1942 Fermanagh Herald – Local News.

21st February 1942. OBITUARY. MRS. THOMPSON, IRVINESTOWN. Amongst her numerous friends in Fermanagh and Tyrone the news of the death- of Mrs. Mary Thompson, Main Street, Irvinestown, has caused deep regret. Deceased was widow of Mr. Wm. Thompson, who predeceased her 23 years ago. Typical of genuine Irish womanhood—a good wife and mother and a kind and helpful neighbour—her admirable traits of character won for herself the highest esteem amongst all classes of the community. The sad end came on Tuesday, the 10th inst., after a short illness, during which she had the best medical attendance and tender nursing. Mrs. Thompson was deeply devout in the practice of her religious obligations and gave a shining example in this respect. During her illness she was frequently visited by the Rev. J. Trainor, P.P., and Rev. B. Lappin, C.C., and in her last moments Father Trainor was at her bedside. Fortified by the consoling rites of the Church, her death was a holy and a happy one. May her soul rest in peace.

There was a large and representative attendance at the funeral on Thursday the 12th inst., those present including the professional and commercial classes of a wide area. Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Church, Irvinestown, by the Rev. B. Lappin, after which Father Trainor, P.P. in the course of a touching panegyric, referred to the exemplary Christian qualities, of the deceased. Her whole life, he said, was in accord with Divine precept; for very many years she was a daily Communicant, and as well as attending daily Mass, paid visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the Church every evening. She was foremost in every local work connected with religious associations, and was a devout member of the Sacred Heart Sodality for years. By her death, the parish had lost a member of the Catholic flock which by word and deed had given an edifying example to all. On behalf of priests and people he sympathised with the members of deceased’s family, and exhorted the faithful of the parish to be mindful of her in their prayers.

Father Trainor, assisted by Father Lappin, officiated at the graveside.

The chief mourners were William and James (sons), Mrs. G. Thompson, Dromore (daughter-in-law}Joseph and James Eves, Edemey (brothers) ; Mrs. McElrone, Clonelly; Mrs. McCartney, Philadelphia (sisters); James McElrone, Clonelly (brother-in-law.); Mrs. O’Kane, Pettigo; Mrs. Jas. Eves, Irvinestown; Mrs. Jos. Eves, Edemey; Mrs. Patrick Thompson, Portstewart (sisters-in-law). Clergy present, were:—Very Rev. J. Trainor, P.P.; Rev. John Eves, Ederney; Rev. B. Lappin, C.C., Whitehill; Rev. H. O’Hanlon, C.C., Newtownbutler, Rev. E. Flanagan, C.C., Ederney; Rev. C. McCormack, C.C., Pettigo.

21st February 1942. PETTIGO NEWS. A popular wedding took place in St. Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran, the contracting parties being Mr. Bernard McGrath, Carn, Pettigo, and Miss Nan McHugh, Cloghore. Mr, W. M. McKenna, Slavin, a cousin of the bride, was best man, and Miss Maggie McHugh, Magheramena, Belleek, also a cousin of the bride, was bridesmaid. The ceremony with Nuptial Mass, was performed by Rev. C. Byrne, P.P.

The death took place at her residence “Gortnaree” Pettigo of Miss Isabella Brandon. Deceased was one of the most respected ladies in the district

A very successful whist drive was held in Pettigo Courthouse, on Sunday night week which was organised by Pettigo branch of the Legion of Mary. The prize winners were:—Mrs. J. P. Griffin. Pettigo, 1: Mrs. P. J. Toomey, Pettigo, 2; Miss Maisie Britton, ‘Fincashel’ 3; Mrs. B. Breslin, Pettigo, 4; Gents prize, Mr. Charles Friel, Customs officer. After distributing of the prizes, Rev. P. McCormack, C.C., spiritual director, thanked all who attended.

The marriage took place in St. Brigid’s (sic) St. Joseph’s) Church, Belleek, of Mr. Michael Monaghan, Tamar, Pettigo, and Miss Annie Donnelly, Belalt, Pettigo. Mr. Peter Monaghan, brother of the bridegroom, was best man, and Miss Lizzie Monaghan, sister of the bridegroom, was bridesmaid. The ceremony, with Nuptial Mass, was performed by Rev. Father MacCloskey, C.C., Belleek.

