IMA Source Catalog

Gathering all the sources for historical Irish martial culture in one place.


The Moreton Bay Courier Saturday 27 May 1854


“We have ever been disposed to pay the
mögt unqualified respect to the judicial
tribunals of the country, mid to those exulted administrators of the law whose
incorruptible purity is a source of pride
to their fellow countrymen and to admiration to others. But as men are
not infallible, even the Judges may occasionally commit on error or propound a

fallacy; and we feel assured that his
Honour Mr. Justice Dickinson made

a slip of this kind ou Saturday hist. As
the occasion was a trial for murder, and
is the culprit fate may be considered
as still pending, we shall endeavour so to
frame our remarks as to avoid prejudice

His Honour started what we cannot

but regard as a great and dangerous novelty. Everybody has heard that Irish-
men are addicted to the use of the stick,
or “shillelagh” ; and, no doubt, there
has been «great deal of exaggeration respecting this partiality. ‘Now Mr. Justice Dickinson thinks that on the trial
of an Irishman for murdering another
with a stick, or bludgeon, evidence respecting his native country may bo useful to the jury; because, argues his
Honour, Irishmen, being accustomed to

beat each other about the head with
sticks, might sometimes kill their
antagonists without intending it. In
other words, an Irishman, when merely
intending to give another a drubbing according to the custom of
his country, and having no intention
to kill or to do grievous bodily harm,
might chance to fracture a person’s skull,
without being guilty of murder. A
more dangerous doctrine we never heard
from the Bench ; and we do not wonder
that it created, as his Honour remarked,
some little -” emotion,” or that the Attorney-General replied to it with some
warmth. But this honourable and learned
officer of the law applied his remarks
more to what he conceived to be an offensive allusion to his countrymen, than to
the mischievous consequences likely to
result, in criminal proceedings; from the
opinion expressed by the Judge, his
Honour denied any intention of branding
the Irish people as assassins, and we feel
well assured that he had no such desire :
but ho wished to say that people of that
nation were very likely to kill each other
with sticks, without intending such a
crime. Herein consists the mischief of
the thing. To say that the customs of
a man’s country arc to be taken as evidence of his intention in beating another
on the head, is to offer facilities for the
evasion of justice. If such evidence
were ruled to bo good in law, we fear that
we should hear of many murders being
committed with sticks, and that the
perpetrators would invariably represent
themselves as Irishmen, who would have
a sort of privilege to fracture sculls. We
never before heard of any such distinction being made, and we cannot but think
that on this occasion the learned Judge
expressed an opinion without that calm
and philosophical deliberation for which
ho has usually been so highly distinguished.

October 7, 2012 Posted by | as crime, court, Old Newspaper clippings | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cavan Observer September 3, 1864


Thomas M’KEON summoned James REEHILL for an assault. The case had been postponed on a previous day in consequence of the complainant being unable to attend….

Thomas M’KEON examined by Mr. M’Gauran–Lives in Ballanacarry; on the 18th of August last was lifting flax off the spread, and drawing it with a horse and cart; was passing by a meadow where REEHILL was mowing; on coming up to him bid him “the time of the day;” he replied that he would not allow any one to speak to him who had threatened to break his bones; I said I had never threatened to do so; he then jumped out on the road and struck at me with his fist; I warded off the blow as best I could; he then kicked me….In about an hour I began to feel the effects of the kicks…….

The Bench ordered Reehill to pay a fine of 10s and costs.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, court, kicking, Old Newspaper clippings, pugilism | , | Leave a comment

Cavan Observer March 3, 1860

Patrick MONAGHAN, appellant; Sub-Inspector WEIR, respondent.

In this case the appellant had been sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, at the Ballyjamesduff Petty Sessions, for an assault upon the respondent, who is Sub Inspector of Constabulary at Ballyjamesduff.

Messrs. James and John Armstrong appeared for the appellant. Mr. S. Knipe appeared for the respondent and briefly stated the case.

