General Sarrazin,
Humbert’s 2nd in
Command, embraces the
body of Patrick Walsh
Crossmolina on the jib in
Ballina on 26th A...
Their Stories
Patrick Walsh, Crossmolina: Hanged old Market Square Ballina, 26th
August 1798
Fr Andrew Conroy, PP Addergoo...
William Burke: William was carrying a dispatch to the English headquarters at Castlebar telling them of the French-Irish a...
Banished, Exiled, Forcibly Conscripted, Transported
Anthony Daly, Boughadoon: Anthony, known as Carraig Tony, had ...
Interestingly in 1798 the route was mapped
and printed, as this image of page 219 in
Taylor and Skinners Maps of the Roads...
Father Bernard Dease’s sworn testimony given 25th September 1798
Fr Dease gave Lord Portarlington of the British authoriti...
Rebellions in Ireland, Richard Musgrave 1802 (pages 135 - 136)
James Conroy, Parish Priest of Adergool, in
the barony of T...
History of the Irish Rebellion 1798, W H Maxwell 1854 (pages 232 - 233)
...that Humbert would advance, ...
History of the Irish Rebellion 1798
(page 290)
Hanged like a Dog, History of Mayo,
Extracts, Western People
The old man ca...
The Priest of Addergool, National Recitations, (pages 13 - 15)
The arrival of the French in Killala w...
Select Bibliography
Addergoole Its Land and People, Tony Donohoe, Carrick Print 2000 Ltd, Carrick On Shannon Co. Leitrim, ...
Produced by Michael Molloy, Aughalonteen, Lahardane & Printed by Business Supplies, Garden Street, Ballina, Co Mayo
Final ...
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Printer version 23rd july 2013 1798 commemoration august 2013

  1. 1. General Sarrazin, Humbert’s 2nd in Command, embraces the body of Patrick Walsh Crossmolina on the jib in Ballina on 26th August 1798 Celtic cross from the Hanging Tree, the Mall Castlebar, on which Fr Andrew Conroy, parish priest Addergoole, was hung on the afternoon of a Market day in November 1798 1798 Mayo Commemoration A Mayo Gathering 16th - 18th August 2013 Lahardane Commemorative Events 18th August 2013 @ 11.30a.m & 11a.m. sharp, respectively Addergoole Cemetery: Annual Mass (11.30a.m.) This scenic graveyard is Fr Conroy’s, Captain Mangan’s and James McNamara’s burial place. Lahardane Village Conroy Memorial: (11a.m.) A very poignant Commemorative Service; local MC and narrator, French-Irish re-enactors fresh from the Battle of Killala making their historic forced march from Killala to Castlebar to then re-enact the battle of the “Castlebar Races”. Lahardane Commemorates 1798 “As in all other recaptured towns, hangings by the dozen were the order of the day and for weeks afterwards rebels were hunted like game through the surrounding mountains…..Captured rebels who escaped the hangman’s noose were transported to far flung British colonies never to be seen again”. This then is the sad tragic 1798 history of Addergoole and its envi- rons involvement in this invasion. What shines out through the deep misery and sorrow is the bravery of those lost souls, with some humour in our survival stories. Our 1798 history is vivid. Recall the 1993 Lahardane Pageant ? The Mayo 1798 Gathering is an opportunity for us all to reflect and remember, rather than celebrate this campaign. Capt. Jean Jobit, one of Humbert’s expedition to Ireland, known as the last Invasion of Ireland, states in his account of the French campaign, written whilst a prisoner awaiting repatriation in Litchfield England, and dated 5th November 1798, that the French army set sail from La Rochelle at 6a.m. on 6th August with 1,025 men, three thousand rifles; four hundred pistols; 3 four hundred millimetre cannons with ammunition wagons; a thousand French uniforms, thirty thousand measures of powder; and sixty six thousand cartridges. The expedition disembarked at Kilcummin, Killala, Co Mayo on 22nd August 1798. Humbert surrendered on 8th September at Ballinamuck Co Longford, leaving his Irish allies to be massacred indiscriminately. On 11th September Humbert and his troops were taken to Liverpool and imprisoned , officers then billeted in Litchfield Staffordshire, and all were repatriated to France two weeks later. There were no reprisals. The approach taken to the Irish survivors was entirely different. Some 2,000 were arrested; tried and hanged, or slaughtered; 500 alone were slaughtered on 8th September at Ballinamuck after the French surrendered. On 23rd September Ballina was recaptured. O’Connor says; The Bounty Hunted General Trench British Army Proclamation 1798 This Proclamation is for the apprehension, or information leading to the arrest of, these Crossmolina United Irishmen. • £300 Bounty: Father Owen Cowley, Parish Priest • £50 Bounty: Hugh McGuire, Brewer • £50 Bounty: Hugh McGuire (Jnr) • £50 Bounty: Edmond McGuire • £50 Bounty: Pat McHale
  2. 2. Their Stories Patrick Walsh, Crossmolina: Hanged old Market Square Ballina, 26th August 1798 Fr Andrew Conroy, PP Addergoole: Hanged Mall Castlebar, November 1798 William Burke, Carrowkeel: Hanged in Castlebar James Corcoran, Letternavoge: Slaughtered at his own house, September 1799 Captain William Mangan, Rathbawn: Beheaded Letternavoge, September 1799 James McNamara, Caffoley: Hanged on the now Jack Garret Bridge Crossmolina Hugh McGuire, Crossmolina: Hanged, May 1799 Father McGowan, Crossmolina: Accidental death, fell from a horse and broke neck Unknown man, Ballymacredmond, Lahardane: Shot Ballymacredmond French soldier, buried Knockfarnaught: Cause of death unknown Fr Owen Cowley, Curate, Crossmolina: Died of hypothermia, 1799 Patrick Walsh: Patrick lived in Gortskeddia, Crossmolina and was twenty years old. Patrick went to Killala on 25th August and met Humbert who commissioned him into the French Army and told him to return to Ballina and recruit. He was captured by the British, a document given him by Humbert was found in his possession. Patrick was hanged in the old market place, hours before the French arrived on 26th August and left on the gibbet. When the French came through Ballina his swinging corpse confronted them. Father Andrew Conroy: Fr Conroy lived in a small thatched house, near the present site of McGowan’s house on the road to Tubbernavine. About midnight on 26th August, Gen. Humbert with Bartholomew Teeling , Matthew Tone and some 1,500 French and Irish troops with Captain William Mangan reached Lahardane. They then spent no more than two hour there. While the troops rested , Fr Andrew Conroy played host to General Humbert in his house. In November Fr Andrew Conroy was arrested and brought to Castlebar. At his trial for treason he was accused of: • Going to Killala to welcome the French invaders • Showing them the strategic advantage of approaching Castlebar by Bearna-na-geehy • Intercepting the courier William Burke from Carrowkeel • Having in his possession revolutionary documents, including some from Hugh McGuire Crossmolina • Having in his house armed guards in French uniforms • Having hospitably received the enemies of the King of England. Found guilty in the morning, that afternoon, a November market day, he was hanged publicly on the Mall. Was Fr Conroy guilty? See pages 8 and 9 for an opposing view, from someone involved in his trial. Tradition has it that Fr Andrew Conroy is buried in Addergoole cemetery's old Abbey. Fr Eddie McHale suggests in an article “Some Mayo Priests of 1798” written in 1991, that Fr Conroy shares a grave with two other priests, Richard MacHale died in 1810, and James MacHale died 1830, along the inside of the Abbey North wall. Conroy Memorial A Travelling Gallows 1798
  3. 3. William Burke: William was carrying a dispatch to the English headquarters at Castlebar telling them of the French-Irish army’s movements. When he reached Lahardane he met Father Conroy and gave up the papers in his possession. After the defeat of the French he was on the wanted list. Carrowkeel House was searched, on one occasion he was there but escaped through a secret passage at the back of the house. About a month later he was captured in a hut in the mountains between Lahardane and Newport, tried by court-martial and hanged in Castlebar. He was a lieutenant in the British army, and one of the Burke family of Carrowkeel. James Corcoran: A party of yeomen surrounded James Corcoran’s house in Letternavoge. They were looking for Captain Mangan after a tipoff and were refused admission to the house. James came out rolling an oak chest; he was shot in the skull with two bullets. Captain William Mangan: William guided Humbert’s troops to Castlebar and was involved throughout the campaign. He then spent twelve months on the Ballycroy hills. Whilst making his way to Cum, he stopped at James Corcoran’s house Letternavoge. After shooting James the soldiers called on William to surrender, he refused. They then set fire to the thatch. He ran through the fire and smoke, as he was jumping over a wall, a soldier hit him with a flagstone. He was shot several times and his head cut off. This was then put on the gates at Gortnor Abbey, the British encampment. Captain Mangan’s sword still survives locally. Local folklore has it that he is buried in Addergoole Graveyard; the location of his grave is unknown. There are several unnamed graves around the old abbey, like the one shown here. William had been granted an official pardon three days before he was slaughtered. James McNamara: James was hanged in Crossmolina on what is now the Jack Garrett Bridge and is probably buried in Addergoole. Hugh McGuire: Hugh was a brewer from Crossmolina. His brewery was on Church St. He met Humbert at Killala with his three sons on 23rd August 1798 and the family was heavily involved in the campaign. He was captured in May 1799, tried, convicted and hanged. Father McGowan: Fr McGowan was arrested. There was insufficient evidence to convict him and he was released. Musgrave suggested in 1802 that Fr McGowan fell from his horse and broke his neck. Fr Harte, PP Addergoole at the unveiling of the Conroy Memorial Lahardane in August 1937 said his accidental death deprived the yeomen of hanging him. He died on 11th April 1800 and is buried in the Kilmurry old cemetery. The writing on his slab gravestone is now largely eroded by the weather. Enniscoe Heritage Centre surveyed the graveyard in 1980’s, its survey number is 842 and reads: Gloria in Excelsis Deo In the hope of a happy resurrection. Here lay the remains of Rev. Dean McGowan, Pastor of Crossmolina and Cannon of Grangemore who by his virtues and merit and the affability of his manner endeared himself and cared for his parishioners with the greatest regret of all he departed this life in the year o f our Lord 1800 and in the 38th year of his age. Erected by his nephew the Rev. John Hopkins P.P. of Screen. Unknown local man: Local oral tradition has it that a man was shot in 1799 and buried in Ballymacredmond, Browne’s land. Two men were coming from a funeral. There was a curfew and the yeomanry were out. A woman was also going towards Lahardane. A soldier aimed at the woman but another put his rifle barrel under the gun barrel and lifted it. The woman escaped, but the soldiers fired at one of the men and killed him. There was a pile of stones in the field up until the late 1960’s. Long ago, if you were passing where a person killed was buried, you would throw a stone on the grave. French soldier: There is a local oral tradition of a French soldier having been buried in the townland of Knockfarnaught, also a Bronze and Iron Age Settlement, on the way from Lahardane to Bofeenaun. The site of the grave is not marked. The story was told to 9 year old Darren Leonard in 1997 when he was researching his article on Knockfarnaught for the book on Lahardane National School 150 years’ celebration. Bridgie Sharkey of Knockfarnaught who was then 81 years told him, and also Michael Flynn, Tubbernavine, a local historian who was then in his seventies; sadly both have died. Other local people have also had the story passed down. Father Owen Cowley: Owen was parish priest in Crossmolina. On the run with a bounty of £300 for his capture, he died of hypothermia, whilst hiding in Muingwar bog, Castleconnor. He is buried in Killanley old cemetery, the plaque says: "Pray for the soul of Fr Cowley P.P. Crossmolina sought by Crown Forces for kindness to ’98 Patriots. Died piously in hiding at Muingwar in 1806 and was buried in this Holy Ground. R.I.P.” Other sources state the year of Fr Cowley’s death as 1799.