Pettigo customs officials recently seized a quantity of butter, sugar and other articles from persons who were attempting to export them to the six-counties.

 

The death took place in Donegal Hospital, after a lingering illness, of Mr, Hugh McGee. Deceased who was only 25 years of age, leaves a sorrowing father and brothers.

A very-enjoyable dance was held in Letter Hall on Wednesday night of last week. The proceeds wore in aid of the local Band. The music was supplied by the Kentucky Trio Dance Band. Mr. Wm. H. Marshall, Skea, was M.C.

 

A pretty wedding took place in St. Mary’s Parish Church., Pettigo, the contracting parties being Mr. Frank Monaghan. Brookhill, Pettigo, and Miss Evylin McGrath, Carntressy, Pettigo. Mr. Michael. McGrath, brother of the bride, was best man, and Miss Tessie McGrath was bridesmaid. The ceremony, with Nuptial Mass, was performed by Rev P. McCormick, C.C., Pettigo.

21st February 1942. KINLOUGH MAN’S EXPERIENCE. A DAY IN BUNDORAN. At Ballyshannon District Court, Brian McGowan, Kinlough, was charged with being drunk on 27th December and with unlawfully damaging a car. Supt. T. Noonan, prosecuted and Mr. E. P. Condon defended.

Evidence was given that a man from Tullaghan left his motor van on the street in Bundoran. As he was not capable of driving the van that night, the Sergeant took away the ignition key and the man stayed in Bundoran. The van was left on the street all night. On that day Brian McGowan came into Bundoran with a load of potatoes in a donkey cart. He sold the potatoes, and some hours later converted the donkey and cart into cash. He got “gloriously’’ drunk and fell asleep somewhere in the vicinity of the East End. Some boys playing a prank took off his boots and put him in the van. When McGowan awoke he thought he was imprisoned in the van, and not knowing anything of the mechanism of a car—never being in a car in his life—he did not know how to get out. He lifted the starting handle ‘ of the car and smashed the windows. Then he found he could open the van at the back and succeeded in getting out that way. He could not find one of his boots and went home in his bare feet. The defendant, it was stated, paid £2 19s 6d compensation to the owner of the car. Justice O‘Hanrahan remarking that the defendant had paid dearly for his day applied the Probation, Act.

 

21st February 1942. BLACKLION DISTRICT NEWS. The death has occurred in England of Miss Kathleen Murray, formerly of Roo, Blacklion.

There was an equipment inspection on Wednesday and Thursday, nights at meetings of the local Security Force in Barran and Blacklion.

Mrs. Chas. Dolan presided at a meeting of the local Red Cross Branch in Blacklion on Friday evening. Arrangements were in progress for first-aid lectures.

The death of Miss Rose Quinn, which took place at her residence, Dernaseer, Blacklion, at an advanced age, has caused deep regret. Deceased belonged to an old and esteemed family. . The funeral was largely attended. Rev. Francis Shiels officiated in the church and at the graveside.

New concrete streets are replacing the old pavements in Blacklion. The work is a relief scheme in charge of the County Council.

 

21st February 1942. MR. DE VALERA IN CAVAN. PROFITEERING CONDEMNED. Speaking at a Fianna Fail Convention in Cavan on Sunday, Mr. de Valera said —The Fianna Fail Organisation being responsible for the election of the present Government had a special duty to be in the forefront of every national endeavour —in building up the defence forces, and in the production of food and fuel. He recalled that it had been founded as a national organisation, and said he thought it would be admitted that their main political objective had been achieved as far as the 26 Counties were concerned.

“We are a completely sovereign State, but, unfortunately, a portion of our country has been cut off, and until it is reunited to the rest no Nationalist can say that the national objective has been achieved. I think the whole nation is united in that, because the other major party and the Labour Party also agreed.’’ There were those who said that this, that and the other thing would happen when war came, but nothing took place which would not have happened to a completely sovereign State.

