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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

1798 Rebellion

Kilcumney Massacre

Source: '98 in Carlow by Peadar Mac Suibhne

Kilcumney Massacre

General Thomas Cloney describes the massacre which took place after the battle of Kilcumney. Much of what he writes applies to the parish of Borris. For the convenience of readers we transpose the entire passage from Bro. Luke's narrative:

"Whether humanity or a less noble motive actuated Sir Charles Asgill, it is certain that he adopted great caution in coming to close quarters with the retreating insurgents, who kept a party of good sharp-shooters to cover their retreat; these had caused many officers and men to fall earlier in the engagement. But Sir Charles reserved his troops for an easier victory. Men, women and children were this day 26 June, butchered in cold blood…. They were all slaughtered without mercy. Some of the troops were ordered to the houses of the farmers.....the several houses they had robbed before they took their leave they burned to ashes.

They killed at Kilcumney Thomas Myron and his two sons and burned their house. They murdered Andrew MacKesy and his son, burned their house and left two children both deaf and dumb without a protector. They murdered James and Edward Tuite, two brothers, one of whom was already on the poor of death and burned their house. They murdered James and John Walsh, two brothers and eleven others near Scollagh Gap and murdered others in flying from their cabins; many of these afterwards died. At Ballinasillogue they murdered eighteen of the inhabitants and of these were five brothers named Neill all living in the same house with a widow, their mother and two female children. There were two carpenters in Neills' house and two neighbours who had just walked in, and these were also murdered.

They murdered also in this townland Peter Kinchela who at the time was surrounded by seven small children crying in vain for mercy. They also murdered Darby Ryan who was discovered under a turf kish. Michael Laffan and his daughter were shot dead and his wife received a shot that broke one of her thigh-bones. Five of his neighbours were shot in his house and the house set fire to over the dead bodies.

In Coshill near this place, there were five men murdered, to Lacken, the next townsland there were seven men murdered among whom were Edmund Joyce and his sons—David, Thomas and Andrew, leaving several young children orphans. At Spahill Phelim Doyle and Patrick Doran both aged about eighty years were murdered on the same floor. In the same place Patrick Fitzpatrick and his wife Margaret fell dead in each others' arms: the same bullets ended their lives. The house of this ill-fate couple was set fire to over the heads of their five children and the innocent creatures ran into a neighbour's house who had escaped by hiding himself, crying "My Daddy is killed; my Mammy is killed, and the pigs are drinking their blood.”

About one hundred and forty persons were slaughtered, leaving perhaps four or five hundred unprotected orphans.

Divisions of the Downshire and Wicklow Militias, different corps of Queens Co. yeomanry and Leighlinbridge yeomanry disdistinguished themselves in carrying out this bloody massacre. The insurgents were on their way to Scollagh Gap while this butchery was taking place. A body of the Kings Cavalry were hanging on their rear, but kept at a respectful distance."

Fr. Martin Brophy P.P. Ballinakill who died 13 Sept. 1955 preserved the following tradition:

After the Kilcumney massacre, a band of tinkers were passing and saw one of the Tuite children of Kilcloney crying piteously. They took him away with them and reared him. When he was sufficiently old they brought him back. He went to school, entered college and became a priest in U.S.A. Fr. Brophy gave other particulars which have been mislaid. He added that the itinerants were very good people. Many of them came of noble stock; nobody should interfere with them but should help them.

Fr. Murphy's journey from Kilcumney to Rathgeeran and his visit to Murphys of the Bawnogue are described by Fr. McDonnell PP at p. 66. Other parishioners of Borris who were killed after Kilcumney are referred to by Bro. Luke at p. 34. in '98 in Carlow by Peadar Mac Suibhne.

Source: '98 in Carlow by Peadar Mac Suibhne

Kilcumney '98

Its Origins, Aftermath and Legacy

Mick Kinsella, Edward N. Moran, and Conor Murphy One of the better books to appear in the bicentennial year of the 1798 rebellion, is the publication by the Kilcumney's '98 Commeration Committee which was launched at a reception in Borris on the 16 June last.

Like Caesar's Gaul, the book is divided into three parts, each by a different author and each dealing with a different aspect of the events leading up to and after the 26 June, 1798. Conor Murphy traces the rise of the United Irishmen in south Carlow, the build up to the rising, the attacks on Borris House and the final battle of Kilcumney.

He also deals with the aftermath of the fighting outlining the proceedings of the various courts martials. Mick Kinsella has assembled a wonderful collection of local folklore dealing with all the aspects of the experience of Kilcumney - the battle itself, the massacres, the burial and casualty sites, the blacksmiths and the weaponry of 1798 which has been discovered down the years since.

Edward N. Moran, himself a Kilkenny man, outlines the Kilkenny perspective, dealing with the eastern part of the county particularly around Goresbridge which was affected by the conflict in Carlow and Wexford. This book of over 400 pages will become the recognised source for future historians dealing with south Carlow /east Kilkenny in 1798.

Each section has its own set of reference notes and thirteen appendices deal with songs and poems, compensation claims and several family trees. There are numerous photographs and maps [including graveyard maps] throughout the book. The final indices of both people and places complete a professional presentation worthy of the best academic publications.

Source: Carloviana - December. 1998 Page 7

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© 2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP