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Third & Final Part Of Thurles & The 1798 Rebellion

We refer to our two previous posts discussing Tipperary and Thurles and their lack of real association with the 1798 rebellion. Our first post published June 19th, 2016 can be accessed HERE, while our second post published on July 2nd, 2016 is available by clicking HERE.

The point of our third and final post today on this 1798 rebellion period in Irish history is to help demonstrate that in truth, rebellion, mutiny, general unrest and civil disobedience is rarely aimed at actual people’s religious beliefs. Instead same should be perceived for what it really is; a re-action, taken usually by the underprivileged and weak, against those strong enough to hold control over Governments and rich Corporations and is carried out by singular  individuals.  These same individuals believe that by gaining immense wealth; often inherited, it is their sole privileged and prerogative to influence and ensure that their own continued power and that of their generations yet to come, are secured at the expense of all other life on our planet.

It will be noted from our first post, featuring the 1798 commemorative monument positioned in Liberty Square, Thurles, here in Co. Tipperary, that all 3 men remembered on this statue, affectionately known  as ‘The Stone Man’ ; namely Theobald Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet and Lord Edward FitzGerald, came from a Protestant tradition. However from a book, the first edition of which was written shortly after the 1798 rebellion and entitled “A History of the Rebellion of 1798,” (by George Taylor, Ballywalter, Ireland) we learn of a totally different fate metered out to yet another member of the Protestant tradition. The Protestant to whom I refer was a Clergyman; his name, Rev. Francis Turner.

Rev. Turner formally owned property referred to as ‘Turners Holding’, here in Thurles, situated in an area known as South Main Street and which today is called Cathedral Street (On South side).

South Main Street, Thurles (Cathedral Street, South side), as it looked in the mid 19th century.

Cathedral-St

Drawing Shown Above: South Main Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary,as viewed in the mid 1840’s. (Left to Right – Cathedral Street South side as viewed today from Munster Hotel, and travelling west to end at start of today’s Source Library / Barry’s Bridge area.)  The area, framed in red, between today’s Munster Hotel and where part of Thurles Presbytery currently stands, was once ‘Turners Holding’, purchased on July 2nd, 1784 by Rev. Francis Turner and later sold by Turner’s heirs, to Rev. Thomas O’Connor D.D., back then President of St Patrick’s College, Thurles, under an Indented Deed of Conveyance on March 25th, 1840, for the then free hold consideration of £200.00.


This South side of Cathedral Street (previously known as South Main Street, Thurles); its then house residents and their known occupations in 1846 (6 years after the purchase of ‘Turners Holding’, by Rev. Thomas O’Connor on behalf of St Patricks College) is shown hereunder:

No 56 – Catherine Toomy (Lodging House); No 55 – Margaret Dunn (Lodging Hse); No 54 – Mrs Ally Britton (Bakery); No 53 – Con Callanane (Bakery, Spirits, Grocery); No 52 – Margaret Cormack (Widow – home in disrepair); No 51 – John Tolphy (Windows partially built up. House from Dr O’Connor D.D.  No 51 & 52 to be thrown down & plans for a grand gate to be built leading to St.Patrick’s  College.); No 50 – Entrance to St.Patrick’s College; No 49 – Mrs Eliza Byrne; No 48 – Thomas Pew (Upper), Rev Pat Cahill (Lower); No 47 – Miss Ellen Ryan (Bonnet Maker); No 46 – Richard Molumby (Landlord of No 47 & 48); No 45 – Richard Hayes (Dyer & Wollen Manufacturer); No 44 – Edward Mathew (Bakery).

cathedral-street-south

Cathedral Street South, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, pictured today during the late evening, (Previously known as South Main Street, Thurles), showing, immediately left of picture, the area once known as ‘Turners Holding’.

Extract hereunder taken from the publication, “A History of the Rebellion of 1798,” by George Taylor.

“Rebels proceeded to the house of the Rev. Francis Turner, of Ballingale,[1] Rector of Edeermine,[2] a gentleman of excellent character; he had but just baptised a child, when the rebels surrounded the house with their usual yells, and immediately set the out-offices on fire.

[1] [In Co. Wexford, situated in the Civil Parish of Ballcarney following the N80; Bunclody to Enniscorthy route.]
[2] [Latter approx. 10 miles (18 km) Via N80 and N11 from Ballingale, Co. Wexford.]

Mr. Turner, looking out at the window, inquired what they wanted; on which they desired him to surrender his arms[3]. He refused to comply, and desired them to depart from his house. Persisting in their demand, he again replied that he would never surrender his arms but with his life, on which they fired through all the windows. Six or seven Protestants, who had fled to Mr. Turner’s house for safety, now determined to defend themselves to the last, and for a considerable time they made a most gallant resistance by incessantly firing out upon the rebels, who, now exasperated to the most extravagant fury, roared like beasts of prey.

[3] [Rebels were regularly visiting courthouses and listening to gentry seeking gun licences for game hunting, thus identifying houses where guns could be easily obtained for rebellious purposes.]

At length, Matthew Bulger, James Meagher, Denis Carty and another noted villain, with the greatest deliberation, waited till Mr. Turner came to the window to discharge his piece. The four levelled together, and blew off the side of his face. The other persons within, seeing him fall, ceased firing and in the excess of their grief, neglected to defend themselves further.

At this time Michael Keough, Mr. Turner’s own Proctor, [Representative of the clergy in a Church of England dioceses], a man that had always received from the family the most distinguished marks of real esteem, and was raised by them from poverty to a comfortable living, burst through the back window, and being followed by two others, set the study on fire ; while those without cut down the hall door, forced an entrance, and rushed up stairs, where they found the unfortunate gentleman senseless, and covered with blood.

They treated him with the most savage brutality, left him mangled to pieces,[4] murdered nine of his Protestant neighbours, two of whom were the sponsors, and one the father of the infant just baptised, and then set fire to the house. The body of Mr. Turner was consumed, and nothing of him was found afterwards but his bones. His family, and the children of his brother, Counsellor Turner, through the interposition of Providence, escaped.

[4] [Later reports stated that rebels pushed his dead body facing into the ground; stating that he was bound for Hell and they wished to “point him in the right direction.”]

Exulting in their sanguinary success, the rebels now plundered and burned all the Protestant dwellings round the country, and took post on Sleugh-boy hills, where the Carnew yeomanry, under the command of Captain Wainright and Lieutenant Bookey, brother to the brave officer who was the first victim of the rebellion in this county, attacked and dispersed them.” End.

It is worth noting, in relation to singular individuals and our law makers who operate in more modern so called civilised times, still pay little attention to the mid 19th century quote; “There are no pockets in a Shroud”(Shroud – cloth or enveloping garment once used to wrap a person before final burial), meaning that worldly wealth cannot be kept or indeed used following a visit from the “Grim Reaper”.

“The more things change, the more they remain the same”.  [Latter quote attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808 – 1890) ].

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