Repeal of the Union movement established by Daniel O’Connell to seek an Irish parliament. However, they differed from O’Connell in demanding an Irish parliament regardless of which British political party was in power and they did not rule out the use of physical force in all circumstances. The leader of the Young Irelanders in 1848 was William Smith O’Brien, Member of Parliament for Co. Limerick. O’Brien was an Irish Protestant aristocrat, son of Sir Edward O’Brien of Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare and descended from the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, who defeated the Danes [Vikings] at the battle of Clontarf in 1014.

 

 


 

 

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June 1, 2010 at 6:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

.The Young Irelanders became increasingly discontented and radicalised by the horrors of the Great Famine, 1845-1850. The government was committed to the principle of free trade and its response had not been adequate to prevent deaths on a massive scale. As the famine progressed, the Young Irelanders denounced the government for not doing enough. O’Brien was the most trenchant critic of the government in the House of Commons. Of a total Irish population of eight million, a million people died during the Famine and another million fled into exile, mainly to North America.

 

1848 was a year of revolutions throughout continental Europe. In February 1848, the King of France was overthrown and a Republic proclaimed in Paris. The French Revolution sent political shock waves across Europe. Revolutions broke out in Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Prague, Budapest and Cracow and, at least temporarily, absolutist governments were replaced by liberal administrations, near universal suffrage was introduced and elections were held to constituent assemblies to draw up new national constitutions. It was described as the “springtime of the peoples”.

 

The Young Irelanders were deeply influenced by these events and the success of liberal, romantic nationalism on the European mainland inspired the movement to contemplate revolution in Ireland. O’Brien and Thomas Francis Meagher led a delegation to Paris to congratulate the new French Republic. Meagher returned to Ireland with the tricolour flag (now the national flag) - a symbol of reconciliation between the Orange and Green.

 

The fact that the continental revolutions were relatively bloodless led O’Brien to believe that he could attain a similar result in Ireland by manifesting the moral will and the moral force of a united people. He hoped to unite landlord and tenant in Ireland in protest against British rule. The Young Irelanders prepared for a Rising in autumn 1848. The government, however, forced their hand on 22 July 1848 by announcing the suspension of Habeas Corpus which meant that the Young Irelanders could be imprisoned on proclamation without trial. O’Brien decided that rather than let the government arrest the leaders of Young Ireland a stand had to be made.

 

Rebellion

 

From 23-29th July 1848, O’Brien, Meagher and Dillon raised the standard of revolt as they travelled from Co. Wexford, through Co. Kilkenny and into Co. Tipperary. The last great gathering of Young Ireland leaders took place in the village of The Commons on 28 July. On 29 July, O’Brien was in The Commons where barricades had been erected to prevent his arrest. His local supporters - miners, tradesmen and small tenant farmers - awaited the arrival of the military and police. As the police from Callan approached the cross roads before The Commons from Ballingarry they saw barricades in front of them and, thinking discretion the better part of valour, they veered right up the road towards Co. Kilkenny. The rebels followed them across the fields. Sub-Inspector Trant and his forty-six policemen took refuge in a large two-storey farmhouse taking hostage the five young children who were in the house. They barricaded themselves in, pointing their guns from the windows. The house was surrounded by the rebels and a stand-off ensued. Mrs Margaret McCormack, the owner of the house and mother of the children, demanded to be let into her house but the police refused and would not release the children. Mrs McCormack found O’Brien reconnoitring the house from the out-buildings, and asked him what was to become of her children and her house.

 

O’Brien and Mrs McCormack went up to the parlour window of the house to speak to the police. Through the window O’Brien stated : “We are all Irishmen - give up your guns and you are free to go”. O’Brien shook hands with some of the police through the window. The initial report to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland stated that a constable fired the first shot at O’Brien who was attempting to negotiate. General firing then ensued between the police and the rebels. O’Brien had to be dragged out of the line of fire by James Stephens and Terence Bellew MacManus, both of whom were wounded.


Contemporary view of the battle at the Warhouse


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June 1, 2010 at 6:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

The rebels were incensed that they had been fired upon without provocation and the shooting went on for a number of hours. During the initial exchange of fire the rebels at the front of the house - men, woman and children - crouched beneath the wall. So great was the pressure of the crowd that one man, Thomas Walsh, was forced to cross from one side of the front gate to the other. As he crossed between the gate piers he was shot dead by the police. During lulls in the shooting the rebels retreated out of the range of fire. Another man, Patrick McBride, who had been standing at the gable-end of the house when the firing began - and was quite safe where he was - found that his companions had retreated. Jumping up on the wall to run to join them, he was fatally wounded by the police.