  4. 4. Banished, Exiled, Forcibly Conscripted, Transported Escaped Anthony Daly, Boughadoon: Anthony, known as Carraig Tony, had a cave on Nephin. He was captured and forced into the British army and sent to India, but after several years came home and lived out his life in Boughadoon. Hugh and Ned McGuire, Crossmolina: Both were accused at their trial of being notorious and desperate rebel captains and forced into the British army, and sent to Germany. Roger McGuire (Jnr), Crossmolina: Roger was captured on 26th September 1798, tried, convicted and transported for life to Botany Bay. Australian convict records show that he departed Cork on the Friendship as a political prisoner on 24th August 1799, arriving in New South Wales on 24th April 1800. Patrick Fleming, Addergoole: Patrick was tried, convicted and transported, the destination is unknown. Barretts Lahardane; Jordans Derryhillagh; John & Pat Joyce Glenavenue; Father Thomas Monnelly, Backs Parish Knockmore; Father David Kelly Ballycroy; Larry Gillespie Addergoole; Gaughan Caffoley; Páidin a Choga Rathkell. Some Escape Stories Father Thomas Monnelly: He was captured in November 1799, banished to New Geneva, but escaped to USA, settling in Maryland. New Geneva was in Crook Parish, Co Waterford. Occupied by the British military from 1798 to 1824, it was a prison for Irish patriots, and features in “The Croppy Boy”, a 1798 song .“My sentence passed and my courage low. To New Geneva I was forced to go.” Gaughan: He had a mill and was a wheelwright. He was jailed in Castlebar. Along with two others he made a hole in the wall, stripped off his clothes because he could not get through the hole at first, escaped and fled to Nephin Mountain. Larry Gillespie: Imprisoned in either Ballina or Castlebar jail, his wife visited with a bottle of poteen for his guards. Larry and the wife then swapped clothes. He escaped, fled to safety on Nephin Mountain and eventually made his way to France. After 17 years he returned to find his wife had remarried! Páidin a Choga: Páídin fought through the campaign and survived. When he was dying he asked Liam Fleming, whose father Patrick had been transported, to play the “White Cockade” over his grave. He gave him 17 shillings for that. This is a traditional Scottish tune commemorating Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign to reclaim Scotland for the House of Stuart during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. The Prince had a white rose on his bonnet as a symbol of rebellion. In 1790, Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, set the lyrics: “He takes the field wi’ his White Cockade.” John & Pat Joyce: This information was provided by 11 year old Laura Blake, handed down from her great, great, great, great grandfather. John, 19 and Pat 17 years both joined the French forces in Killala and fought to Ballinamuck. When the French surrendered, there was no news in Glenavenue of John and Pat. Six months later news came, John was alive and well in France. Five years later he arrived home. His story is that after the French surrender, he took to the bogs and hills with seven comrades. The Red Coats were shooting and hanging the rebels as they found them. English officers on horseback slashed rebels to bits, enjoying it. John and his companions hid in bog holes for two days until the hunt died down. He then met up with Owen Gallagher, a Donegal fisherman. The only friendly face on the run was a smile from a badger! They met some other fishermen, known to Owen. John then made his way to France, first working looking after horses and then in a winery. John returned to France after coming home in 1804. What happened to Pat Joyce is not known. A dry rocky place, high on Nephin Mountain for an escape haven The Abbey in Addergoole graveyard where Fr Andrew Conroy is buried, and the MacHale tomb that he is said to be buried in. His name does not appear in the Latin inscription. Addergoole Graveyard Unnamed Grave There are several unnamed graves around and in the Abbey where Captain Mangan and James McNamara could be buried. Éirinn go Brách Flag United Irishmen Badge
  5. 5. Interestingly in 1798 the route was mapped and printed, as this image of page 219 in Taylor and Skinners Maps of the Roads of Ireland produced in 1778 shows. Fr Conroy’s house was where the old thatched cart house was at the back of McGowan’s house about a mile outside Lahardane. There is also a place some little way behind it: “logán na haltóra”, “place of the altar”; a hollow between two rock outcrops, a natural place where people could not be seen, someone could stand on the rocks and observe the road, while a Mass was celebrated. Maxwell, writing forty five years after the Castlebar Races is very critical of the British forces lack of understanding of the strategic importance of the route, see page 8. He says that the route through Lahardane was disregarded by the British commanders as being impractical. In his opinion they had yet to learn the art of war and on 27th August 1798 Humbert gave them a very practical lesson. Only for a yeoman, tending his cattle on the Gap Road, saw the advancing troops, the assault on Castlebar would have been a complete surprise. The French - Irish victory at Castlebar Maxwell describes as: “Almost impossible to conceive anything more disgraceful and unaccountable than the defeat of the royalist army at Castlebar”. Fr Conroy’s contribution to that victory was unique. The Races of Castlebar may not have happened, but for our Soggarth Aroon. In 1898 a poem by Rooney “The Priest of Addergool” won first prize in a competition organised by the Weekly Freeman. On 23rd August 1898 the foundation stone for the Men of 1798 was