The Bodyke Evictions, June 1887, County Clare, Ireland

The following are various articles published in The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, about the Bodyke Evictions of Bodyke, County Clare, Ireland.

The previous article about the John O’Halloran Family Eviction of June 10, 1887 was part of the Bodyke Evictions of June 1887 and is referenced in some of these newspaper articles.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Thursday, June 2, 1887, page 1, column 8:

Evictions Resumed at Bodyke.
Dublin, June 2. – The evictions at Bodyke have begun again, the sheriff having recovered from his illness. The sheriff is protected while doing his work by a force of 600 policeman and troops. At one house, in which the inmates were barricaded, the officers made a hole through the wall with crowbars and then removed the furniture. There is great excitement in the district.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Friday, June 3, 1887, page 1, column 6:

Telegrams to The Star.
Pitiful and Exciting Scenes in Ireland
How the Poor Tenants Were Driven From Their Cabins at Bodyke.
Special Cable Dispatch to The Evening Star.
Bodyke, Ireland, June 2. – Nobody at Tomgraney, where we are mostly staying, with Fathers Murphy and Hannen, had thoughts of time for breakfast this morning, for at an early hour a mounted messenger came galloping up with the news that police had been seen scouting upon the hills all night. the red coats were already on the march with the sheriff from Fortane. So, as soon as horses could be harnessed to an outside car, we started for Bodyke, beyond which stands the cabin at which the approaching forces were plainly aiming. From the hill-top the sight was an extraordinary one. Black lines of people on foot and horses were traveling as far as one could distinguish them a mile off along the road. A compact black mass, which we know to be the stalwart ranks of
is moving steadily forward, in front of them a taller body of Welsh fusileers, most of the latter being thrown out as skirmishers. The scarlet jackets of these skirmishers dotted the fields for several hundred yards on each side of the road. Fine work they had getting across the dykes and green banks. The men kept in touch by shouting to each other the password for the day, which appeared to be the syllable “Ro.” Ludicrous it was to see all this display of tactics and the precautions of glorious war in so inglorious a task as marching upon a perfectly peaceful people for the martial purpose of pulling about their ears the poor cabins they had built for themselves. The chapel bell had not ceased it mournful ding-ding-ding-ding since early morning when the bugle called in the skirmishers. The police and soldiers debouched upon the road, showing fourteen emergency-men skulking along in the middle, their crowbars stowed away in a cart behind them. One
rose from the crowds, which fell back before the police until the road was cleared. The fusileers were divided into two companies, placed on either side of the cabin. The constabulary formed up, shoulder to shoulder, in a ring, completely encircling it. The place was barricaded so the door was left undisturbed. The sheriff, a man known familiarly to the crowd, for some reason or other, as “Crocker of Ballynagarde,” dressed in a sporting suit of twee, with shooting helmet and leggings, stopped for a moment’s colloquy with Capt. Miller, R. N. An instant later half a dozen crowbars went into the mud-and-plaster wall, almost simultaneously. A storm of execration broke from the crowd, which made every other sound inaudible. So long as the process of eviction lasted curses at the sheriff and at the agent, the most ingenious and bloodthirsty, insults to the crowbar men, cheers for the “Plan of campaign.” for Davitt, and for the priests filled the air. Anybody who never head an Irish yell may be interested to know that it is absolutely identical in key and cadence with an Indian war whoop. Meanwhile the emergency me worked with a will.
rattled down from the wall, and in five minutes a gap was opened big enough to admit a man. In went the bailiffs and out came John Liddy, the tenant, the din redoubling at his appearance. The eviction began by handing out a few bits of small furniture, a can of milk and a bundle of flowers, these last characteristically being seized and kept by Davitt as a touching memento of the occasion. The the cry was raised for a sledge hammer. Two big ones were handed into the gap. The sounds which immediately ensued indicated that the center of interest had been transferred to the inside of the cottage, so I climbed through the hole, dodging pieces of broken furniture which came flying out. Inside the air was stifling with dust and heat, for the windows and doors had been blocked since early morning. Out of the semi-darkness “Crocker of Ballynagarde” advanced to meet me. “I don’t wish to be discourteous,” he said, “but you have no business here. I shall be obliged if you will get out of this at once.” I had previously sought and obtained the permission of Croker’s superior, the resident magistrate, the officer in command, so he promptly subsided.
