The story of the O’Halloran sisters who fended off the officers evicting their family during the Irish Land War, 1887

This incredible photo was taken in 188 and shows Boddie, Claire's O'Halloran sisters, who fight when their home is threatened with eviction.

The O'Halloran sisters – Annie, Honoria, and Sarah – lived with their parents and their brothers, Patrick and Frank, in the townland of Lisburne, southwest of the village of Boddeke. He was a tenant of Colonel John O'Callaghan, who would become infamous by the end of the Irish Land War.

The Second Irish Land Act of 1881 attempted to give tenants greater protection by paving the way for rent cuts, guaranteeing equal rents for a period of 15 years and, in some cases, eventual ownership.

O'Callaghan charged the O'Hallorans £31, which was ordered by the court to be reduced to £22-10s – an amount the family retained was still unreasonable, as the rent before he raised it was £ was 13-10.

A few years ago, the rent was raised to £33, but it was later reduced when the tenants took the matter to land court. Despite this shortcoming, the O'Hallorans were owed two years of rent in large part due to the construction of a new two-story slated house and outhouse.

In the weeks before the eviction, the family made necessary defensive adjustments to the home: building earthworks in the vicinity of the house, digging a moat around its perimeter, barricading windows and doors, and at strategic points. Making small holes There are flaws in the walls. They also collected pitchforks, wooden poles and sand bags.

A large crowd (8,000 according to the 'Freeman's Journal') used to gather daily in the village during the last week of May, in anticipation of the evictions to begin.

The eviction party finally arrived on 2 June, consisting of the acting sheriff, O'Callaghan agent, a resident magistrate, RIC, 2nd Royal Welsh fusiliers, bailiffs and 14 emergency men.

The family was busy boiling a mixture of dirty water and food, and when the bailiffs carefully approached the house, the O'Halloran sisters threw the boiling substance at them through the loopholes. The police threatened to shoot but the family held on to the enthusiasm of the onlookers.

The three O'Halloran sisters, Honoria, Annie and Sarah, throw cans of boiling water from windows to keep bailiffs away. Police used stairs to climb into the windows on the second floor, and Honoria grabbed a police officer's bayonet while her brother Frank knocked her over.

Armed with a rifle bayonet, Honoria forced the bailiffs to retreat while her siblings fought the men who had made it to the house. Eventually, the family was overrun.

In the days following the expulsion, the incident garnered much media attention with detailed accounts broadcasting 'exciting' and 'extraordinary' scenes in all national and regional newspapers.

The Cork Examiner (11 June 1887), referring to the opposing party as the 'indomitable O'Halloran family', remarked on the day that showed the humility, courage and defiance in many publications.

Following the eviction, a public meeting was held locally by DeWitt and Cox, where they commended the strength of the O'Halloran family, and in particular Harriet's heroic defense of their home. I

The case was heard at Ennis Courthouse on 20 June 1887. Following statements from plaintiffs and witnesses, Frank and Patrick were sentenced to three months' imprisonment and hard labor, while Honoria and Annie received one month's imprisonment with hard labor; Sarah and Harriet were not sentenced.

Within four years, Colonel O'Callaghan found himself in financial difficulties, so he increased rents and confiscated livestock from those who could or could not, in violation of the Land Act.

In 1909, the Land Commission confiscated the Bodykey section of the O'Callaghan Estate, and tenants were given the right to purchase their own land.

By the time of the 1911 census, some members of the O'Halloran family were still living in Lisberen, including Harriet, who was the landowner at the time.

Frank's first-hand account

His brother Frank's firsthand account of the day of eviction was published in the Irish Times on June 15, 1887. The following excerpt highlights the dramatic events.

This holding has been given to us for generations; We built the house ourselves with our own labor, it cost us £220. As far as the land is concerned, no one has worked hard to improve it. When the time for eviction came, we were determined to defend it with our lives. We closed the doors with formidable wood and treated the windows the same way.

On the morning of the eviction, we were up at the break of the day and laid out our plans, each defending a certain point and no leeway, whatever might come. We boiled plenty of water and food, and when everything was ready, we looked for bailiffs.

It didn't take us long to wait, as the assault party showed up at 10:30 and looked formidable too - the police, the soldiers and the bailiffs, all behind a large crowd of tenants.

We had two portholes commanding the eastern rear corner and plenty of pitchforks and poles to meet with rifles and bayonets when they would attempt to scale the windows. However, Mr. DeWitt denied us the pitchfork. I think he thought blood would spill if they were there

When the bailiffs arrived with picks and axes we waited until they came close enough to ignite the hot liquid.

The police shouted at us to go inside through the porthole or they would shoot, but we did not pay heed to them. I remember when they raised their rifles, I thought it was a strange country where the sons of the people are the biggest enemy.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.