Sub-Inspector WEIR was then called and examined.–On the 10th of January I was sitting in my own house; it was between 5 and 6 o’clock; I heard a row in the street opposite my house; I ran out and saw several persons fighting; MONAGHAN and a man named CRUMMY appeared to be the worst; they were in grips, fighting; I ran over, and caught each of them by the throat and told them they should come with me; CRUMMY’s wife told him not to resist; she said “for God’s sake go quietly;” MONAGHAN resisted and struck me several times with his fist….James M’GEBNEY deposed he was looking on during the assault on Mr. WEIR, and previously, saw CURRY and MONAGHAN fighting; they were fighting when Mr. WEIR ran out; saw MONAGHAN strike Mr. WEIR several blows…

Thomas CRUMMY examined by Mr. Armstrong–Is a broguemaker, and on the night of the row was quarrelling with another broguemaker, named COLWELL; it wasn’t a fight–only an argument about trade. Here Mr. CRUMMY turned and poured forth a torrent of vituperation upon the previous witness, calling him a thief, a robber, &c., and shouting that he (Mr. C) had to be constantly watching his potatoes to prevent him from stealing them……He was at length interrupted by the Chairman, who inquired if he knew where the gaol was?

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, court, Old Newspaper clippings, pugilism, wrestling | , , , | Leave a comment

The Cork Examiner, 1 October 1856

   Laurence Daly was charged with a grievous assault on James Bowden and John Henry Colvin, both members of the society of Friends, on the 21st August last, at Ballinure.    John H. Colvin and James Bowden were examined by Mr. P. O’Connell, Crown-solicitor, and proved that they were walking towards the Douglas Post-office, about 6½ oclock, on the evening in question, when between Mr. Crawford’s gate and Douglas, they perceived a man shouting towards them ; he appeared in a sailor’s dress, and had a bag or something in his hands ; when he came up to them, he accused them of throwing stones at him, which they denied, whereupon he struck Colvin with his clenched fist on the side of the head, and then took Mr. Bowden’s stick from him, and struck him with great force on the head, and cut his head in two places throught [sic] his hat ; they then struggled with him and got him down, calling loudly for help, when finding no one coming to their assistance, they thought it best to run away ; they had come to arrange the affairs of a deceased friend of theirs, who had been a tutor at Mr. Pike’s. Mr. Colvin was from Dublin, and Mr. Bowden from Surrey. 
   Mr. O’Hea, with Mr., Gillman, defended the prisoner, and called Mr. Denis Murpy as to character. The defense was, that the prisoner was under the impression that the prosecutors had been throwing stones at him. 
   The jury found him guilty of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one of the jurors in answer to his Worship amidst much laughter, stating that they had come to that decision without being influenced either by Mr. O’Hea’s eloquent speeches or his worship’s able charge. 
   The Court sentenced the prisoner to twelve months imprisonment at hard labour, observing that in his experience as Assistant Barrister for 20 years in this and the adjoining County he had never heard of a more unprovoked assault. Previous to that case he could assert that it was as safe to walk the roads of this county at night as the high streets of London in the day time, and that it was his duty, by the sentence in this case, to prevent such a thing occurring again.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, court, Old Newspaper clippings, pugilism, wrestling | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cavan Observer May 30, 1863


The case of Thomas BENSON v. Michael M’KEON which was adjourned from lst Court day, to enable M’Keon to produce witnesses, was next heard.

Benson swore positively that it was M’Keon who hit him on the head with a loaded “butt” on the evening of the 14th inst. in Church lane….Three witnesses were produced for the defence who deposed that M’Keon did not strike Benson, but whilst both of them had a hold of the “butt” some person in the crowd; whom they did not know, struck Benson a blow on the head…The witnesses differed in their description of the manner M’Keon held the “butt” in his hand at the time…..The Court directed the “butt” to be produced. It is a short stick, loaded with lead at the end, and covered over with leather. It is certainly a desperate weapon, and a blow from it would knock down a bull…..

Mr. GALLOGLY proved that he was passing through Church-lane on the evening in question, when he observed a row going on; saw Benson M’Keon, and COURTNEY standing close by quietly looking on; witness went to take a stone from a boy who was about to fling it, and when he turned round saw Benson bleeding, and having a hold of the “butt” in M’Keon’s hand…..

