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                                   Fenian 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 (fowling pieces).

 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 the area.

 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, Effin

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 court subsequently.

 (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:  (Padraig O Gealagain)


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