laid in Ballina. It now stands on Humbert Street with Father Andrew Conroy’s name on it. See page 10. The French troops marched down the public road at the back of Enniscoe House, now a private road called; “French Avenue”. The story is that they stopped briefly in the field in front of the house to eat, and built fires using timber scaffolding taken down from the house which had just been extended. They also helped themselves to wine from Colonel George Jackson’s cellar. It is not clear when Humbert’s Route to Castlebar this happened, but it was probably Sunday 26th on their way to Castlebar. According to Captain Jean Louis Jobit, Humbert’s army left Ballina at 4pm, arriving at Sion Hill Castlebar around 6am the following day, having spent two hours in the Lahardane locality with Fr Conroy. George Jackson’s name is on the official Mayo list for loss and damage in 1798. His claim for the loss of a horse, wine, cattle and furniture was £2,151-3s-6d. A section of the road in the estate still goes by the name of French Avenue. It forms part of a looped walk for the public, starting at the Mayo North Heritage Centre. 2,000 French and Irish routed a force of 6,000 British.
  6. 6. Father Bernard Dease’s sworn testimony given 25th September 1798 Fr Dease gave Lord Portarlington of the British authorities a sworn statement implicating Dr Bellow (titular Bishop of Killala) and others, including Fr Andrew Conroy and three other local priests, in assisting the French. His three page sworn statement below helped sign Fr Conroy’s death warrant in Castlebar some two months later. The Examination of the Rev Bernard Deace of Kilglass near Ballina, who being duly sworn. Deponent That at the time the French attempted to land at Bantry Bay, there was a form of thanksgiving ordered to be read in all the chapels for the dispersion of the French, his R.C. Bishop, Doctor Bellew called a meeting of his clergy, and in particular called Deponent aside, and he heard he gave a very handsome exhortation of the subject though he was not in the habit of doing so on more important matters, and enjoined Deponent to secrecy of what he said to him, on pain of sequestration of his Parish. He asked Doctor Bellow what should be done about repairing his chapels that were out of repair. He advised him not to mind them for what he hoped soon to have better chapels, as the churches would be converted into chapels. And said that the French were dispersed by the storm, they would come again shortly, and therefore advised Deponent not to be intimidated by that misfortune and at the same time advised deponent and others not to mix with the Protestants who he called Blacks. That about March last at a meeting of his clergy, he called Deponent aside (for he spoke to every Priest separately and enjoined them not to tell to one another what he said to them) desired him to have courage for they would certainly see the French in the following month of April and then we shall get released of all our suffering, and the hardships we have endured for such a number of years, and that then was the moment for every good Irishman to be alive in the general cause, and in assisting the French as much as he was able. Deponent further said that about the end of June last, Doctor Bellow renewed his charge to his clergy not to mix with Protestants, under the severe penalty of suspension or deprivation of their Parishes; and said there was another meeting of the same set since, in which Doctor Bellow seemed to be in despair of the French Landing, as it had been promised long since and did not know what to think of it, if the French did land before Michaelmas. Deponent further said that when the French did land at Killala the Bishop’s brother, Major Bellow was one of the first that went down to join the French (3 words indecipherable) within 5 miles of Ballina since that in the mountains in Culcarney near Captain O’Dowd in the home of Martin Hardy in (1 word indecipherable). Father Bernard Dease, Parish Priest Addergoole 1783 Father Bernard Dease was the parish priest of Addergoole in 1783, but by 1786 he was Kilglass Co Sligo. Richard Musgrave says this in 1802 of Dease’s 1798 Rebellion involvement. “From the following circumstance, we cannot be surprised at the active part which the popish priests took in the rebellion in the counties of Mayo and Sligo. Captain Nicholas Ormsby, of the Tireragh yeomen cavalry, was quartered in Easkey, in the county of Sligo, soon after the French landed. Having been informed that numbers of the lower class of people has assembled at some distance from his quarters, and had collected a large quantity of cattle for the use of the French, he proceeded to the spot where the event took place, and rescued the cattle and dispersed the people. When he was on the point of returning, a woman told him, that Father Dease, a popish priest, was at a short distance , enlisting for the French; and having advanced a little further, he saw a great number of people ready to join them. Three of his corps were far before the main body. One of them, who preceded the rest galloped by Father Dease, who snapped a pistol at him. The next yeoman who came up, galloped swiftly by Dease, and fired a pistol at him, but missed him. Dease was cocking his pistol to fire at the third yeoman, who was coming up, but Mr Jeremiah Fury, a gentleman of fortune though a private, sized his arm before he could effect it, and made a prisoner of him. When Captain Ormsby arrived, they were on the point of hanging him; but as he fell on his knees, implored mercy, and promised to make a full confession of what he knew, they spared his life. He then declared, what he afterwards solemnly and deliberately confirmed, sworn before a magistrate, that Doctor Bellew, the titular bishop of the diocese, encouraged his diocesan clergy, at a general meeting of them to rise on the present occasion; and that it was at his instigation that they were active in assisting the French. The pistols which they found in Dease’s possession were French.”