In making an appeal for good citizenship in the matter of reporting profiteering to the authorities, Mr. de Valera said he knew that people did not like to report their neighbours, but they must make up their minds to report profiteering. If your neighbour is a decent fellow you should act decently by him, but if your neighbour is profiteering on the community he is not a decent fellow and he does not deserve decent treatment.

One of the things we want most is the assistance of each individual in the community. We can’t have a policeman in every house or an inspector on every doorstep. Already there are far more inspectors than we would like to have. If we want to diminish the number of police or inspectors the quickest and best way is for each individual citizen to be an inspector for the community.

We should see that if there are people who are not decent in the neighbourhood they will not get away with making wealth at the expense of the poor, for that is what it often is.

“NO LEADER BUT DE VALERA.” Rev. T. Maguire, P. P., Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh, said, that they across the Border placed their full trust and confidence in the Government in Dublin for their deliverance. They had no leader but Mr. de Valera. The resolutions passed included one asking the Government to use all necessary compulsion short of conscription to ensure that all available young men would be brought into the Defence Forces.

21st February 1942. EXPORTING CHARGE. TWO LEITRIM MEN FINED AT BELLEEK. At Belleek Petty Sessions before Major Dickie, R. M., Bernard Brady and Francis Ferguson, both of Townalick, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, were charged on remand with being knowingly concerned in the illegal, exportation of 90 21b. loaves, 1 cwt carbide, 61bs. cocoa and l lb. tea at Garrison on January 3 and were each fined £10 and £2 2s costs.

 

21st February 1942. £40 FINE TO REMAIN. NEWTOWNBUTLER MAN S APPEAL. COAL INTENDED FOR EXPORT. A farmer whose house is said to be situated on the very border, appealed at Enniskillen Quarter Sessions against a fine of £40 imposed on him at Newtownbutler Petty Sessions for having, as alleged, harboured 16½ tons of coal which was intended for export to the 26-Counties. In addition to the fine the Resident Magistrate had ordered the confiscation of the coal.

The appellant was William Coffey, Clonmacken, Newtownbutler, and he was represented by Mr. J. B. Murphy, solicitor. After a re-hearing of the evidence (already published in this newspaper) Deputy Judge Ellison, K. C., said that taking appellant’s circumstances into consideration (it had been stated his farm was 26 acres in extent) and the close proximity of his place to the border, he was constrained to take the view that appellant had the coal for an improper purpose. Accordingly he (the Judge), affirmed (the lower court ruling.

Mr. Murphy asked his Honour to consider the amount of the penalty. The forfeiture of the coal was in itself a loss of £64 and this with the £40 fine made the total penalty £104. Did his Honour not consider that justice could be met by the imposition of a smaller penalty. When the fine was imposed, said Mr. Murphy, he R.M. had in his mind decided that the penalty must be such as would deter other people from attempting to export coal. The loss of 16½ tons of coal alone would be a tremendous and sufficient deterrent in a case of the sort, he submitted. He suggested that, a £104 penalty on a 20-acre farmer was really too large in a case of the sort even though, the R.M. wanted, and very properly so, to make an example of him. The loss of 16½ tons of coal to appellant was appalling.

Mr .J. Cooper, D.L., Crown Solicitor, who represented the Customs Authorities, “very strongly” opposed the application for a reduced fine. He suggested that the coal never at any time belonged to appellant but to a Clones resident. People who did this sort of thing took the risk with their eyes open. At the present time, he understood tea was being sold for 16s a pound in Eire and coal was a very high price there too. His Honour had another case in which the appellant had been fined £40. People who got away with fines were prepared to carry on the racket owing to the high profits realised. It was nothing to some of them to lose now and again.

Mr. Murphy said he was able to inform Mr. Cooper that if he went through the town of Clones he would not find a single ton of British coal. In the other case referred to the appellant had a farm of nearly one hundred acres, he did not lose the coal, and he was fined £20. He (Mr. Murphy) thought it no harm, to tell his Honour that in Co. Tyrone, the Judge was rather more lenient and he (the solicitor) thought all the penalties should of a certain sameness.

Mr. Cooper—He could have been fined £500 under -the Act.

His Honour said he could not think that a 26-acre farmer was doing this transaction on his own. It seemed as if he was a catspaw for somebody else and he (the Judge) supposed that somebody else would pay for it. Consequently he could not see his way to grant the reduction asked for.

