Saturday, 16 March 2013

Ballyshannon Imprisonments, Whippings and Transportation to Van Diemen´s Land

Happy St.Patrick's Day from Ballyshannon to readers in the 30 countries connected to this Ballyshannon Musings blog. Some are from the Ballyshannon area,some have family roots in the area and some have connections to the area. Hope the blog keeps you connected with the Ballyshannon area and that you might make it home for the Year of the Gathering. Anthony Begley. 

Ballyshannon Imprisonments, Whippings and Transportation to Van Diemen’s Land

Theft of property was viewed very seriously in the past and those brought before the courts faced very severe sentences including being transported to Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land). Five of those named below were from the Ballyshannon area and were transported for various acts of stealing. They were sent to prison in Australia on the other side of the world.

 Damage to property could result in a jail sentence and a public whipping through the streets of Ballyshannon as the first case below indicates

The most bizarre and cruel charge was that against inmates who had escaped from the Workhouse in Ballyshannon and their crime was? ---you’d never guess!

Prison and Public Whipping through Ballyshannon

In 1823 John McGarrigle, James McEntire, Charles Judge, Michael and Owen McGarrigle were charged with pulling down a house near Ballyshannon the property of Mary McGarrigle. All found guilty and were to be imprisoned for a year. They were also to be publicly whipped through the town of Ballyshannon from the Bridge to the Fair Green on the following days- 12th April, 21st June, and 18th September.

Transported to Van Diemen’s Land

In 1824 Alicia Leonard and Margaret alias Mary McManus were sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing wearing apparel in Ballyshannon. On 7th August 1833 Margaret McShee stole three dresses belonging to Margaret McAdden a dressmaker in Ballyshannon. She was before Donegal Assizes in March 1834 and was sentenced to be transported for 7 years.
On the 23rd of July 1840 at Donegal Assizes, Thomas Mc Cann was arrested for stealing wearing apparel at Ballyshannon on the 14th of July. The prisoner pleaded guilty and he said that he was in liquor at the time. His lordship said that in consequence of his being of good behaviour before that date he would sentence him to be transported for seven years! Seven years!!
Ellen Maguire was charged with having stolen goods on her person. She was sentenced to seven years transportation


Rose Doherty was found in David Carter’s shop with intention to steal and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. David Carter was the editor of the local newspaper called “The Ballyshannon Herald” and also owned a shop selling a variety of stationery on Castle Street in the town.
Terence McCawley was convicted for stealing a pig and was sentenced to four months imprisonment.

A Shocking Sentence for a Bizarre Offence

What charge was brought against some inmates from the Workhouse?

A number of inmates from Ballyshannon Workhouse were brought to the court and charged with theft. They had absconded from the workhouse at different intervals and were charged with stealing the workhouse clothes which they were wearing at the time! Life was certainly tough for those poor inmates.

Next Blogs: 

Ballyshannon Musings from Australia to Zambia will be posted on 23rd March.
“Eamon de Valera’s Late Late Rally in the Diamond Ballyshannon” will be posted on 30th March.

The Gathering in Ballyshannon: Google “The Gathering in Ballyshannon” for more details of special events you might like to attend later in the year. Lots happening in Ballyshannon in the summertime including festivals also Ballyshannon 400 celebrating the granting of a town charter in 1613 and the commemoration of the Kildoney Fishermen’s victory in1933.

Ballyshannon Musings:  Please let people with an interest in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas know about this site, particularly people who are not living locally and those who are abroad. The site is called Ballyshannon Musings and there are a number of back issues available on the internet. Copy this link and forward The site can be located on the internet (or by connecting to my Facebook page). New items will be posted every week or two on Ballyshannon Musings during 2013, the year of “The Gathering”. The blogs are not taken from the book below

A New Local History suitable for those at Home and Away 

Anthony Begley, local historian, published a new book entitled: "Ballyshannon. Genealogy and History" which reveals newly researched history and genealogy of the town, extending as far as the Rossnowlagh, Cashelard, Corlea, Clyhore, Higginstown and Finner areas. Includes the parishes of Kilbarron and Magh Ene.
The genealogy material provides detailed guidelines for anyone tracing their roots in the area or anywhere in County Donegal or Ireland. The book contains 500 pages and is richly illustrated with stunning colour, aerial photography, original illustrations and rare photographs of the area not seen before.

Topics include: How to go about Tracing your Roots/The first settlers in the area/ Newly researched history of the town of Ballyshannon and the townlands in Kilbarron and Mágh Éne parishes/ Records of the first travellers and tourists to Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Belleek and Ballintra/An aerial guide to place names along the Erne from Ballyshannon to the Bar/Flora and Fauna of the area/ A history of buildings and housing estates in the locality/Graveyard Inscriptions from the Abbey graveyard, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s /Rolling back the years with many memories of the Great Famine, Independence strugglle, hydro-electric scheme, Gaelic games, boxing, handball, Boy Scouts, soccer, mummers, characters, organisations, folklore and lots more.

Book Available from The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon/ The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town or can be mailed by Anthony Begley West Rock Ballyshannon. tel. 0872351044. Enquiries welcome.

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