  7. 7. Rebellions in Ireland, Richard Musgrave 1802 (pages 135 - 136) James Conroy, Parish Priest of Adergool, in the barony of Tyrawly and county of Mayo, a few weeks before the invasion of the French, took the oath of allegiance, in his chapel, and in the presence of some hundreds of his flock, who followed his example; and he exhorted them from the altar to be loyal to the king and obedient to the laws, in a long speech, conceived in such forcible language, that the magistrate, who administered the oath, was convinced of his sincerity; and yet, in violation of it, he repaired to Killala, which was twenty miles distant, as soon as the French landed there, embarked warmly in their interest, and was the first person who showed them the practicability of marching to Castlebar, by Barnageehy, instead of the usual road by Foxford. As his house was in their route, he entertained the French and rebel officers: He converted his chapel into a guard-house for them, his mansion was their banqueting-house, and the oxen which they took from his neighbours were slaughtered in one of his out-offices. It has since discovered, that a messenger had been dispatched to general Hutchinson, to inform him that the French were advancing towards Castlebar, by Crossmolina, instead of Foxford; but Conroy and his coadjutor stopped him, made him swear the United Irishmen’s oath, and enrolled him in the rebel ranks. His name was William Burke. He was afterwards hanged at Castlebar. The stopping him was the occasion of many calamities to this kingdom. Conroy, conscious of his guilt, and fearing that he should be arrested, kept guards constantly round his house, after the arrival of our troops at Killala; but a party detached by general Trench surprised his videttes, killed two of them, wounded a third, and took the fourth prisoner. They were all in French arms and uniforms. They found in his house a French carabine, and some cartridges; a printed proclamation of the French, offering liberty to the people of Ireland; and the entire correspondence which had taken place between him and one Maguire of Crossmolina, a noted rebel leader. He was hanged at Castlebar, without either confessing or denying his guilt; and though he was sure of eternal salvation for having opposed an heretical state in support of the true faith, he had scarce sufficient strength to ascend the fatal step. Deponent further said that about the 1st September last, the son of John McLoughlin of Newport came in to Killala to join the rebels with 250 men , that Walter Burke of Easkey also brought in 75 men (two words indecipherable), Thos Farrell of Culcarney 60 men; Pat O’Hara near Tubbercurry, 70 men; 3 brothers of the name of Kane, of whom Mic Kane was made Captain, who came in with men. That General Kane who came over with the French, is a Priest, and (4 words indecipherable) on the revolution in France, he had been working at the Invasion of Ireland, until he gained his point and he is now at the head of the Rebels in Killala. This Deponent knows that 4 Priests David Kelly of Ballycroy - Thos Monely of Backs - James Conroy of Addergool, Owen Cowley of Castleconnor were very certain in bringing in men to the French from their several Parishes. Deponent said that (2 words indecipherable) and his brother from (1 word indecipherable), three miles from Killala joined the French. Deponent said that General Kane told him ten men of war would come from French when they would attack ships by land and water, and (1 word indecipherable) that he intended taking all the Orange men he could find, and when he went to battle to put them in the front without mercy. Sworn before me this 25th day of September 1798 at Mayo. The deponent is the term for the person making the statement.
