Uprising - Ardagh, Co, Limerick
The evening of Shrove Tuesday, 5 March 1867, was the planned
time for the Fenian Rising in Ireland.
In Ardagh, William Upton, who lived only a few doors from the
R.I.C. barracks (manned by five men) seems to have been the leader of the local
Fenian Centre. A carpenter by
trade, it was he who fixed the wooden handles to the iron pike-heads - likely
made by one of the Quinlivan's who were blacksmiths by trade - and distributed
them to the men according as they arrived.
This was done in Cosgrove's cabin.
Having about twenty-four pikes and no guns, some of the men
scoured the neighboring countryside and managed to acquire about 8 - 9 shotguns
Finally the group, about forty men in all, who had assembled
at Cosgrove's were directed to a place called Massy's Grove, where an officer
named Captain John Murray, assembled them into line, shotguns in front, pikemen
behind, and outlined his plans for the attack.
They then marched to the barracks, the time being close to midnight.
Earlier that day a "tipsy" man had told one of the
local constables of the planned attack, and so the Sergeant just armed his men,
bolted the only door, and shuttered the barred windows.
A sledge hammer and a ladder were used with a cartwheel as a
battering ram to break in the door when the police refused to surrender. On
rushing in the police opened fire and Stephen Ambrose was wounded in the arm -
this caused the attackers to withdraw, and though Ambrose urged them to press
the attack, the majority felt they could not succeed and dispersed, still firing
at the barracks.
The next morning, several pikes, a scythe and a pitch fork
were found by the police outside the barracks.
Many of the men went home and were arrested within the next
few days. Captain Murray was arrested at Adare. Others escaped arrest, including
William Upton, who went into to hiding west of Ardagh and eventually made it to
America - he returned home some years later and wrote a book describing the
terrible poverty of the land - less people and the impoverished small farmers of
Listed in the brief on behalf of the Crown, prepared by
William Roche, Solicitor, the following were arrested and charged:
Pat Collins, 27
Michael Connell, 21
Joseph Connors, Kilscannell, 27
Patrick Murphy, Ardagh, 40
John Conway, Rathreagh, 22
Capt. John Murray, 33
Cornelius Cremin, 27, Garrynacoona,
William Nash, 18
William Naughton, Reens, 21
William Duggan, 19
Joseph Kennedy, 31
Michael Liston, 19, Coolybrown
Daniel Quinlivan, 20, Ardagh
John Magner, 22, Cahermoyle
John Reidy, 18
James Sheahan, 18
George Massy, 40, Ardagh.
Patrick Ward, 17, Ardagh.
James Mahoney, 18
James Moloney, 18
James Moore, 18
William Danaher, 28
John O'Brien, 50
John Quin, 18
Among those who took part in the attack but who succeeded in
avoiding arrest were Robert and Stephen Ambrose of Dunganville, Con Enright of
Ballyrobin, John Shaughnessy of Ballincally, Michael Neville of Reens, John
Connors of Kilscannell, James Hennessy of Glenville, and Tom Bridgeman.
Those who were arrested were brought before a Special
Commission which commenced by adjournment on the 11th. June 1867.
But after the Kilmallock and Kilteely trials, the Ardagh prisoners were
remanded to the Assizes - no record has been found of their appearance in any
(Source: Edward Keane, Nth. Munster Antiquarian Journal, 1967.p.p 169-172) Edward Keane
It might also be of interest to you that in Ardagh
graveyard, there is stone inscribed to Joseph Magner (d. May 21, 1944); his wife
Mary (Nee?), (died June 12, 1936, and to their daughter Mary Catherine Cahill,
who died May 2, 1978.
In the 1901 Census, James Doody, Rerasta N. (Ardagh) is
listed as Postmaster, Grocer and Provisioner.
His daughter Mary Doody (23) is listed as Postal Clerk to her father.
Mary married Joseph (Joe) Magner, one of the "Scotch' Magners from
Cahermoyle. In 1891 Joe was farm
manager to Edward O'Brien at Cahermoyle, who had bought the nucleus of a dairy
herd to supply milk to the proposed new creamery at Ardagh.
Heavy canvassing of the local dairy farmers for support of the proposed
creamery was done by Edward O'Brien and Fr. Robert (Bob) Ambrose (the erstwhile
Fenian of 1867, who had escaped to France, became a priest and returned to
Ardagh in the 1880's to be a curate in the parish, and P.P. of Glenroe in 1904
where he died in 1926. - his brother Stephen made it to the States).
Joseph Magner (Joe) became manager of the Ardagh creamery in about 1910, a post
he held until 1930.
Kindly submitted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Padraig O Gealagain)