Repeal Riots Enniskillen 1843.

The Repeal Association was an Irish mass membership political movement set up by Daniel O’Connell in 1830 to campaign for a repeal of the Act of Union of 1800 between Great Britain and Ireland. The Association’s aim was to revert Ireland to the constitutional position briefly achieved by Henry Grattan and his patriots in the 1780s, but this time with a full Catholic involvement that was now possible following the Act of Emancipation in 1829, supported by the electorate approved under the Reform Act of 1832. On its failure by the late 1840s the Young Ireland movement developed.

May 18th 1843.REPEAL RIOTS IN ENNISKILLEN.  When the doughty leader of the agitation would not venture his carcass among us to give his respectable followers here the opportunity of kicking up a Repeal row, they must contrive to get up one themselves.  Friday night last a young man of the town in passing home through the streets was attacked at the Market house and well beaten for having been an anti-repealer.  Later as it was (near 11) it was likely to lead to serious consequences as a number of both sides got into the streets in a short time and attacked each other.  Dr. Frith, J.P. was called out of bed and after some difficulty with the assistance of Captain Henderson and the police succeeded in restoring peace.  Next evening, Saturday, the streets began to be thronged at an early hour and about nine a desperate row commenced; from one bridge to the other there was a general attack; sticks and stones were in ample demand and used with no very sparing hands.  In Schoolhouse lane a woman opened her top window and with the strong arm of her Repeal rage sent some three or four pounds weight of a smoothing iron in amongst a Repealing body of Conservatives in the hope of repealing the Union of the parietal-bones of some of their unfortunate skulls. (The parietal bones are two bones in the human skull which, when joined together, form the sides and roof of the cranium. Each bone is roughly quadrilateral in form, and has two surfaces, four borders, and four angles. It is named from the Latin paries meaning a, wall.) Dr. Frith and of the police were likewise on this evening actively employed in endeavouring to suppress this riot which after a considerable time the evinced taking some of the chief of both sides into custody.  Had things gone on a little further this evening it would have been serious enough to call out the military and to such a height it would most surely have arisen but for the very judicious manner in which both Dr. Frith and the Captain Henderson managed them.  On Sunday evening there where apprehensions of the vagabonds of the back streets attempting a renewal of the affray and it was most confidently expected a sally would have been made on the Conservatives but active vigilance and a there dread of the military restrained a movement on either side.  In the first commencement we are not going to say that blame is not in some degree to be attached to both sides.  The young man, it appears, was under the influence of liquor and a gang of designing blackguards with which this town is infested took advantage to cry out for Repeal which was foolishly answered by the other with a counter cry when he was immediately attacked.  The motley and ragged groups of Repeal scamps had evidently determined to try their strength with the Conservatives but from the convincing arguments which was administered to them they felt their noodles just as safe by keeping quiet.  We shall not be surprised to find Mr. O’Connell one of these days proposing a vote of thanks to the ragged Repealers of Enniskillen as a reward for their services as in the case of priest McGuinness in Clones.  In a gratuitous attack there is no blame to the Conservatives to defend themselves but too they should avoid every occasion of aggression.

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