  8. 8. History of the Irish Rebellion 1798, W H Maxwell 1854 (pages 232 - 233) 232 HISTORY OF THE ...that Humbert would advance, made the necessary dispositions to receive him. At the time, two roads, both now generally disused, connected Ballina with Castlebar. One, by the east of Lough Conn, passed through the small town of Foxford, crossing the river Moy, there a deep wide river, by a long and narrow bridge. This, the lower road, was by far the easiest by which an army could advance; and to defend this pass, the Kerry regiment, some companies of the line, and a yeomanry corps, with two battalion guns, were detached by General Hutchinson, and General Taylor arriving at Foxford, took the command. By this, the lower road, it was supposed that the French only could approach, while the upper line, running westward of Lough Conn, was disregarded, as being impracticable. But nothing could be more erroneous than the idea that the mountain road was not easily traversed by men in light marching order as Humbert’ troops were. They had brought with them only two light four-pounders, called in the parlance of the day, curricle-guns. There was an abundant supply of peasants to carry them over any height and but for the defects of the carriages, the cannon would have been little impediment to the march. The point in that route, which was considered by the commanders at Castlebar to be a Thermopyle without the trouble of defence, was the pass of Barnageeragh. Looking down on the Tyrawly side, it is certainly formidable to any approaching it directly; but on either side, half an hour would turn it without trouble, and Sir Richard Musgrave is sadly in error, when he says, “that one company with a battalion gun posted there would have checked the progress of the French.” In false confidence that the invaders must advance by the lower road, the upper one was totally neglected. British generals had yet to learn the art of war, and Humbert gave them a practical lesson on the memorial 27th of August. Humbert had made himself well acquainted with the country between himself and the royalists, and determined to advance by the mountain road. Keeping his intention profoundly secret, he announced his design of marching direct on Foxford, which intelligence, as he had expected and intended, was conveyed to head-quarters at Castlebar. To give stronger colour to the deception, he took the lower road on his departure from Ballina, but on reaching a cross-road two miles from the town, he wheeled to the right, and marched rapidly towards the pass of Barnageeragh. So perfectly satisfied were the British generals that Humbert’s movements would be by Foxford, that accident alone prevented the surprise from being complete. A yeo- man, who had a mountain farm in the immediate vicinity of the pass, had been as early as three in the morning ex- amining his cattle and observed a strong column of men dressed in blue advancing rapidly towards Barnageeragh, IRISH REBELLION 233 he galloped into Castlebar, and alarmed the garrison. General Trench proceeded in the direction of the pass, but at a league from the town his escort was fired at by the French advanced guard, and the yeoman’s report too truly confirmed. The garrison, already under arms, marched to the position marked out by the generals the preceding day, forming on a range of rocky heights north of the town, which ran in the direction east to west, and commanding a rising ground at a thousand yards distance, which Humbert must of necessity cross under the fire of Hutchinson’s artillery. The royalists were formed in two lines, crowning the heights of the position. The first, consisted of the Kilkenny militia, some regulars (the skeleton of the 6th ), and a party of the Prince of Wales’s fencibles, the Fraser fencibles and Galway yeomanry formed the second line. To the left of the Kilkenny regiment, and in a valley in their rear four companies of the Longford militia were in reserve. The bulk of the cavalry, part of the 6th dragoon guards (carabineers), and 1st fencible, were drawn up in the rear of the first line; the artillery were a little advanced; two curricle-guns being on the right of the road, under the command of Captain Shortall, and parallel to them, the battalion-guns of the Kilkenny militia were in position in front of that regiment, and on the left of the road. At eight o’clock the French appeared, marching in close column, and Humbert examined the royal position and the formidable force to which he was opposed. Before he crowned the ridge, he covered his grenadiers with a body of rebels in French uniforms, to draw on them the fire of the artillery. A gentleman still living, to whom I am indebted for valu- able information, alludes in part of his correspondence to the execution of an aged priest, who, according to Sir Richard Musgrave, acted as a French commissary, and recruited actively for the invaders. Between Musgrave’s hearsay authority, and the direct testimony of one of the old man’s judges, the reader will form his own opinion touching the guilt or innocence of the condemned priest:- “I was despatched with two hundred men and two field- pieces to occupy the celebrated pass of Barnageeragh, an extremely strong defile, where a few men, well posted, ought to check the advance of a large force. Having rode a few miles to reconnoitre in front of the pass, I reached the house of a priest who had been charged with acting as commissary to the French. History of the Irish Rebellion 1798 (page 290)
