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

Shillelagh vs pistols 1837

The Cornwall Chronicle Saturday 23 December 1837
The Whiteboy – A Tale Of Truth
…”As I approached
the cries rose faint and short, and I soon discovered a female struggling violently with a well -dressed ruffian. I rushed to the spot, and wielding a knotty .blackthorn, bid the ruffian turn and defend himself. Great was my astonishment to discover Squire Craven, my father’s landlord, in the person before me. He turned with the rage of a tiger, and snatching a pistol from his bosom discharged it at me. Fortunately the ball only grazed my temple, and before he could present the second  pistol, I rushed upon him and leveled him to the earth. I beat him severely, and leaving him nearly motionless, I assisted the fainting object of his violence.

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Old Newspaper clippings, prowess | | Leave a comment

Political Cartoon Faction Fight 1846

Found by Maxime Chouinard

John Doyle 1846
Listed Personalities (left to right)
Herbert of Lea, Sidney Herbert, Baron, 1810-1861 #5914
Graham, James, Sir 1792-1861 #5740
Aberdeen, George Hamilton Gordon Earl of 1784-1860 #4221
Wellington, Arthur Wellesley Duke of 1769-1852 #696
Peel, Robert Sir 1788-1850 #589
Sheil, Richard Lalor 1791-1851 #5823
O’Connell, Daniel 1775-1847 #574
Russell, John Russell, Earl, 1792-1878 #5597
Palmerston, Henry John Temple 3rd Viscount 1784-1865 #5598
Grey, Charles Grey, Earl, 1764-1845 #5606
Bentinck, George, Lord 1802-1848 #5732
Disraeli, Benjamin Earl of Beaconsfield 1804-1881 #204
Embedded text
I’m for the fellow with the whiskers. – I’ll break a head or two before it’s all over. – Die game, Bob. – We must give in. There’s no standing against such odds

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Faction fight descriptions, grip, Historical descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings, Period illustration, political cartoons | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

County Cavan Newspaper , December 13th. 1852

“Peter proved his prowess in the party fights between
Orange and Green, which occurred in Ballieborough, as
wel as in other towns of Ulster, in former days.
Peter always headed his party, and with a good
shillelagh or a blackthorn cudgel, he was able at any
time to thrash a score of Orangemen, and often knocked
down a dozen of them with his own hand.”

January 25, 2009 Posted by | Faction fight descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings, prowess | , , , , , | 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