LETTERS FROM THE PAST
Copyright Alfie O'Brien
THE ABDUCTION OF
The following is an extract of a letter from Tintrim, in the county of Galway, dated October 9th 1805. —
Outrage. — On Saturday night last, a Miss Cunningham, the daughter of a respectable farmer in the neighbourhood of Tintrim, was forcibly taken away by one Fahy and an armed banditti, with intent to compel her to marry said Fahy. After stopping her mouth and tying her hands, they dragged her to Shannon-side, and then conveyed her to the Great Island.
As soon as young Mr Burke, of Tintrim, heard the affair, he in a most spirited manner, accompanied by a Mr. Fitzmaurice and T. Biggs, pursued the fugitives, and, notwithstanding the elusions of the country people, came up with them, after crossing the Shannon, near the Castle of Anna, in the county of Tipperary, and rescued the young innocent. They then recrossed the water, and bore her in triumph to the mansion-house of Tintrim.
(The Hampshire Chronicle Oct 9th 1805)
(young) John A. Burke, 1778 - 1863 (pictured) succeeded his father Henry as landlord of the Tintrim estate.
James Fitzmaurice was a solicitor in Dublin, who frequently visited Clonrush parish where he had property.
Mr. Biggs of the Biggs estate in Terryglass, on the eastern side of Lough Derg.
LETTER FROM WHITEGATE
Patrick Mullamphy 1816-1891, a weaver by trade, lived in Flowerhill, Whitegate. The house was situated on the grounds that was later Ryans'. His wife Anne, formerly Logan died in 1916 aged 83 years. Patrick writing to an older son John in New Zealand is concerned about his youngest son Patt who has recently joined his brother there and is a bit unsettled.
Whitegate, Co. Galway.
Jun 7th 1872
I am rejoyed to heer of Patt being landed all right. I am also happy to heer you are all in good health and beginning to get a family now. John you know the love of a father to his child also what you would expect in return. I hope you will not forget John. You spoke to some length about Patt. You mention nothing about him but I knew the trugth but you had a right to look out and put him in employment before he wore out his welcome, but now my deer son take care of Patt, do not be out with him. I am also thankful to your wife for the little account she sent to me about my brother. I am sure you will not break your word in sending the likeness. I would like to get them. We are all in good health at present thank God. Last Xmas Bridget, James and Denis had favour which put me about greatly. Denis says he will go to New Zealand and bring home Patt. Do not forget to let me know how he is situated and how he is doing. Tell him that I am expecting a line too from him. You will let him know that your friend John Minogue was since the morning they parted at 11 or 12 weeks on his bed and given up by priest and doctor. He is now in good health. Mary Tierney is a Mrs Kilday. You may know from Patt that I am a great smoker. I hope you will send me price of the tobacco. You will let Patt know that Kitty Mack is dead and berid. There is no more alteration in the Whitegate nabours since Patt left. Your ants family are all well. I have no more of any importance now to montinence to mention. Do not forget Patt as he has no father to look after him.
Mary, Bridget, James, Denis and their mother joins me in sending their love to yourself and your wife and daughter and Patt.
Last not least I hope you will not neglect ansering this. Do not let the Christmus holidays overtake it for feer you would be too huried. I hope Patt will write soon. No more at present from your fond and loving father.
____________________________________Dear cousin John,
LETTER FROM COOSE
Slaughty, Whitegate, Co. Galway.
Oct. 1, 1916
You must begin to think that your name and friends have left the old place altogether. Well I am surprised to learn that you did not get any letter from me in reply to your letter of last March. I wrote to you soon after getting your letter. I cannot account for its where about any further. Of course letters are uncertain in travelling during these disturbed times especially at the time of the Irish Revolt all communication was very much upset.
Again I acknowledge receipt of your postal order and tender to you my warmest thanks for the same. Naturally you are anxious to get an account of your friends and the changes that have occurred from time to time.