  9. 9. History of the Irish Rebellion 1798 (page 290) Hanged like a Dog, History of Mayo, Extracts, Western People The old man came out and surrendered himself, requesting to be conveyed to Castlebar, and protecting his perfect innocence, with a strong assurance that he had acted under terror, and with the sole intention of saving life. I subsequently sat on the court-martial which tried that poor man, and strenuously voted against the sentence which condemned him, but he was subsequently executed. Having at the time taken considerable pains to ascertain the facts, I declare it to be my sincere conviction, that the man acted altogether under fear, and against his own inclination, and I say this the rather that Sir Richard Musgrave has given a very different colour to the case.” FATE OF A DEVOTED PRIEST The sister of Archbishop MacHale has left an interesting MSS account of the scenes at Nephin in 1798 when Humbert and the French expedition filed past on their memorable march through the Windy Gap for Castlebar. Little John, the future Archbishop who became widely known as “The Lion of the West,” then seven years old, witnessed the remarkable spectacle from his hiding place under a stook of flax. “ It was in truth, an imposing if not an awful spectacle to the eyes of one so young----that long array of blue coated infantry and horsemen, with bayonets, sabres and burnished helmets glistening in the sun as regiment after regiment passed silently along, with their scouts thrown out far forward to reconnoitre, and the heavy artillery wagons thundering along the valley of Tubernavine, the battalions unmolested and unmolesting, looking to the eye of the boy watcher like some mighty serpent with flaming crest and glistening scales winding its slow length between the overhanging majesty of Nephin and the silent peaceful waters of the lake nestling below in the entrance of the vast hills. As the last man of the invaders disappeared behind the bend of the road, the boy, expecting some encounter with the advanced British outposts, gained the very crest of the slope and waited till in the far blue distance he beheld the sheen of bayonets, sabres and helmets lighting up the gloomy sides of the Ox mountains, and passing, unopposed, beyond the lofty barrier of the Windy Gap….. ….The day after he had seen the blue-coated French legions disappear over the lofty crest of the Windy Gap ridge the distant booming of artillery awoke the echoes along Mount Nephin and told of the conflict going on with the British forces at Castlebar. The success which in the first moment of surprise the small number of men under Humbert met with was soon turned into irretrievable defeat…. … Some of the French officers had entered the lowly abode of Fr Conroy on their way to Glen Nephin, and the courageous pastor, who had remained at his post to watch over and protect his flock in the hour of danger, could only prevent the invaders from molesting the defenceless peasantry by treating the Frenchmen with courteous civility. His frequent denunciation of the French Revolution and its abettors were well known beyond the limits of the parish of Addergoole…. ….Dennis Browne had Fr Conroy arrested and dragged to Castlebar. He assembled a court martial there and arraigned before it Fr Conroy on the specious charge of having been in treasonable correspondence with the invaders….. ...This gentle and heroic priest was not given a single hour’s reprieve, but taken forthwith from the hotel, where his judges sat, he was hanged to the branch of the nearest tree… ….Down the deep pass of the Windy Gap streamed the thousands who had come to honour the saintly dead. Thousands covered the steep acclivities on each side of the road, and all the way down to the gentle hills above Lake Lavella. And high, piercing the very sky, rose the wail of the women as the funeral procession, carrying the corpse of the murdered priest, first showed itself in the gorge…. ….Some years ago, when Mr Larminie, agent of the Earl of Lucan, and now one of the oldest men in the county, was Chairman of Castlebar Urban Council, the members proposed to erect a memorial on the site of the tree on which the priest was hanged……., but as agent of the lord of the soil, he called attention to the document conveying the Green as a park, and the project lapsed. The arrival of the French at Killala in the autumn of 1798 was the occasion of many acts of devotion to Ireland, and none more so than that of the Very Rev. Andrew Conroy P.P., Addergoole, the ancient name of the parish of Lahardane, North Mayo. He gave his life on the scaffold for his country, and to commemorate the glorious memory of his supreme sacrifice a beautiful Celtic cross 15ft 9ins in height was unveiled in Lahardane on Sunday. Western People 2nd January 1932 Western People 21st August 1937
  10. 10. The Priest of Addergool, National Recitations, (pages 13 - 15) A TRUE STORY OF 1798 The arrival of the French in Killala was an occasion of many an act of devotion to Ireland. One of the most notable was that of Father Andrew Conroy, P.P of Addergool, who, having intercepted a message bearing tidings of the landing of the French to Castlebar, wakened his entire district, made a series of maps to guide the French, and headed his parishioners to their support. Father Conroy was hanged in Castlebar but his name and story are still well known around the fires of Mayo. The ballad faithfully follows the history of his act and the sacrifice it occasioned. There’s someone at the window, Tap! Tap! anew; Sharp the silent midnight it speeds the cottage through, “Some poor soul speeding onward, some sudden call to go, Unshriven on the pathway we all of us must go. Thus muses he, that sagart, as from his couch he flies And opens the window where wonder widens eyes Look into this, and accents with haste all husky spake; “The French are in Killala, and the all the land’s awake! “ ’Twas William Burke that told me as riding he went by With letters for the Saxons in Castlebar--and I Came hot upon his footsteps to tell you all I knew And let you teach the people what’s best for them to do!” There’s silence for a second--out speaks the sagart then-- “I’ll follow him that told you; you gather all the men; Keep watch beside the houses till I come back to you-- And God to guide our counsels, we’ll