It was now evident that the position of the police was almost impregnable and a Catholic clergyman of the parish, Rev. Philip Fitzgerald, endeavoured to mediate in the interests of peace. When a party of the Cashel police under Sub Inspector Cox were seen arriving over Boulea hill an attempt was made to stop them by the rebels whose ammunition was low but the police continued to advance, firing up the road and it became clear that the police in the house were about to be reinforced and rescued. The rebels then faded away effectively terminating both the era of Young Ireland and Repeal but the consequences of their actions would follow them for many years. The McCormack family emigrated to the USA about 1853. Since that time the McCormack house (which was owned by a number of other families after 1848) has always been known locally as the Warhouse. In 2004 the State decided on ‘Famine Warhouse 1848’ as the official name of the house.

Trial, Tranportation, Exile

 

After the failure of the Rising, O’Brien, Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence Bellew MacManus and Patrick O’Donohue were captured and tried for high treason. Juries found them guilty but recommended mercy. Nevertheless they were sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering. They refused to appeal. The sentences were, however, commuted by a special act of parliament to penal imprisonment for life in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in Australia. There, they were joined by Young Ireland colleagues - John Martin, Kevin Izod O’Doherty and John Mitchel. Mitchel had been convicted of treason-felony and sentenced to fourteen years transportation in May 1848. Twenty-one locals from Ballingarry and the surrounding parishes were also arrested and jailed in Ireland.



 

Other Young Irelanders escaped to France and the USA. John Blake Dillon returned from America and died as Member of Parliament for County Tipperary in 1866. James Stephens, John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny co-founded the Irish Republican Brotherhood (I.R.B) or Fenian movement in 1858. The IRB later organised the unsuccessful Rising of 1867 and the 1916 Rising which led to Irish independence.

 

Of those transported to Australia, a number escaped to America where they became leaders of the Irish diaspora. Meagher became a Union General leading the Irish Brigade in several great and bloody battles of the American Civil War. John Kavanagh who led the pikemen at the Warhouse died as a Captain serving under Meagher in the battle of Antietam. Meagher died as acting Governor of Montana. On the other hand, John Mitchel supported the south in the same war. He was later elected Member of Parliament for Co. Tipperary in 1875, the year of his death. MacManus died in San Francisco in 1861 and was accorded a famous funeral in Ireland.

 

Kevin Izod O’Doherty on his release served as a member of the Queensland legislature in Australia and later as an Irish M.P. Charles Gavan Duffy whom the government failed to convict at trial, re-opened the Nation which had been suppressed during the Rebellion, and became an M.P. He emigrated to Australia where he became Premier of the State of Victoria in 1871. Duffy later became the historian of the Young Ireland movement. John Martin following his release became a Home Rule M.P.

 

O’Brien was incarcerated on Maria Island, off the coast of Tasmania, and then in a two-roomed cottage (now the O’Brien Museum) within the Port Arthur penal colony. He received a conditional pardon in 1854 which was made unconditional in 1856 and allowed him to return to Ireland. He refused many offers from Irish constituencies to return to the House of Commons. He died in 1864 and is buried in the O’Brien mausoleum, Rathronan, Co. Limerick. His statue stands on O’Connell Street, Dublin.



June 1, 2010 at 6:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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William Smith O'Brien


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Thomas Francis Meagher


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Terence Bellew MacManus

June 1, 2010 at 6:09 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

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Patrick O'Donohue


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Michael Doheny


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John Mitchel


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James Stephens


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Colonel John O’Mahony

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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


June 1, 2010 at 6:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

Terence MacManus

The rebels were incensed that they had been fired upon without provocation ,and the shooting went on for a number of hours. During the initial exchange of fire, the rebels at the front of the house—men, women and children—crouched beneath the wall. So great was the pressure of the crowd that around one hundred men were forced to cross from one side of the front gate to the other. As they crossed between the gate piers they were shot dead by the police. During lulls in the shooting, the rebels retreated out of the range of fire. Roughly another 50 men who had been standing at the gable-end of the house when the firing began—and were quite safe where they were—found that their companions had retreated. Jumping up on the wall to run and join them, they were fatally wounded by the police.

 

 

Removal of Smith O'Brien under sentence of death

It was evident to the rebels that the position of the police was almost impregnable, and a Catholic clergyman of the parish, Rev. Philip Fitzgerald, endeavoured to mediate in the interests of peace. When a party of only three Cashel police under Sub-Inspector Cox were seen arriving over Boulea Hill, the rebels, attempting to stop them, were routed with the loss of over 200 men and the police continued to advance, firing up the road. It became clear that the police in the house were about to be reinforced and rescued. The rebels, though outnumbering the Gentry by over two thousand to one, through down their arms and begged for mercy. There was none forthcoming however, as the small body of Yeomen efficiently went through the huge crowd and massacred up to five hundred unarmed men, women and children thus effectively terminating both the era of Young Ireland and Repeal, but the consequences of their actions would follow them for many years.



June 1, 2010 at 6:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Aftermath

 

This was one of the most startling and complete military victories by a tiny force against one many times its size, in the history of mankind. It was severed into the Irish conciousness and it is never spoken about as there is still a large degree of embarrassment in the manner of the defeat to this day. Several of the rebel leaders were charged and convicted of sedition, which carried a death sentence. Their sentences were commuted to transportation to Van Diemen's Land in present-day Tasmania, Australia, where the "Irish gentlemen" prisoners were separated among various settlements. Meagher and John Mitchel (who had been transported there before for political activities) both managed to escape and emigrate to the United States in the early 1850s. They served on opposite sides of the American Civil War: Meagher with the Union, for which he recruited and commanded the Irish Brigade, and Mitchel's allying with and living in the South, sending three sons to fight with the Confederacy.

The McCormack family emigrated to the USA about 1853.

Since that time, the McCormack house (which was owned by numerous other families after 1848) has always been known locally as the Warhouse.

In 2004 the State decided on "Famine Warhouse 1848" as the official name of the house, which had been designated a national heritage monument.


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


June 1, 2010 at 6:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


July 1, 2010 at 8:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

By: Carlow Nationalist

 

FOR thousands of years, Ireland has had a military history, with many great leaders.

 

Many invaders were repelled, while others would settle here and contribute to our national heritage. From the 16th century, our struggle has been our fight for independence: first from England, then Britain.

 

The issues of this struggle are inexplicitly linked, right from the Flight of the Earls, led by Hugh O’Neill in September 1607, following defeat at Kinsale, the wild Geese leaving for Europe on 3 October1691, the transportation to Australia following the 1798 rebellion, the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848 – which this article will be looking at – right up to the War of Independence and the truce, signed in July 1921. Each defeat in this process and the cruelty of the response displayed by Crown Forces in the aftermath of those events only fuelled the desire of the next generation of Irishmen to continue the struggle, and this they did with pride.

 

Thomas Francis Meagher was born where the Greville Arms Hotel now stands in Waterford city, on 3 August 1823 but, as this premises was sold, his family moved to No 19, The Mall on the following day.

 

His grandfather, also Thomas, had emigrated from Tipperary to St Johns, Newfoundland, where he first became a trader, then a merchant and ship owner, building up a lucrative business, part of which included a healthy portfolio in Waterford.

 

He married Mary Crotty, and their son, yet another Thomas, was later sent to manage that area of the business. He became a successful businessman in his own right, was mayor of the city on two occasions, and served as an MP from 1847 to 1857.

 

It was here that he married Alicia Quan, who would give birth to two sons and three daughters, including Thomas Francis. Sadly, only the eldest sister, Christine Mary lived beyond childhood. To confound this, his mother died when Thomas was just three years’ old.

 

The young Thomas was sent to Clongowes Wood College when he was just 11.

 

It was here that he acquired his oratory skills, mainly through debating. Six years later, he went to Stoneyhurst College in Lancashire, another Jesuit educational centre and the largest Catholic college in England. Meagher developed a conflict of accents here, with his teachers unable to cope with his Irish brogue; and when he came back home, the Anglo Irish accent he cultivated at the school drove his friends insane.

 

He returned to Ireland in 1843 and moved to Dublin a year later with the intention of studying for the bar.

 

It was here he became interested and involved in the Repeal movement, the association formed by Daniel O’Connell.

 

This organisation was lobbying to have the Act of Union reversed and for Ireland to revert to the constitutional position of the 1780s.

 

Thomas was unknown as he made his first speech in Conciliation Hall, the main gathering place of the association; only chairman William Smith O’Brien was vaguely aware of his emerging talents.