Constable M’CARTHY proved that he knew M’Keon for five years, and never heard of any charge against him. He considered him a man of good character…

M’Keon was fined 1l. and 1l. costs or one month’s imprisonment–the costs and one third of the fine to go to Benson.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, court, description of sticks, Old Newspaper clippings | , , , | Leave a comment

Cavan Observer September 24, 1859


John GREGG v. Patrick FANNAN

The complainant conducted his own case. Mr. M’Gauran of Cavan appeared for the defendant. The complainant is shopman to Mr. John SHERA, and a most inoffensive young man.

John GREGG sworn–On Friday night, the 9th inst., was returning from a prayer meeting in the Wesleyan Chapel, which he has been in the habit of attending for the last five or six years; saw seven or eight men on the footway, at Matthew BANNON’s public house; walked off into the channel to escape them; the defendant followed him, and caught him round the neck; gave him “a foot,” and tumbled him; as soon as he fell another of the party came and struck him with a stick, and another with his fist. Mr. SHERA and some others then came up, and the cowards ran away; Mr. Shera followed defendant; witness thought it better to let his prisoner go, and run to Mr. Shera’s assistance; did so, and when he came up another ruffian ran and struck Mr. Shera; took defendant prisoner, and brought him to the barrack.

To Mr. M’Gauran–There were two or three assisting in bringing prisoner to the barrack; did strike defendant after he was arrested; does not believe he gave him a black eye, but might have done it; defendant was not drunk; swears positively he wasn’t; witness is considered smart, and had a tight race to catch him; that wasn’t like a drunken man; Mr. Shera had no umbrella, nor did not strike defendant.

Mr. Moorhead–A very important question has arisen. You swear you struck the defendant after he was arrested. Why did you do so?
Witness–Your Worship, after he was arrested he made several attempts to strike and kick Mr. Shera and myself; it was than I struck him.
Chairman–Are we to understand it was in self-defence you struck him?
Mr. M’Gauran–Did you not jostle defendant before he assaulted you?
Witness–No; on the contrary I left the footpath to escape the prisoner; I ran to Mr. Shera’ assistance when a number of the party went to rescue the prisoner.
Mr. M’Gauran–Do you swear they wanted to rescue him?
Witness–I do; for they cried out to rescue him; I do not know who the other parties were.
Mr. M’Gauran–Will you swear defendant was not drunk?
Witness–I will.

Richard HUMPHRYS (a most intelligent lad of about 12 years old) sworn–Was coming home with John GREGG on the fair night; saw a number of men at BANNON’s public house door; John Gregg went off the footpath rather than pass through them…

The Chairman–Mr. M’Gauran, have you any witnesses for the defence?

Mr. M’Gauran–No, your Worship. I admit my client acted wrong, and that he has a right to be punished; but I would wish to state a few extenuating circumstances, that you may be pleased to award the punishment accordingly. As I am instructed by my client, he was unfortunately out on the night in question, and had taken too much drink this young man, Gregg, as I am instructed, jostled against him, and he confesses he struck him….Taking all these circumstances into account, I hope your Worships will consider a very small penalty sufficient.

The Chairman–The decision of the Bench is that you be imprisoned one month, with costs.

Head-Constable HARRISON summoned Farrel M’GOVERN, publican, for having his house open at prohibited hours for the sale of spirituous liquors. Fined 10s. and costs.

A few trifling cases having been heard, the Court rose.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, court, kicking, Old Newspaper clippings, pugilism, wrestling | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cavan Observer. Cavan County, Ireland 1863

James TIERNEY sworn–I was at the fair of Arvagh on
the 18th of November; I was in a
public-house kept by Mr. COSTELLO; I went into the
house with a woman who was looking for her husband; we
went up stairs and sat down to drink a naggin of
punch; I was standing up against a settle-bed when the
prisoner came in, shouted for a Tierney, struck me
with a blackthorn stick, and knocked
the eye out of me; I never had any quarrel with him.

Doctor Jacob SPROULE deposed that he was called in to
see the prosecutor, found him in bed
in a state of stupefaction, and having the appearance
of concussion of the brain, and his eye had the
appearance of a ball of blood; the wound was caused by
some blunt instrument, and was dangerous; the
prosecutor had permanently lost the sight of
his eye.