 

28th February 1942. AMERICAN TOOLS STOLEN. TWO TYRONE MEN RECEIVE JAIL SENTENCE. Magistrate’s Strong Comments at Kesh.

Kesh Courthouse on Tuesday resembled a hardware shop, when a large number of tools were exhibited in a larceny case. The defendants were James E. Maguire, Fivemiletown, and Michael McGinn, Ballynagowan, Clogher, charged with, the larceny of tools from a camp where they were employed on work of national importance. Mr. Smith, for the defendants, entered a plea of guilty. District Inspector Walshe referred in strong terms to the extensive larceny of tools at the camp. The tools had been brought from overseas for use on work of national importance. Sailors’ lives had been risked in bringing them over—and in some cases lives had been lost. He referred to the difficulty of getting replacements, and said that defendants had been employed at good wages and took advantage of their position to steal the tools given them to work with. It amounted to sabotage. Mr. Smith said that as he had entered a plea of guilty he thought it was unnecessary for the District Inspector to go into details,. He said Maguire was a married man with two, children aged 10 and 8½ years. He made a strong appeal for leniency in these cases.

Major Dickie, R. M. said he had been issuing stern warnings in these cases and he had his mind made up. It was .shocking treatment for these people coming to help them. His Worship sentenced each defendant to three months’ imprisonment and to one of the camp officers commented: “I am sorry to apologise for the conduct of my fellow-countrymen.”

 

28th February 1942. PETTIGO NOTES.  The death took .place in Enniskillen Hospital on Friday of Mrs. J. McClelland, Glenagarn, Pettigo. Deceased who was in the prime of life, leaves a husband and four children. The funeral to Tubrid cemetery was one of the largest ever seen in the district. The chief mourners were J. McClelland (husband); John, Edward, James and Robert McClelland (sons). The Rev. J. G. Sandford (rector),  officiated  at the graveside.

On Monday night an enjoyable dance was held in St. Patrick’s Hall, Lettercran proceeds being, in aid of repairs. The music was supplied by Mr. Wm. Baird and Mr. James McGrath, Mr. B. Cunningham being M.C.

Pettigo monthly fair on Friday was one of the briskest held in the village for three years. Prices for good quality animals were enticing. Springing cows and heifers, £20 10s 0d to £35 each; three year old heifers £19 to £21 each; two year olds, £14 to £15 10s 0d; small calves from £4 to £7 10s 0d; young pigs 35/- each.

28th February 1942. NOVELTY FOR FERMANAGH. As will be seen in our advertisement columns a silage mowing film is to be shown in Brookeborough Courthouse on Tuesday night of next week. This film has been made in the Six Counties and includes County Fermanagh farmers making silage. This should be interesting to all farmers as in addition to being the first appearance of this film in the county, silage making is the all-important operation on the farm, in a county with abundance of grass, wet climate and where, milk provides the largest proportion of the farmer’s income, .

 

BLACKLION DISTRICT NEWS. At a bull show for premiums at Brockagh, only two animals were exhibited.

There was a large attendance at a concert on Sunday night under the auspices of the Blacklion G.F.C. A report will appear in our next issue.

Most of the officers and committee were present at a Red Cross branch meeting in Blacklion on Friday evening. A number of members were enrolled.

Despite the difficulty of procuring building material, two new houses have been erected in the district, one for Mr. John McGinley, Belcoo, and the other for Mr. J. Armstrong, Blacklion.

During, the week Messrs. O’Connor and O’Keeffe attended at four centres in the district and distributed tons of seed oats and potatoes to farmers. The prices are 14/- per cwt. for oats, and 4/- per cwt. for potatoes.

There is at present a great demand for horses in the district. Some prices paid by buyers range from £30 to £45, and one animal, the property of Mr. J. McGovern, Loughan, was purchased at £66.

There was a large supply of cattle at Blacklion fair on Monday. Prices were in excess of the quotations of the previous fair, and many sales were effected.

