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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Pat Purcell  Papers


Carlow Weekly News

Insubordination in The Workhouse.

By kind permission of Michael Purcell  12/2009


Carlow Weekly News 19th Feb. 1863.

Insubordination in The Workhouse.

Michael Walshe, Mary Helighan, Mary Costello and Ellen Esmonde , all inmates of the Workhouse were brought up charged with insubordination.

Mr. Kerr, Master of the Workhouse, when sworn deposed. ---At about seven o'clock on Friday night I was informed that there were some of the inmates outside the Workhouse wall.

On going out with the schoolmaster, I found Michael Walshe and Mary Helighan outside the gate. On enquiring how they got out, the gate-man told me that Walshe had forced his way out, and then the girl got out.

They would not return, although he (the gate-man) desired them frequently. I thought it my duty to lock them up in separate cells to punish them. At nine o'clock, I gave directions to send over a bed to Mary Helighan, and she would not take it. She threw out the bed clothes. On going over to the cells, these girls, Foster and Esmonde, put their heads out of the window of their dormitory, and commenced to curse in a most frightful manner. I desired them to go to their beds and cease.

In a few minutes I was going around the house, when I heard Foster encouraging Heligan to sing, and told her to sing so loud, so she would be heard in Dublin Street. I desired her to stop, and she did, but when pressed by Walshe she commenced again, and finished the song.

Several of the old women complained to me that they got no sleep.

Several people were congregated about the gate in consequence of the noise.

When Walshe heard the noise of the women he commenced battering the cell door with stones. There was no other person in the cell but himself.

I attribute the whole blame to the girl Foster. She is out of jail only a week, and when she was coming in the Guardians gave her a great caution.

Walshe---On the virture of your oath was it with a stone that I knocked the door?

Mr. Kerr---There were stones in the cell the next morning. In justice to him, I must say, that he stopped when I asked him, but he made use of very impertinent expressions.

Esmonde ---I have nothing to say only I made noise, and it was I who cursed.

Judge---Mary Foster, it appears that you are an old offender, and a person who has raised great disturbance in the Workhouse. You may depend upon it, we will not allow this to go any further. We will put you into prison for a month, with hard labour.

Walshe, you have been before the barrister, and this is not your first or second offence. We will give you a fortnight in prison with hard labour.

Helighan and Esmonde, it is your first offence, and we will send you to prison for a week with hard labour.

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Carlow Weekly News 19th Feb. 1863.

Drunkenness.

John    ? was summoned for being drunk on the 7th, 9th, 10th and 11th of the present month and was fined 5 shillings with costs of 1 four shillings, or 48 hours imprisonment.

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The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.

Transcribed by Jean Casey, 2010


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