January 25, 2009 Posted by | as crime, court, Old Newspaper clippings | , | Leave a comment

THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL Galway, Monday, April 12, 1824


     John Hogan, Pat Linn, Joseph Lennie, Peter Dillon, Mathew Glass, James M’Clusky, Bernard O’Neil, Francis M’Laine, Hugh M’Kenna, jun., Owen M’Shane, Hugh M’Kenna, sen. and Neil M’Laine, were arraigned for riotiously assembling at Maghera on the 12th day of June last, and then and there assaulting the house of Hugh MacCracken, &c.
     As his Lordship intimated that he did not intend to proceed in the case of the riots this evening,
     Counsellor Doherty moved, that the prisoners now arraigned might be allowed to remain out till the morning.
     Sir James Galbraith (Crown Solicitor) expressed his unwillingness.
      Mr. Doherty then moved that the persons of the other party charged with rioting might also be arraigned and committed to gaol. He conceived Sir James could not object to this.
     Crown Solicitor- “Certainly not- I have only one rule for both parties.”
     Mr. Irwin then arraigned Samuel Clark, James Sloss, Charles Rainey, Hugh M’Cracken, Joseph Sloss, James M’Cleery, James Scot, John Armstrong, George Scot, James Hipson, and others for a riot at Maghera in June last.
     The prisoners were then remanded to gaol, and the Court, after transacting some unimportant business, adjourned.