The death of Mr. Patk, McGoldrick, merchant, which took place at his residence, Bealbally, Glangevlin, has caused deep regret over a wide area. Deceased, a prosperous young business man, was very popular in the district. He was a son of the late Mr. Patk. McGoldrick, who was a member of the old District Council and a member of the old Enniskillen Board of Guardians for many years. Deep sympathy is extended to deceased’s young wife, family, brother and sisters, The funeral to St. Patrick’s, Glangevlin, on Wednesday, was the largest seen in the district for many years. Rev. J. McCabe, P.P., who celebrated Requiem Mass, officiated at the graveside.

 

28th February 1942. ROOSTER FOR THE AIR FORCE. IRVINESTOWN MAN IN KESH CASE. Thomas Curley, Irvinestown, was charged at Kesh Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, before Major Dickie, R.M., that being a collector of eggs he obtained eggs from a person other than a producer registered with him for that purpose. He was also charged with obtaining the eggs at a price other than that permitted.

District Inspector Walshe, said that defendant was a licensed collector of eggs and had done wrong to purchase eggs from persons residing in the 26-Counties.

Defendant said that he had obtained the eggs for members of .the King’s forces who were going to England to see their wives.

His Worship — You must not do it.

Defendant—I would not have done it had I known it was any offence. I had them for the troops. 1 came to a very big loss at the same time.

The District Inspector said that defendant had 112 eggs, 8 lbs creamery butter, 11 lbs sugar, 55 hens, three geese, one duck, one rooster, and lost the whole lot.

Defendant said he thought he was doing a good turn purchasing the eggs at a cheaper rate than in the Six Counties.

His Worship—What would an air force man be wanting with a rooster? (laughter).

A fine of 20s was imposed on each summons.

 

DANCING CLASS IN COLLEGIATE SCHOOL. At the January meeting of the County Fermanagh Regional Education Committee Mr. C. McKeown complained of the admission of unauthorised persons to a dancing class held in the Enniskillen Collegiate School. By way of explanation the following letter was received from the Headmistress (Mrs. M. C. Smith M.A.) at the Committee’s monthly meeting on Friday. “In reply to your letter Miss Dobbin did carry on a dancing class at the School under the following circumstances. She was running a class for adults, chiefly former pupils of the School in the Minor Town Hall, but it was so much occupied that she found herself without a room and so asked me if she could carry on here. I have absolute confidence in Miss Dobbin and know that she would not abuse the privilege. It is naturally, important that her classes should pay as travelling from Dublin is expensive. It is to our School’s interest that they should pay otherwise we should lose Miss Dobbin’s services. The class, which was never advertised is not now functioning nor has it done so this term. The class was attended during last term by one or two people from Portora and one or two officers who came for a few lessons. I hope no objection can be taken to this under present circumstances. Miss Catt (proprietor) made herself responsible for the lighting and I have not sent in the bill for this and I shall have to find out the cost.” The explanation was accepted.

 

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Ballyshannon Herald. Famine 1848-1850.

1848/49/50. Ballyshannon Herald.
 
January 28th: Report and accounts of the Ballyshannon Destitute Sick Society and the minutes of the Ballyshannon Poor Law Union are printed. On January 22nd there were 550 in the Workhouse plus 150 in the additional Workhouse. There were 50 in the fever shed and 181 had been admitted during the week and 760 discharged. The huge discharged figure included those sent to outdoor labour and those who died. The people on outdoor relief were paid five pence to eight pence each per day, depending upon size of family. The paper this week also carried an advertisement for a dispensary doctor for Pettigo with the offer of a salary of £60 p.a.
 
February 4th: noted the comments of Mr. Allingham, one of the P.L.U. Guardians, who said that it was frightful to see the overwhelming number of applications for relief. At the rate matters were going the Guardians, ratepayers and all would soon be paupers.
 
February 11th carried a report on the Ballyshannon Temporary Fever Hospital for the week ending the previous Saturday. In the hospital were nineteen patients, nine had come in during the week, three had been discharged cured and one had died. Since the previous August 11th when this fever hospital had been set up 157 had been admitted and eleven people had died. (The settling of up this hospital was the work of Dr. Shiel the local Dispensary Doctor and was the forerunner of the Shiel Hospital in Ballyshannon, now a Nursing Home).
 
