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

Murder in the County of Cavan

The Times
London, Middlesex, England

March 24, 1856

(From Our Own Correspondence) 
Dublin, Saturday Morning

Murder in the County of Cavan

The following letter, dated Ballyconnell Wednesday morning, appears in the Express. The outrage, brutal as it was, can scarcely come under the class of murder, being rather a case of aggravated manslaughter, arising out of the drunken orgies with which too many of the lower orders delight to honour the natal day of the patron saint: – “Another fell and foul murder has been committed in this doomed locality, almost on the very spot where the unfortunate MR. GALLAHER was shot in May, 1845, and, I may state, not far from the police barrack. I give you some particulars; – We had on Monday (St. Patrick’s Day) a fair, which was attended by a vast crowd of idle young fellows, who towards evening began to beat and batter every person in any way obnoxious to them. A decent, quiet, inoffensive man, name JOHN GALLAHER, who lives near the town, was going home about 9 PM., quite sober, and, having crossed the bridge, he found a party of those ruffians beating a boy name CASSIDY. He begged of them to desist, when they turned on him, and, with short sticks loaded and lead, battered his skull in. He contiued to live, suffering intesely, untill last night. The boy CASSIDY is not expected to live many hours. Some fellows, supposed to be the murderers, have been arrested by the police. I have just heard on good authority that two parties of these ruffians were on Monday for above an hour in two houses, whose names I have heard also, running lead to the end of short sticks that could carry under their coats.”

January 24, 2009 Posted by | as crime, description of sticks | , , | Leave a comment


Published in Cavan, county Cavan

July 9, 1847


Owen COYLE, aged 52, was then indicted for “causing the death of Patrick DONNELLAN, on the night of the 7th of May at Blackhills, by a wound inflicted by the blow of a stick on the back of his head, of which he instantly died.”

Michael CLARKE was called for the defence–He said the prisoner at the bar went to him to the public works on the morning of the 8th of May, and told him that he caught a man from his place, naming deceased stealing his plants the night before; that he gave him a sore blow of a stick on the back of his head, and when he saw what he had done, he lifted him up and placed him sitting on the side of a potato ridge; he then went into the house for something, but on his return, deceased was gone.

January 24, 2009 Posted by | as crime | , , , | Leave a comment


The Anglo-Celt, Cavan, county Cavan

Feb 12 1847

MURDER IN CO. LEITRIM–On Wednesday last, a party of lawless ruffians, supposed to be about twelve in number, surrounded the dwelling of an industrious farmer named DUFFY, on the lands of Drumshambo, in the Parish of Cloone. DUFFY and family were in the act of repeating the rosary, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, when the degraded villains arrived to perpetrate their nefarious purposes, and (as given in evidence) remained quietly outside till this religious ceremony terminated. Three of the gang immediately broke into DUFFY’s house, one of whom carried a gun, demanded arms, and struck him violently. A severe and unequal contest ensued in which Brian DUFFY, son of the farmer, eighteen years of age, received a blow of a loaded cudgel on the side of the head, which caused his death in the course of a few hours. Intelligence of this tragedy having been reported, Alexander PERCY, Esq., coroner, repaired to the spot and empannelled a respectable jury, when after a most infinite i nvestigation, a verdict of wilful murder was unanimously recorded against a certain person aided and assisted by other persons yet unknown. DUFFY and family bear excellent character– Northern Standard.

January 24, 2009 Posted by | as crime, Old Newspaper clippings | , , , , | Leave a comment