A bedstead, an interesting old cupboard seven or eight feet high, and other things, were being smashed up by blows from the sledges which were whirling about over one’s head. Considerable pieces of them were passed out of the windows two feet square. Little enough there was, however, to fling out. Soon the crowbarmen had roughly piled up a wall of stones into the gap they had made. John Liddy handed to the sheriff a bill rapidly written for him by Father Hannen. The crowbars were piled into the cart, the police closed slowly around the emergency men, and escorted them away. The command “by fours march” sent the red coats along the roads; the visitors closed in behind them, and the screaming crowd followed. Not all, however. One man and one little group remained. The man was John Liddy, who stood gazing blankly at the piled-up heap of his demolished furniture. The group consisted of his wife, with streaming eyes, grasping a pretty fair-haired child of about four years, and Michael Davitt, with tears in his eyes, comforting them and dividing his flowers with them. This was the first eviction. The whole force of soldiers, police, and bailiffs only accomplished two as their day’s work. The second was
It was at the house of Widow McNamara. The process of surrounding it was precisely similar. In view of the elaborate solid blockade of the doors and windows, a short council of war was held. Then this house, too, was attacked. The crowd had greatly increased in volume and excitement. A hole was soon made, about three feet by two, at the height of a man’s waist from the ground. the sheriff stood hard by, while the leader of crowbarmen encouraged with such cries as “Heave away my men,” “Pitch the stones in on them,” “Heave them in.” Then, when the last big blocks fell inwards, amid a blinding cloud of dust, he shouted, “Get in, my men; get in!” But saying and doing were different things. The hole was filled by the faces of three sturdy young fellows, two fine-looking young women, and the pleasant old face of the eighty-year-old widow, surrounded with its white frilled cap in the background. There they all stood, shoulder to shoulder. It was evident from their set teeth and flashing eyes that they had not the slightest idea of giving way. ‘Get in, my men; get in, will you?” yelled the leader, but the cowardly jail-birds stood skulking, and not a man stirred. Croker, of Ballyanagarde, swore under his breath, and called upon the district inspectors
There was a second’s pause, then the constables grasped their rifles and sprang forward. Instantly all was babel. Several Englishmen present, carried away by their feelings, interposed between the tenants and the police, yelling at the top of their voices to make themselves heard above the clamor, and told the officer he must not do so. The first person to enter, must by law, be the bailiff, not the police. But it was too late. Jennings, in charge of the constabulary, called to his men to get in. The Royal Irish are not men who hesitate. Three of them leaped at the gap. The men and women inside fought like tigers to push them back. For a moment all was a confused scuffle and the excitement was at its intensest. I expected ever instant to see the flash of firearms from inside. When the constables were in, the crowbarmen entered in their wake. A formal protest was then made against the illegal entrance. The commanding officer and the divisional magistrate retired to consult. They were understood to admit the illegality, but this must, of course, be decided elsewhere. Croker, of Ballynagarde, came forward, exclaiming, “My people were beaten with sticks,” a statement which Father Glynn, a jolly young priest, met with the retort, “You’re a liar,” and appealed to all present to confirm him, which they did. The the women inside
I entered the house now and found a struggle beginning between the tenants and the sheriff. “I want you to move out,” said the latter, persuadingly. “We won’t move,” shouted the former. “Let them put you out; don’t stir,” yelled half a dozen voices through the opening. Davitt’s voice was audible above them all, exhorting the old lady in Irish, so as not to be understood, to lie down of the bed and force them to carry her out. The men seized here, and the sons sprang forward to protect their old mother. Once more all was dust and curses. The old lady conquered and retired breathless, but unevicted, into a corner, while the brave bailiff turned to the two daughters. There is perhaps no reason why I should not add that at this point of the proceedings I had
with one of the crowbarmen whom i saw strike Kate MacNamara with his fist on the breast, and who attempted to strike me when I stepped between them. Here Col. Turner showed the only signs of strong feeling during the day by sharply informing me: “If you obstruct my men, sir, I’ll have you put out of this home directly.” I apologized and explained. At last the end came. the tenants were hustled to the opening; Croker put his broad shoulders behind them, the crowbarmen piled themselves against them, and out they all went with a rush. There was a dramatic incident. No sooner was the plucky Kate MacNamara in the open air that she sprang upon the ruins of her home, beckoning for silence with her hand, and shouted slowly at the top of her voice: “Three cheers for the plan of campaign.” I have never heard such cheers in my life.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Saturday, June 4, 1887, page 1, column 7:

Telegrams to The Star.
Terrible Story of Rack Renting at Bodyke
How the Poor Peasants are Rack-Rented and Then Flung into the Highways.
Special Cable Dispatch to The Evening Star.
Bodyke, Ireland, June 4. – My flying visit to Bodyke enables me to send you the spirit of the situation at first hand. I have gone over the rent-roll of the estate, have talked with the tenants and priests, and have had an hour with Col. O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan has been screwing their last pence out of his tenants, confiscating their improvements, reducing their holdings, and at the same time raising their rents. Now he is over head and ears in debt to his agent, a big bully named Hasford, who insists on carrying out evictions as relentlessly and extensively as he likes. In one instance the rent was raised upon a widow’s holding at one step from £30 to £83, the poor law valuation being £39 and the rack-rent being reduced by the land courts from £83 to £48 10. This district is one containing
big, determined men, who literally worship Michael Davitt. If it were not for his orders to refrain from bloodshed till their own blood is shed, and for the strenuous efforts of the priests, a tremendous armed stand would be made. He himself has seen crowbars tear down cottages and has looked on while burly uniformed constables armed to the teeth lifted little half-naked children out of their demolished homes and placed them at their weeping mothers’ feet on the public highway. Yesterday I saw five constables and two fusileers stand
leveled for a quarter of an hour at the head of a man at a second story window because, in following Parnell’s original advice to “keep a firm grip on your homestead,” he had flung an empty bottle at the troops. I saw one of the jail birds of the crowbar brigade throw his heavy crowbar into a house full of children and suffer no penalty, while a man whose home it was was placed under arrest for throwing a handful of soft dirt back at the agent. These parishes are the home of Fenianism, and the people are not without arms, and if in the course of to-day’s evictions the troops should fire, as is far from impossible, I know from conversations I have overheard that bloody retaliation will follow. O’Callaghan will be a doomed man. Davitt has started a fund for the defense of the arrested and the support of the evicted ones. He appeals to Irishmen everywhere, and requests to receive subscriptions have been sent to a dozen leading English papers.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Friday, June 10, 1887, page 1, column 8:

Telegrams to The Star.
Eviction Resisted with Barricades, Scalding Water, and Clubs – Officers Badly Beaten
DUBLIN, June 10, – Evictions at Bodyke were resumed to-day, and there was a repetition of the exciting scenes which have attended numerous attempts to evict tenants. The sheriff and his body-guard were stubbornly resisted at the house of a tenant named O’Halloran. A hillside near the house was covered with an excited mob, who cheered the defenders of the premises, and urged them to hold out. O’Halloran and his party had dug a trench around the house and barricaded the lower rooms, while the upper portion of the house was occupied by ten men, including two who had returned from America, and some women. The bailiffs made an attack on the wall of the house with a crow-bar, but were
and fled. An Inspector of police, with a drawn sword, then mounted a ladder placed against the side of the house, but was beaten down. A constable, with a rifle and fixed bayonet, next mounted the ladder, but his head was battered by the defenders. Several gashes were inflicted upon him and he retired. Another constable also attempted to climb the ladder, but failed. A second ladder was then procured, and several
Mr. Cox essayed to climb up a ladder to speak to the inmates of the house, but the police prevented him from doing so. Finally a constable entered with a rifle and fixed bayonet, but the rifle was wrested from him and his safety was imperiled, when Father Hadden entered and secured a cessation of hostilities. The inmates were then arrested and the work of eviction was carried out.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Saturday, June 11, 1887, page 1, column 8:

Telegrams to The Star.
Struggling Desperately Against Eviction.
Terrible Resistance to Ejectment at Bodyke – Mercy Shown in the Case.
Dublin, June 11. – The evictions at Bodyke were further carried out to-day. The first house visited by the evicting force was that of Timothy Collins, but it was announced that a daughter of Collins’ lay dying inside, the work of eviction was abandoned. The evictors then proceeded to the house of Michael O’Callaghan, where they met with a terrible resistance. The bailiffs and police were deluged with scalding water and meal. Col. Turner, who was in charge of the evicting party, implored Father Harman, who was again in attendance, to endeavor to persuade the people to cease resistance and thus prevent bloodshed. Father Hannan then entered the house, and the inmates ceased their attack on the force, which entered and carried out the work of the eviction. Five women, who had been extremely violent in their attacks, were arrested.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Wednesday, June 15, 1887, page 3, column 8:

There were only two evictions at Bodyke yesterday, leaving four families to be evicted.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Saturday, June 18, 1887, page 5, column 4:

General Foreign News.
Dublin, June 18. – In the special court at Ennis to-day a girl, who was charged with throwing vitriol upon a bailiff while resisting eviction at Bodyke, was committed for trial.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Tuesday, July 5, 1887, page 6, column 2:

An Eviction at Bodyke.
Letter to the Pall Mall Gazette.
Then occurred the most pathetic scene yet witnessed in connection with Col. O’Callaghan’s crusade. There was a hush inside the cottage while a second room was being forced, and the wife was helped out while tears streamed down her face, and one by one eight children were passed up to the gap and lifted, wee things most of them, and one – the oldest – an imbecile girl of about twelve, screaming in terror as the constables took hold of her to help her over the heap of stones. It was a sight never to be forgotten, that of the stalwart men in her majesty’s uniform, armed to the teeth, taking these half-naked babies from their little home and laying them at their weeping mother’s feet, literally and positively in the dirt of the road. It was a scene that should be rehearsed over and over again to every Unionist in England, till there is not one of them left to glory in the recreant and tory cheers that veneer the dirty and accursed works he is rendering possible. Michael Macnamara, his wife and eight children had no supper last night, not even the price of enough Indian meal to make a stiraboat for them. There were a good many moist eyes on that green lane when Father Murphy cried these facts aloud in everybody’s hearing, telling Macnamara that he was well rid of his heartless and tyrannous landlord, for that now he was better off than ever he was before, promising him that he should not want again, and handing him a couple of sovereigns, one left by an English visitor and one from the purse of Michael Davitt.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Saturday, July 9, 1887, page 1, column 7:

Telegrams to The Star.
The Boys and Girls of Bodyke – Exciting Scenes Expected.
Special Cable Dispatch to The Evening Star.
London, July 9. – Subscriptions are coming in splendidly to the Bodyke evicted tenants fund. It has been decided that Mrs. Davitt shall visit Bodyke on July 20, when all the girls except one and all the boys will be out of prison. She will present each of the former with a small medal and necklace, with £25 and to the latter a silver watch with an equal sum, in recognition of their gallantry and patriotism. Other evictions in Ireland are coming on thick and fast. At Coolgreaney, in Wexford, seventy families are being evicted with great hardship. Five families were evicted at Woodford; then the evictions were abandoned, as it was seen that no money could be terrorized out of the tenants. Evictions on a colossal scale, about to begin at Michelstown, on the great estate of the countess of Kingston; 800 tenants here have joined the plan of campaign. Condon, M. P. for Tiperary, although detectives have tracked him night and day, has collected the rents of all these, the total of which is kept secret. During the past week, he told me last night, 6,000 acres of hay have been cut and carried off the estate from land marked first for eviction. Not a living thing is left except tenants. The people are determined to offer every resistance in their power, and exciting scenes may be expected of which I have already made arrangements to keep you specially informed.

The Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, edition of Thursday, August 11, 1887, page 1, column 7:

An Evicted Tenant Goes Mad.
Special Cable Dispatch to The Evening Star.
London, Aug. 11 – Mrs. MacNamara, one of the tenants evicted at Bodyke, has gone mad from the suffering and fright she experienced at the hands of O’Callaghan’s agents. Evictions are proceeding in several parts of Ireland, and several desperate fights between the police with bayonets and tenants with pitchforks have recently occurred.