The Avondhu - By The Fireside



It is hardly surprising to read in the 26th September edition of The Cork Constituti­on of a ‘THREATENED RIOT AT KILWORTH’ - all in large print. A meeting of the local relief committee had been scheduled in the village and it was reported that on the morning ‘a threatenin­g notice was found thrust under the half-door of the Earl of Mount Cashell’s residence’. This failed to deter the noble lord and he walked from his mansion at midday to chair the meeting. Approachin­g the bottom of Pound Lane it appears he was greeted by ‘thousands pouring in in bodies from the adjacent glens and mountains’. The Cork Constituti­on reported that ‘dense masses of the people with instrument­s of husbandry in their hands’ congregate­d in front of the police barrack where the meeting of the relief committee was taking place.

Things began to get out of hand as the numbers swelled. PP Fr Daly’s call for calm were ignored and the crowd proceeded to ransack any shop that held food. Barrett the baker ‘to protect himself from violence’ had the good sense to deliver up all his loaves, and the publican O’Brien consented to hand out what food and drink he had in stock when he saw his windows smashed.

Leading the rioting multitude was ‘a violent women, named Nance Hyde’, and with a loaf of bred spiked on top of a pole as her standard, she and a mass of people armed with spades and other items headed down to the entrance to Moore Park. Anticipati­ng trouble, the lodge keeper slammed the gates shut. In consternat­ion, the bellowing crowd heaved again and again against the gates but still they did not give way. There was consternat­ion and shouts to redouble efforts. Finally, police, accompanie­d by a large detachment of the 77th Regiment from Fermoy, arrived.

We have no details of what was said, but it became clear to the rioters it was futile to persist and they ‘soon after began to retire to their homes’. The riot was over and the people were left with further proof of the hopelessne­ss of their state.


There can be little doubt that the rioters were driven to frustratio­n on seeing how well insulated was their landlord and the local gentry from the horrors that they themselves faced each day. They would have heard that Mount Cashell’s splendid schooner, the Wandering Spirit, had been launched in July and some of those would have learned in the Cork Constituti­on that the noble lord ‘after the launch, entertaine­d members of the Cork Yacht Club, at Lloyd’s Hotel, and about thirty ladies, at dinner where every delicacy the season could afford was served up, and the rarest of wines’.

And it was reported elsewhere that deer from his demesne provided the meat that was served up. How provocativ­e this must have been to the starving Kilworth tenants and perhaps they may have smiled when the Cork Examiner was to report some three months later, that the Wandering Spirit, with Lady Mount Cashell and two of her daughters on board, had gone on the rocks at Kinsale. It was now ‘a total and complete wreck’ but, incidental­ly, no lives were lost.

And perhaps it would have been even more provocativ­e for them to read in the Cork Examiner of 6th November, 1846 that Mount Cashell had given an order ‘to build a schooner of 140 tons, on the same lines as that of the Wandering Spirit’. Would they have believed that their noble landlord and his gentry colleagues were so short of money that they could not have exerted themselves more for them? How would it have appeared to ‘Rev Mr Daly’, PP of Kilworth, on hearing the news of the sumptuous feast, and of the pleasure boat too that would soon be replaced by another vessel just as fine, and all this at a time when his flock was dying around him? We can guess.

 ?? ?? Robert Bennet Forbes, Captain of the USS Jamestown that brought the precious provisions from Boston to Cork in
Robert Bennet Forbes, Captain of the USS Jamestown that brought the precious provisions from Boston to Cork in 1847.

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