April 7th:- John Smith was elected dispensary doctor in Pettigo from Monday 28th March. Hundreds had crowded into the town to congratulate him and a celebratory meeting had been held in Hazlett Hamilton’s Hotel, (until recently the Cosy Bar, Pettigo).
 
May 11th carried news of a Repeal Meeting in Ballyshannon in Brown’s Hotel at which very few turned up. A Mister H (the paper’s description) was the only man of property to turn up. No one could be persuaded to take the chair; so a Mr. Crumlish, a tinsmith, (i.e. a gipsy as he would have been known at the time), was carried in from the street to be chairman. The meeting passed over peacefully.
 
1848. May 26th reported that all crops were looking very good and praised the excellent new potatoes from Mr. J. Tredennick of Camlin near Ballyshannon. There is nothing of local note reported in the paper all through the summer and the earlier hopes have gone badly astray as recorded on September 15th. The potatoes are not as bad as the blackened state of the stalks in the field suggest. The rot has got much worse in the past ten days than in months before. Perhaps half can be saved. The Harvest Fair in Ballyshannon was badly disturbed. There were many beatings and there was very little money circulating. All other crops are doing well.
 
The rest of the year passes with no comment on local conditions, although these were certainly bad. The last item of interest in 1848 was fortuitously noted ten minutes before the Library closed for the evening and ended at least a ten year search for concrete data about a tragedy which occurred near Lettercran about 5 miles from Pettigo, lying between Pettigo and Castlederg. It brightened the end of a long day. This is how the newspaper reported the matter on December 8th:
 
“On Friday last, James McGrath of Scraghy mountain had gone to Pettigo with his daughter of fifteen and boy of twelve. Their father had to stay in Pettigo for the night and the children went home on their own across the mountain. A storm came on and the children died of exposure. The boy had his shoes and socks off, possibly to walk more quickly. The children were found the next day with the girl’s heavy flannel petticoat wrapped around the boy’s feet and the girl lying with her arm around the boy’s head. It seemed that the boy was overpowered first and the girl was trying to preserve him at the risk of her own life.”
 
This tragic story survives in the folklore of the Pettigo area, but not quite in the form which the newspaper has the story. Basically the local version goes that the girl, Peggy McGrath was 17 years old and had a boyfriend that the father strongly disapproved of and had forbidden her absolutely to see him or go near his house. One lady’s account published in the Irish Independent May 22nd 1968, has it that the young pair had run away and been brought back. The local story has it that the father and children were in “Gearg Fair,” i.e., Castlederg Fair and that the children in coming home would have had to pass the house of the boyfriend or go across the mountain home and unfortunately took the mountain route. A blizzard arose and they perished and the same local details remain of the girl trying to save her little brother. The above account was (from a Mrs. Rose Haughey, Meenclougher who lived be to be 106 and died April 12th, 1936) printed in the Irish Independent has it that they perished not far from the house of an old, feeble woman who heard their cries as they grew fainter through the night, but who could not help because of her infirmity. Anyhow the unfortunate children are buried in Lettercran Chapel graveyard in a unmarked grave. But the local people can still point out a little grassy hollow in the townland of Carrigaholten, Co. Tyrone, on a heathery hillside where the children died. The strength of detail of this story is remarkable and it has had powerful reinforcement in that a school textbook carried the story under the title “The Tragedy of Termon Mount” — the Termon River flows nearby. Older people remember this story in their school textbooks.
 
1849. Ballyshannon Herald.
 
The scarcity of local news in the Ballyshannon Herald continues into 1849. The death of Colonel Conolly is reported at length in the issue of January 12th and his passing is much regretted. (Indeed he seems to have been a man who did as much as he could to alleviate famine conditions in his area).
 
February 16th tells of a boy caught in the machinery of a Belleek mill and killed instantly and February 22nd has the story of Owen Scullen arrested for stealing two pigs from his employer, Colonel Barton, and trying to sell them in Donegal Fair. March 9th has a brief report that seven were drowned in a fishing boat accident at Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo.
 