 

His listeners were sceptical as the youthful Meagher started his oration, but soon he had them glued to his every word and, at the end, received a standing ovation. Meagher’s reputation grew as his speeches and quotes spread through the nation.

 

He drew huge crowds everywhere he spoke.

 

I will highlight some of his quotes, which have a high international standing, at the end of this article.

 

In 1846, the Liberals came to power in Britain. O’Connell decided to support liberalism, and its leader Lord Russell, in an attempt to gain ground in the repeal struggle. However, on 15 June 1846, Meagher denounced the liberal agenda and any move to support English political parties as long as repeal was denied.

 

Tension grew between O’Connell’s supporters and the “Young Irelanders,” (the name given to the young men of the nation by O’Connell), with the repeal side stating the nation could not be justified in asserting its liberties by force of arms. Meagher agreed with those sentiments, but if they did not work, he would adopt the more perilous but no less honourable route of the use of arms.

 

When the peace resolutions were again proposed on 28 July, Meagher responded with his famous sword speech. His main points being (extracts only) “A Whig (Liberal) minister may improve the province; he will not restore the nation. The hopes of the past may be repaired –the hopes of the future will not be fulfilled. With a vote in one pocket, a lease in the other, the humblest peasant may be told he is free but, my lord, he will not have the character of a free man, his spirit to dare, his energy to act. With this spirit does not actuate, the country may be tranquil – it will not be prosperous. It may exist –it will not thrive. The right to free opinion I have here upheld: in the exercise of that right, I have differed from the leader of this association, and would do so again. That right I will not abandon, I will maintain it to the last.”

 

The speech is quite long and, towards the end, O’Connell’s son John interposed in an attempt to stop Meagher being heard further, stating one of them would have to leave the hall. Smith O’Brien challenged the younger O’Connell’s attempt to suppress someone else’s legitimate opinion, before leading the Young Irelanders as a body out of conciliation hall for ever.

 

Just to mention here, The Nation, a nationalist newspaper first published on 15 October 1842, was founded by three members of the repeal movement, Gavan Duffy as editor, Thomas Davis and John Blake Dillon.

 

This fortnightly publication was meant to unite all classes and creeds of Irish people for the better good of the state.

 

Duffy described the name as a declaration of the desire to make Ireland a nation. In January 1847, Meagher and Smith O’Brien formed the Irish Confederation, taking the paper and its staff along with them.

 

In 1848, Meagher and Smith O’Brien travelled to France to study revolutionary tactics, and it was here that he was presented with the tricolour by a group of women, who bore sympathy to their cause.

 

Some descriptions of this flag state there was a red hand of Ulster on the white in the centre. I have found no proof of this and, as Meagher’s theory for unity covered the whole Island, it is highly improbable; also, as this was the flag flown on the GPO in 1916, the red hand was not visible.

 

The Young Irelander rebellion had many twists and turns and a lot of confusion. Meagher, O’Brien and Dillon travelled to Wexford, Kilkenny, and Tipperary in an effort to organise a widespread rebellion.

 

The initial plan, as far as can be ascertained, was to rise in Athlone, Carrick, Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick.

 

However, these plans were abandoned. They were also forced to drop an alternative plan for a rising in Dublin.

 

Now they were down to Kilkenny and Tipperary. This too fell by the wayside due to events in what became known as the Battle of Ballingary on 29 July 1848.

 

Having been chased by the Young Irelanders, an initial force of 47 RIC led by superintendent Trant barricaded themselves in the house of the widow Margaret McCormack at Commons, Ballingary, holding her and her five children hostage.

 

Here a gunfight ensued over a number of hours, which resulted in the deaths of two Young Irelanders.

 

RIC reinforcements arrived and the rebels fled. However, Meagher, O’Brien, Terence MacManus, and Patrick O’Donoghue were captured. Tried for sedition (incitement to insurrection) at Clonmel, all four were convicted under new laws, which meant they would be “hanged, drawn, and quartered.”

 

Meagher then delivered what is known as his speech from the dock (available at Wikisource.org). Space prevents me using this speech, which again spoke out against British attitudes and expressed his hope that, in the future, history would agree with his efforts to obtain justice for Ireland.

 

He addressed the judge: “My Lord, this is our first offence, but not be our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise on our word as gentlemen to try better next time.”

 

While awaiting execution, they were joined by Kevin O’Doherty and John Martin. Public outcry and international pressure saw them being granted Royal clemency, their sentence commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land.

 


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


December 29, 2010 at 6:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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