Fáilte Romhat

  Clonakilty and the Orange Order

Clonakilty and the Orange Order


My thanks to Jean Prendergast for this information.


(HC 21/4/1800) – CORK, MONDAY – APRIL 21 - ….. concern and regret to every honest and liberal mind to learn that a great number of the Actions, &c., tried this Assizes in the County, before the … General, have originated in the spirit of … as intolerance, and bigoted animosity; we ….. some consolation in being able to state, that the baleful influence of this malignant spirit, seems not to have extended itself beyond the narrow precincts of the little town of Clonakilty. And we trust the verdict obtained by Mr. White last Saturday, will have the happy effect of doing away every vestige of party and prejudice in that hitherto distracted and ill-fated town.

In the case we allude to, Mr. White, an honest and industrious Roman Catholic, Shop-keeper of Clonakilty, was Plaintiff, Mr. Philip Donovan, Deputy Recorder, and ___ Spiller, of the same place were Defendants. The case as stated by Mr. Keller for the Plaintiff, and supported by the clearest evidence, was in substance as follows:

On Saturday, the 28th of last September, White gave his daughter in Marriage, to a Mr. T. Sullivan of this City; and as usual on such occasions, invited a few friends to dine and spend the following evening with him. The whole party, men and women, did not exceed eight or nine. – About 9 o clock on Sunday night, such of the party as were not to sleep at White’s retired. – Those who remained were peaceably at supper about 10 o clock, when Messrs. Phil. Donovan, and ___ Spiller with a guard, entered the House, and after some altercation, secured White, and a Mr. O Hea, carried them to the Guard-house, & committed them to the custody of the Military, where they were detained till one or two o clock next morning, when they were liberated through the humanity of Major Fellers, commanding officer of Clonakilty: but what would appear incredible, if not established by the uncontradicted testimony of three witnesses, is that after White and O Hea were committed to the Guard-house, Donovan returned to White’s house, sat down with the remaining part of the company and partook of the supper from which he had hurried away the honest provider. He entered into familiar chat with the Bride and Bridegroom, and told them that he would not have committed their Father, were it not for his threatening to write to Lord Boyle, and lay before him the whole transaction. He declared that he was placed in a most disagreeable situation, that he was between Hell and Heaven, (meaning as we believe, between Orangemen and Catholics,) and that he would not have come to the house that night, had he not been called upon by Spiller, who he said, was a dangerous man, and who would have put him down as a Croppy, if he refused. – ‘Policy, said Donovan, ‘obliges me to act the part I do;  in heart and sentiment I am one of yourselves and I will convince the world one day that I am of the good old faith, for upon my oath I will die a staunch Roman Catholic.’

When the Witness mentioned this part of Donovan’s conversation, much mirth was excited in Court. After the examination of a few Witnesses on the part of the Defendants, the Solicitor General charged the jury in a manner that did equal honour to his head and heart. His voice was the voice of  justice and humanity. The Jury, then which the County could not produce a more respectable, retired for a few minutes and brought in a verdict for the Plaintiff 200l damages, and six pence costs.

It is not for us to comment on this business. – We leave that to the Whipcord Editor who attempted to be so very witty on a similar business brought forward at a late Sessions. His reputation for Impartiality is so well established, we doubt not he will give us a Fair a Representation of this affair, as his worthy Friend Dr. Duigenan did of Ireland


(HC 17/7/1800) – CORK We have deeply to lament the accumulation of new mischiefs from the institution of Orange Lodges amongst the lower orders of the people in this County. That peace of which we proudly boasted, the modest, but enviable reward of tried loyalty, seems to be banished for a time from amongst us, and we are now in our turn cursed with that pestilence which having scourged one portion of this kingdom, seems like the enmity of Providence to visit the other with aggravated evils. Invasion we braved – rebellion we stood in array against. We have outlined both; but there is yet a conquest left for the triumph of Christian charity, which if it cannot be effected by the mild influence of precept, ought to be achieved by the strong and impartial arm of the law. On Saturday the 12th Inst in the evening, a number of the labouring inhabitants of Ross Carbery, in this County, has assembled for the purpose of drawing home for a Mr. Dan Donovan, a large piece of timber for a mill-shaft. While they stood in the street a gang of men who called themselves ORANGE MEN, attacked them without any provocation whatever. Roused by so gross and offensive an aggression, these poor men resisted the attack, and their numbers prevailing over the weapons of their antagonists, the Orange Men abandoned the contest, and the matter was supposed to be altogether terminated. About midnight however, the town was entered by a Corps of Orange Yeomanry from a neighbouring town, who assisted by their brotherhood at Ross, broke into the houses of the Catholic inhabitants, many of whom they made prisoners, having dragged them from their beds, and a number of shots being fired into the houses, and several prisoners being cut and maimed after their apprehension, a scene of dismay of the most affecting kind took place. Several vouchers to sustain this statement, and solemnly given, have been laid before us. But we think it not our duty to enter into the particulars of a transaction which is about to be a subject of legal investigation. We should not have offended the Public eye with a narrative so unworthy and disgraceful to the Country; if it had not been promulgated with some party acrimony from another quarter, and while we condemn the party spleen which has given a false bias to the matter, we have for ourselves as lovers of the Public quiet, and maintainers of the law of the land, to deprecate that and every other circumstance, which in its effect or tendency has any evil operation on the repose of a harassed and disturbed country. [See below, ***]