April 6th carries the story of the shooting of a boy of sixteen, James Tunney, who was shortly to go to America. With his brother he had gone to céili at the house of William Lynch at Shawnagh, near Laghey. He had stayed on when his brother went home and the paper said that he might have been murdered for his American money. Two Barclays were arrested and the possibility of a Ribbon conspiracy was also mentioned. The next issue of the journal corrected some of its earlier reporting and said that it was the wrong person who was shot. It was the other brother who was going to America and he had been the intended victim of the shooting. The shooting was the result of a row which the Tunneys had won. The boy’s father had awakened in the middle of the night with a vision of his son being killed by the Barclays and a man called McGlinchey standing by. These were later tried and found not guilty as reported in the July 27th issue.
 
Agrarian discontent is reported from the Pettigo area on May 11th. On May 3rd fifteen men carrying pistols and staves arrived at the house of Patrick McCaffrey at Crocknacunny near Pettigo at 10p.m. They fired three shots, one of which wounded McCaffrey and then beat him and his wife up for taking this farm “over another man’s head”. Molly Maguire, he was told, would not allow this crime to go unpunished and if he did not give up the farm they would be back. The intruders said that they had marched from Innishowen and they fired shots over the house before leaving. Patrick and Peter Conaghan and Owen Gallagher, a former tenant of the farm, were tried for this affray and Gallagher was transported for life.
 
May 25th:- Seven people were drowned at Rossnowlagh on Monday last, 21st. These were the four sons of James Tumoney of Drumlongfield and a farm servant, O’Donnell, and two girls, Madden and McGarrigle. They had gone to collect seaweed and dulse and the girls had been met along the way and had gone along for the fun. The boat had been too heavily laden and it sank only fifty yards out, due to inexperience.
 
1849. June 1st and the grim reality of the Famine bursts into the paper again, seemingly despite all the best efforts to keep it out: “The poor in this locality are in the most wretched state of starvation we ever remember them. They have no employment and therefore no
means of procuring food which is plentiful and cheap — but what is that to them when they cannot procure a penny? In the year of the blight they had public relief extended to them. Now there is no such thing. They are more like skeletons than living beings. A man last week carried a creel of turf from the Loughside, seven miles (near Garrison to Ballyshannon) for one penny and said that he had not eaten for forty-eight hours. There are innumerable petty thefts especially fowl of all descriptions and even beehives. There are signs of blight”
 
Apart from this unaccustomed outburst of local news there are only four worthwhile notes for the rest of the year. August 10th notes a huge fire in Ballyshannon which began in a barn loft of J. Bonner, a tanner. It began on Sunday last at two o’clock in the afternoon and despite the best exertions nine dwelling houses were burned down. August 31st carries a note of a local visit paid by a famous son of Ballyshannon, Sir Robert Campbell, a director of the East India Company. Sadly we only can use our imagination as the paper records Folliott Barton reducing his rents 25% (Nov. 16th) and Mr. Conolly reducing his rents 25% also (Dec. 14th). as these are the only visible signs of the condition of the locality.
1850. Ballyshannon Herald.
 
The meagre diet of local news carried on yet again in 1850. February 15th reports a violent storm recently which destroyed many beautiful trees at Magheramena and Castle Caldwell. There is scarce any spring work done.
 
March 29th:- Ballyshannon Quay and the whole shoreline is bustling with people buying and harvesting seaweed. Thousand of people here and in surrounding areas use seaweed as a fertilizer. October 11th gives the Poor House Returns for Ballyshannon. Last week there were 272 inmates; four were admitted last week, six discharged, and one died. Total: 297 and of this three were in the fever hospital and 26 in the Workhouse hospital.
 
October 25th gives an account of a partial re-run of the Tunney v. Barclay conflict. Denis Tunney was again going to America and he was in Donegal Town buying sea-stores. He got into a fracas in a pub with about thirty or forty of the Barclay connection. (Tunney seemed to start the row). Patrick Barclay wanted revenge on one of “Tunney’s Pets”. Barclay got four months in jail.
 
Thus ends the combing of the Ballyshannon Herald for the “Famine Years” 1845—1850 — maddeningly obscure or ignorant in many things but throwing very interesting sidelights on the manners, customs and general society of these troubled years. Not a journal to record the affairs of the poor or needy of the time — but then they could not afford the price of the paper.
 
Revised John B. Cunningham 7-5-2007.