Well I will begin at our own family changes, of course you are aware my two brothers are in Cincinnati one thirteen yours and the other eleven. My two sisters are married, one is married five years to a man named Burke and living below Eyrecourt, twenty miles from here. They have three fine children and my other sister was married last Shrove-tide to a man named Byrnes living in the same direction between Portumna and Eyrecourt 15 miles away. So I am all alone with my father and mother. I tell you I feel it lonely.
My uncle Martin Tuohy got his last girl married this year also, to a man named Shiel living in Douras, so he has only two boys now. His oldest son is a police sergeant in Australia and another resigned the police force and got married in Ireland.
John McDermott who lived in Whitegate, is buried for the past ten years or longer. His family are living there. His brother Patrick got a farm in Kilkenny some years ago in exchange for the holding in Derrygoolin. Michael and the sisters never married. Lived also in Whitegate up to seven years ago, then moved to the farm Patrick got. It is thought Michael got another farm so their own place will probably be divided on the small holders. It is presently occupied by a man named Darren who will be dispossessed by the commissioners very soon. The grinding apartments are gone to wreck. The dwelling was improved and is in perfect style but the farm is a wilderness. It was never tilled since they were evicted.
Ned Hayes is one of the finest men you would see in a meeting. A very heavy man, a rich man too. His oldest girl died. He has only another two boys at home and two went to Australia, but one volunteered. I don't know where he is now.
Well John, I cannot explain as much as I would like to about the buying price of a farm of land in Ireland. I would say a holding of forty Irish acres would cost about 500 or over according to the situation.
Now I am calculating there is a house and outhouses on that farm but to furnish that house and stock that farm and supply farm indefinitely would cost at least 500 more. I may be overestimating the whole thing, but I will try and give you an idea if the price of stock. A working horse about 50, a milking cow, 25, a calf,4, a yearling 9, a two year old 16, lamb 2, a hogget 4, a bonham 2-5, a cut weight of a pig 4-5, wool 1/6 per lb, eggs 2 pence each, tobacco 5 pence per oz, a pint of stout 4½ pence, a glass of whiskey 7 pence. Now the list I have quoted is just an average one. Everything we buy is almost double in price and every likelihood of advance in prices of course it is just as easy to buy in these times because we are getting double for everything we sell.
Now it may be possible to rent a farm from the Estate Commissioner. They have bought up all the grass lands and the money is not forthcoming to dispose of these lands to farmers sons and all eligable claimants. I think a man with money in this country could rent such a farm, whether that extends to you or other American citizens, I do not know.
Now John, you asked in your first letter for the names of the six oldest men in Coose. Well I think I could get six women older than six men. You know Martin Tuohy's mother lives still also the old couple at the shop are old Mrs Tuohy that's my father's aunt. These are the very oldest.
Well John, the most notable change is the dying out of the Tuohy name in Coose South. You know there were six families of the name in that part of Coose and with the exception of the shop family, all the others will go with their generation. You know James Tuohy's family never married only one girl. Martin Tuohy's son Jeremiah has no heir and is in the asylum. Big Pat Tuohy who was married to Ned Hayes's sister had no heir and was lost coming from Woodford two years ago and the family locally known as the ones, their place passed into their brother-in-law named Garvey. The last mentioned name is a surviving one, there are five families of them in the locality.
Now John, my brother Michael intends coming to Ireland next summer and you can arrange to come to visit the old place too. While my mother is able to knit another pair of socks she again wishes to thank you for your kindness and both my father and mother send to you and yours their kindest regards and expects you to visit this place at your earliest convenience. Hoping this letter will have more success in travelling than my other one.
With best wishes for your welfare.
I remain your sincere cousin.
PS. Please say if Pat is living with you. Give him remembrance from the old place and tell him, Pat Finnerty is a bachelor still. James Power died some years ago and his wife is in Dublin at present undergoing an operation.