     SATURDAY, APRIL 3- The Court assembled this morning at nine o’clock. After his Lordship had taken his seat.
     Mr. Rolleston stated, that he had been informed this morning, and he felt great pleasure in making the communication, that the prisoners, of both the parties, to be tried for being concerned in the fatal riots at Maghera, in June last, who were arraigned last night, and sent to gaol, had, in the prison, shaken hands and were mutually willing, for the future to abstain from all display of party feeling, and to live in good fellowship and neighborhood, and hoped the Court would allow them to return home without being brought to trial. As such a wish had proceeded from themselves, and had, he believed, been in some degree anticipated by the Counsel on both sides, he would put it as a suggestion to the Court, whether the discharge of the prisoners now might not tend as much to tranquilize the part of the country from whence they came as proceeding against them by trial. The Learned Gentleman enforced the suggestion in a strain of very powerful eloquence, and concluded by expressing his anxious hope that such a measure, if adopted, would tend permanently to place the country in a state of repose, and for ever to prevent in that Court a development of practices similar to those charged against the prisoners.
     Mr. Justice Vandeleur- If such a course as had been suggested would have the effect of allaying the bad feeling, and preventing such outrages as had unfortunately existed, and had been perpetrated between the two parties, I would be delighted in contributing any thing in the power of the Court towards it.
     As  the wish of the parties could only be obtained through the Agents concerned.-
     Mr. Attorney Falls, as agent for one class of the prisoners, stated, that if such a measure could be carried into effect, and that the reconciliation was sincere, there was no objection on his side; but he begged that his Lordship would not make any order until his Counsel would be present.
     His Lordship acquiesced, and Mr. Doherty having come into Court, Mr. Rolleston again made his application.
     Counsellor Doherty then stated, that if he were confident that the suggestion offered by the Counsel on the opposite side, on the part of his clients, was offered by them in the spirit of forbearance and conciliation, his clients would be the last persons in the county to stand in the way of such an arrangement; on the contrary, notwithstanding the unfortunate and melancholy occurrences which have happened, they would make every exertion to forward any measure which might tend to restore tranquility to that distracted part of the country. Their object was not to obtain any victory over their neighbours, by the result of the prosecutions-but by a fair and impartial trial, to have the unfortunate transaction probed to the bottom and thoroughly investigated, that the public might know who were in fault, nad the judicature of the county award the merited punishment. If, however, the two parties have come to a determination to forgive the past, and be reconciled for the future, the professional gentlemen concerned would ill perform their duty, if they did not make every exertion in their power to carry it into effect. They are rejoiced at such a conclusion, and I am confident the very respectable gentleman beside me (Mr. Falls) from the instructions  he has given his Counsel, will, as he had done already, do all in his power to promote and cherish it. “I hope,” concluded the learned gentleman, “I sincerely trust it is a cordial and not a hollow reconciliation which is wished; and that we shall never see the prisoners again at the bar, charged with a similar offence. I am confident the impressive and solitary admonishment of the bench would go a great way to completely effect mutual forgiveness, and prevent every dangerous manifestation of party spirit. However, without Mr. Sheil I cannot agree to such a recommendation as has been communicated to me for the first time since I came into Court.”
     Sir James Galbraith, the Crown Solicitor, said he was willing, if the Court would allow it, to abide by the opinion of the two respectable Catholic gentlemen now in his view, (Captain Small and Mr. Surgeon Henry) who were resident in the vicinity of the outrages, as to the effect which a measure as had been suggested would have in confirming the future peace and tranquility of any country.
     Counsellor Sheil at this moment entered the Court, and began to consult with his junior colleague, Mr. Doherty.
     Mr. Justice Vandeleur-It would be a great breach of duty, to the Court, to be accessary to a hollow reconciliation. If the outrages be renewed the individuals might rely on being visited by the condign vengeance of the laws. The Court was prepared to attend to the wishes of Counsel on both sides.
     The Clerk of the Crown then called over the names of both classes of prisoners. They mingled together in the dock, apparently good natured.
     Counsellor Deering (turning round and addressing the prisoners in the dock)-“Are you all willing to be good friends and neighbours and to be fully reconciled?”
     Prisoners-“Yes, we are.”
     Sir James Galbraith wished his “Lordship to permit him to ask the prisoners a question. Are ye ______”
     His Lordship- “Sir James, it might be better not. Gentlemen, (addressing both sides of the bar) can the Court now proceed?”
     Counsellors Rolleston and Sheil- “Your Lordship may.”
     His Lordship in a most impressive manner proceeded to address the prisoners to the following effect:- “Prisoners, you all stand charged with being concerned in teh perpetration of an outrage, the circumstances of which, having been already disclosed to the Court in a trial which has taken place, appears to have been of the greatest enormity, and such as are disgraceful to civilized society. I do not say that any of you are guilty, for you have not yet been tried; but you all stand charged with participating in an outrage, followed by consequences most fatal, and such as I never heard before a Court of Justice. I have been informed, and know, that this riot originated in different party feeling- a feeling which, if persisted in, will prove ruinous to the welfare of the country, and your own individual prosperity. It will be most satisfactory to me, if you are now cordially determined that all past differences and animosity should subside, and that you shall all live in harmony and good neighbourhood- you have so professed yourselves and for the sake of growing prosperity of this country, and for your own sake, I hope that your determination is sincere. If your expressed wish to be reconciled proves honest, your country will feel deeply interested in the occurrence of this day; for the peace of that district in which you reside depends on the sincerity of your profession. I do fervently hope and trust, that what you have stated to your Counsel is true, and that you have really determined to live hereafter as good friends and neighbors and to follow your lawful avocations in amity and cordiality. If your professions prove hollow, and a mere pretext in order to avoid dreaded punishment at present, and if you should again be brought into this Court, before me, or any other Judge, and found guilty of a similiar offence, the recollection of this day will be visited on and with augmented severity of punishment; for had you been convicted this day, your punishment would have been severe and exemplary. In the hope that your professions are sincere, and that you will return home good friends, and neighbours, and live in harmony and friendship, the Court consents that you now be discharged on being bound over in 20l. each of personal security, to appear at the next Assizes if called upon.
     Counsellor Shoales, in a low tone, addressed a few words across the bench to his Lordship.
     His Lordship- “I am glad you mentioned it, Mr. Schoales. Prisoners, before you retire, let me admonish you, that the best mode of showing the sincerity of what you have now promised, will be, on your return home, to abstain carefully form any expression of triumph-none of you have had a triumph-you stood charged, and have mutually agreed to be reconciled.”
     Counsellor Deering- “My Lord, before your Lordship spoke, I was also obtaining from the parties a promise to abstain hereafter from all processions, and irritating displays of different religious feelings and opinions.”
     His Lordship cordially seconded the object of Mr. Deering, and expressed his earnest hope and desire that the parties would avoid all processions and displays of party difference.
     The Clerk of the Crown having then repeated the form of the recognizance, the prisoners retired.
     The utmost satisfaction, with this pleasing result, was expressed by all present; the intelligence soon spread through the city, and was every where received with feelings of genuine pleasure.
     In the evening the individuals of the two parties joined together in harmonious circles, and, over the social glass, forgave and forgot their former animosities.

January 24, 2009 Posted by | court, Faction fight descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings | Leave a comment