Search Results for 'Sheriff'
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On the eve of the Great Famine there was a terrible scandal in Kinvara, Co Galway. William Burke, who had served as a Catholic priest for 13 years, announced to his congregation that he was leaving the church and becoming Protestant. The people were so angry that about 2,000 pursued his carriage and hurled abuse at him. Two other clergymen and police protection were required to keep him safe.
The High Sheriff of Mayo was the British Crown’s representative in the county from the post’s creation in 1583 until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. In a country where ownership of land carried huge prestige, the landed had to protect what they held by securing positions of power. So it was in County Mayo that the dominant families of Browne, Bingham and Gore isolated the role of High Sheriff largely for themselves up until the 19th century at least, from which time family names such as O’Donel, Knox, Blake and others appear in the records as holders of the office.
‘The capital, Galway, is a terrible place. It has of course St Nicholas, one of the few remaining pre-Reformation churches; the frontispiece of a Renaissance town house erected as a gateway to the public park; and a medieval fortified house about which they tell the well-known story of the Lynch who hanged his own son when the sheriff wasn't available. At least once a year while I was director of the Abbey theatre we got a play on that. From Miss Edgeworth's account of her travels to Galway it would appear that as a theme for tragedy it was popular a hundred years ago. But even before that I had a lively hatred of the town....'
Galwegians who have not paid the Local Property Tax are being threatened with a visit from the sheriff, the withholding of tax clearance certificates, and that money will be taken money from payments such as social welfare.
On the night of August 18, 1882, five members of one family, John Joyce, his wife Brighid, his mother Mairéad, his daughter Peigí, and his son Micheál, were murdered in Maamtrasna on the Galway/Mayo border. The motive for this multiple murder is unclear, but John was suspected of sheep stealing, his mother of being an informer, and his daughter of cavorting with the RIC who would have been the natural enemy of the locals. Two members of the family survived the horrific attack; a nine-year-old boy, Patsy, who was badly injured, and his older brother Máirtín who was working for a family in a neighbouring farm on the night.
Artists can be very awkward at times. They don’t always conform to decisions made on their behalf. They rarely behave nicely if they disagree with authority.
The Great Famine of 1845-51 was, the Galway historian Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh tells us*, ‘a subsistence crisis, and a social calamity without parallel in the 19th century. It resulted in more than 1,000,000 dying of starvation and related diseases; and it ‘precipitated a virtual tidal wave of emigration that would see 4,000,000 flee the country during the following 20 years’.
STARTING IN the early seventies and continuing for about 20 years, there was a continuous migration into Galway of extraordinary “blow ins” whose genius and drive transfigured the cultural life of the city.
It was something of a red letter day at Kenny’s Gallery last Friday with the dual launch of a major new exhibition by sculptor John Behan, and a terrific book celebrating the artist, by NUIG’s Adrian Frazier, entitled John Behan: The Bull of Sheriff Street - The Life and Work of an Irish Sculptor and published by Lilliput Press.
"SOME OF those who already know about John Behan would think of him as without question a Dubliner. For others, after forty years there, he is a fundamental part of Galway."