then see what to do!” The priest is in the saddle and down the road he flies, A while his echoed paces upon the silence rise, Then melt into the distance, while figures, one by one, Steal out from gloom and shadow and muster in the bawn. The moonlight floods the mountain, no horseman hies in sight, No sound comes up the valley to break the hush of night; Yet on the sargart presses and close beside the town, Still wrapped in dream and slumber, he runs his quarry down. A moment more the messenger has yielded up his load, Another, and a penitent, he’s kneeling on the road; There in the solemn moonlight he pledges hand and heart, He’s knelt a slave--he rises now to do a true man’s part. ’Tis done, and ere that noontide pours over hill and glen, In Ballina they’re standing, that sagart and his men; His part in o’er, he may not lift the brand in bloody fray; But he hath seen his duty, and shown his flock the way. A few short weeks, the noonday sun shines over Castlebar, Triumphant through the country rides ruin near and far; And on a scaffold proudly a pries stands bound--’Tis he, Who rode him through the midnight for Ireland’s Liberty! There’s many a lonely hearth-stone to-night in wide Mayo, There’s many a gallant heart content again can never know But darkest woe and grief for him the saintly true and tried, Who on the Saxon scaffold that day for freedom died. We’ll shrine his name and story bright to guide us on, Till hope has reached its haven, till gloom and grief are gone; Till free men’s hands may fashion the name and fame on high, Of all who trod that pathway and showed the way to die. William Rooney Dublin Founder of Castlebar’s first Public Library 1898 Mother Ireland Memorial, Humbert Street Ballina, erected 1898
  11. 11. Select Bibliography Addergoole Its Land and People, Tony Donohoe, Carrick Print 2000 Ltd, Carrick On Shannon Co. Leitrim, (2000) Bald’s Map of Mayo 1809 page 17, Mayo County Library, Castlebar Bishop Stock’s Narrative of the Year of the French 1798, Gratten Fryer, Irish Humanities Centre Terrybaun Bofeenaun Ballina Co Mayo, (1982) Connaught, A Tale of 1798, Matthew Archdeacon, J. Taaffe Fownes’s Street Dublin, (1835) Crossmolina Parish, An Historical Survey, Crossmolina Historical And Archaeological Society, Ballina Printing Co, undated, pp. 24-29 Dear Old Ballina, Terry Reilly, Western People Printing Ballina Co Mayo, (1993), pp.81-93 History of Crossmolina, Tony Donohoe, Edmund Burke Publisher Blackrock Co Dublin, (2003), pp.15-24 History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798, William Hamilton Maxwell, Bell & Daldy Fleet Street Covent Garden, (1854) History of the Rebellion in Ireland in the year 1798 &c, Sir Richard Musgrave, J Cooke Almond Quay Dublin, (1802) Humbert’s Expedition – A Lost Cause?, John Cooney, Western People Ballina Co Mayo, (1998) In Humbert’s Footsteps Mayo 1798, Stephen Dunford & Guy Beiner, Fadó Books, Westprint Ltd Enniscrone Co Sligo, (2006) Ireland and Switzerland: Old and New Geneva, Ita Marguet, January 2007, Fr Andrew’s House 1798 & Place of the Altar, Interview Teresa & John (Jnr) McGowan, Michael Molloy, May 2013, Knockfarnaught, Darren Leonard, Celebrating 150 Years of Primary Education in Lahardane NS 1847- 1997, (1997) , pp. 88-89 Maps of the Roads of Ireland, Taylor and Skinner, J Wilfon Dame St Dublin, (1778), p.219 The French are in Our Fairgreen - 1798, Toss Gibbons, Rathkell National School Centenary 1907-2007, (2007), pp.9-11 The French Invasion of Connaught, Jack Munnelly, Western People Printing Ballina Co Mayo, (1998) ’98 Celebrations, 150th Anniversary commemorated in Ballina and Killala, Carmel Hughes, Cumann Staire Agus Seandálíochta, Bliainiris ’83-’84, Vol. 1 No. 2, (1983), pp. 27-35 Shooting Ballymacredmond, Taped Interview, Martin McHale, Aughalonteen, Cannon Boland, Parish Priest Addergoole, (1977) Some Escape Stories, Written Submission, Laura Blake, Carrowkeel, Castle, Ballina, (2013) Some Mayo Priests of 1798, Rev E McHale, North Mayo Historical Journal 1991-1992, Vol II No 5, North Mayo Historical & Archaeological Society, Westprint Ltd Enniscrone Co Sligo, (1991), pp.11-12 The Last Invasion of Ireland, Richard Francis Hayes, Dublin Gill and MacMillan, (1937) The Parishes in the Diocese of Killala (I), Rev E McHale, Western People Ballina Co Mayo, (1985) Trouble & Strife: Fifty Killala Priests 1600 - 2000, Brendan Hoban, Banley House Rathmines Dublin, (2012) Priest of Addergool, A True Story of 1798, National Recitations, Irish Book Bureau Upper O’Connell St Dublin, (+1916), pp. 13-15 Rebellion Papers (620/40/58), Rev Bernard Dease, National Archives Dublin, (1798) The Races of 1798, Brian Hoban, 1798 Hanging of Fr Conroy, Lahardane Pageant Happy 21st , KPS Colour Print Knock Co Mayo, (2007), pp.14-25 Wolfe Tone Jean Joseph Amable Humbert Ballinamuck 1798 Pike Men Memorial erected 1928
  12. 12. Produced by Michael Molloy, Aughalonteen, Lahardane & Printed by Business Supplies, Garden Street, Ballina, Co Mayo Final page of Fr Bernard Dease’s sworn statement The three page statement in longhand script, dated 25th September 1798, is signed by Fr Bernard Dease and Lord Portarlington. As you can see some of the handwriting is quite difficult to read, but have a go! Brendan Hoban in Fifty Killala Priests 1600 – 2000 tells us that Fr Dease was imprisoned in Dublin on 1st October 1798 and remained there until his release in February 1800. On 29th November 1799 Fr Dease wrote to Lord Cornwallis, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, seeking release on the grounds that he had assisted the British authorities in putting down the Rebellion by supplying under oath; “the names of the most remarkable rebels he had seen, there five whereof has been since sent to eternity, viz, Richard Burke of Ballina, Rev James Conroy of Addergoole, Captain O’Dowd of Culcarney, one of the McGuires and Major Bellow, brother to Doctor Bellew ......”