Committed to the county Gaol,

***By Sir John Freke, Bart., CORNELIUS HAYES, JEREMIAH DEMPSEY, PETER CAIN, and DANIEL HURLEY, charged with riotously assembling with several others and committing several acts of outrage in the town of Ross, and with being concerned in assaulting and wounding Isaac Hewit, and Parker Roche.


***(HC 21/7/1800) – CORK To the Editor of the Hibernian Chronicle, - SIR, …I have therefore no hesitation in soliciting a corner in your loyal and independent Paper, for the insertion of the following QUERIES; plain and honest answers to which, from either friend or foe, may serve to throw new-light on the real state of Party-business in this distracted county, and will be attentively listened to by – Your inquisitive Friend, - PADDY CURIOUS, - Great-Britain-street [Cork], - July 17, 1800


I.                    If at Rosscarbery an infuriate mob of upwards of One Thousand, with CON Hayes a Country Butcher amongst them, attacked an Orange Party, consisting of Sixteen only, with the most savage barbarity, how did it happen that not one of them lost either life or limb?

II.                 If upwards of one thousand of the Heroes who distinguished themselves on the first July, with one or two City Butchers among them, had only Sixteen Anti-Orangemen to wreak their vengeance on, would they have escaped as well?

III.               It upwards of one Thousand, at the present price of Whiskey, drank three Guineas worth amongst them, must not the whole party have been dreadfully intoxicated?

IV.              Will not all who remember the Clonakilty Causes tried at the last Assizes, readily admit that a more proper Body of Men could not have been chosen to settle the business of Rosscarbery than the Clonakilty Yeomanry?

V.                 Tho’ some members of that corps may pretend to be Orange men, are they not in heart and sentiment Rank Papists?

VI.              Is not one of them sworn to die in the good old Faith?

VII.            As it seems customary with these Clonakilty heroes, to finish the good fare, from which they force away the providers, (witness poor White’s wedding supper), did they come in for any share of the three guineas worth of drink?

VIII.         By whom, and at what time was Dan Donovan taken prisoner at Rosscarbery?

IX.              If Sir John Freke admitted him to bail, what has been sworn against him?

X.                 Which party feels happier at the near approach of the Assizes, the Whipcord Editor with his immaculate and peace-making Advertiser, or Dan Donovan, with his treasonable and seditious Mill-shaft?

XI.              Does not the present conduct of the Orangemen of this county, convince every impartial person, that they were sincere in their declarations, when they asserted that they signed for the Union, from a charitable desire of removing all religious animosity and dissention?

XII.            Will they not sooner or later be convinced that HONESTY WOULD HAVE BEEN THE BEST POLICY?


(HC 4/8/1800) – CORK We were somewhat alarmed on hearing that the Orange Mastiff began to snarl on Tuesday evening last, and threatened to become quite furious by Thursday night, but he has, it seems, been muzzled by his Keepers. This animal, at all times vicious, frequently betrays symptoms of real madness, and it is not a little singular that on these occasions, he always attempts to bite a Priest or a Papist. Not long since he attempted to bite a Mr. Dan Donovan, of the West, but we are happy to inform our readers that on Saturday he began to fawn on that gentleman, and there is every reason to hope that through the vigilance of the Kennel keepers he will soon become quite harmless.

Quere – Mr. Advertiser, what Dan Donovan was it that gave Three Guineas to drink to the men who drew the mill-shaft from Benduff to Ross?