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Either honour or revenge; they commenced in an outrage, there was a man killed; then in order to retaliate they endeavoured to kill some one of the opposite faction, and this went on till the exertions of the clergy suppressed the faction.
“ Did those factions consist of families or clans ?-Extensive families united to each other by consanguinity and relations of different kinds.
Certain names went on one side, and other names on the other?-Yes ; Caffees and Ryans were the names of the persons engaged in the factions to which I have alluded; the Ryans were called Ruskavallas.
“ Besides their relations, did not their friends sometimes join ?-Yes.
“ You said their object was honour; in what way do you apply that word ?–I can hardly define what a person in such a situation of life as they were in would mean by honour; but I should think it would be better expressed by pride ; they wished to be superior to the opposite party.
They wished to gain honour by fighting and conquest ? Precisely so; they were vain of their superiority in strength.
Do they frequently fight?—They have repeatedly fought at the fairs and the race-course; wherever, in fact, one party met the other.
In what numbers do they meet to fight?-Sometimes three, four, five, or six hundred.
" Are they ever armed ?—They have had arms at the racecourse more than once, and at the fairs too.
Did not those battles often arise from no other cause than one party saying they were the strongest, and the other party saying they were the strongest ?—They originated often in the most trivial causes.
• Was the system connected with the late insurrection in any way ; did they take a part as factions in those disturbances ?-By no means.
“Do you think the system of factions is diminishing in the country ?—I think it is."—H. C., 1825, pp. 418-9.
The following statement furnishes the details re
specting the factions in the northern part of the county of Tipperary at the end of 1834.
Factions frequenting Fairs and Markets to fight, in the
following Baronies of the county of Tipperary.
Dingens and Dawsons.
Bog-boys and the Tubbens.
Brusna River.—There are no particular designations
ExplanATION. Ruskavalla is a district near Newport : people named Murnanes reside there, and have a long standing quarrel without any rational foundation with the Caffees. The Dingens have taken their name from a hill near their different dwellings; they consisted of “Kennedys,” “Ryans,” and “ Gleesans, of Kilmore, Ballinaclough, and Beneathen. The cause of the quarrel between those parties cannot be at present ascertained. The Dawsons are composed of “ Breens and Seymours," all of Duharrow, assisted by the mob of Nenagh, and have taken that name in opposition to the party calling themselves Dingen. The cause of the quarrel between these parties is, a woman named Seymour died; she was married to a man named Gleesan, the Seymours wanted to have her buried in their native churchyard, this the Gleesans opposed, then a serious battle ensued, in which two men were killed and others severely wounded at different periods up to the present. The Bootashees are the O'Briens. A leader of their party appeared in boots, and all his followers had pieces of leather or other material wrapped around their legs, tied with thongs, from which they obtained the name of Bootashees.
The Bootashees mostly reside in Ballywilliam, and Carrigatsher ; the Tubbers and Bogboys opposed to them are “ Kennedies and Hogans;" they reside in the parishes of Kilmore, Youghall, and Ballywilliam. The original cause of the quarrel was, that two small boys, one named Hogan and the other O'Brien, had been playing marbles ; the boys quarrelled, and one knocked down the other, when men, relatives of both, interfered and struck each other. This happened about thirty years ago, and from that period to the present, the factions have continued fighting at fairs and markets, and other public meetings.
The Bogboys were those living in and near the lands of Cappaghrue and bogs of Tulla, about four miles from Nenagh.
The Cumminses are a numerous body of men residing in the mountains, between Toomevana and Borrisaleigh. The Darrigs are Kellies and Kilmartins, who mostly reside on the line of road between Kilcommon and Borrisaleigh; they took that name from a man named Kelly, a leader, who had red hair and a florid complexion ; Darig signifies red.
At one time the local authorities encouraged factionfighting : it seemed to them that the people must necessarily raise their hands against some one ; and they thought that factions would serve the same purpose as the stone thrown by Cadmus among the earthborn warriors of Thebes, that of turning the violence of the combatants from themselves upon one another.
Major Willcocks :
“ Have you ever heard persons of respectability maintain that that sort of fighting at fairs ought rather to be encouraged than suppressed ?-I think I have heard of one instance of a respectable person in the county of Limerick encouraging it, but in any other county I do not think I have. • Was he a magistrate ?-He was.
Is it not considered rather a good sign in the country, that that is renewing ?—Some people think it a good thing to set the lower classes at variance.
“ Is it a matter of fact, that in the times of civil commotion,
when the minds of people are more particularly directed against the government, that these fightings are less frequent? I really think, that when we had reason to suppose that there might be something against the government, that those factions were very numerous ; that all are sworn that if there was any thing to break out against the government, or against the state, that then they would all unite and be of one party.
“ Are the fightings less frequent at those periods?—I think they are.
“ Have you ever heard any gentlemen in the country say, that it was a good sign that people were fighting each other, for that then they would not attack them, or words to that effect ?-I have heard gentlemen of the country say, and magistrates, that it was a good sign to see the lower classes at war with each other, for then it was not to be supposed that they were combining against the state. Have
known the civil force interfere upon those occasions at fairs, in order to put an end to commotion ?- Very frequently ; almost constantly.
“ In what light do people consider that interference ?—I do not think they like the interference; I think people, in many instances, do not wish to see that the magistrates, or people of that class in the country, were against them, or would take any steps to put them down.”—H. C., 1824, p. 112, 13.
F. Blackburne, Esq.:
“Do you happen to know whether that practice of fighting at fairs was formerly prevented, as it ought to have been, by the magistrates ?-I am persuaded it was not.
“ Since these disturbances have commenced in the country, fighting at fairs has been in a great measure discontinued ?-I believe, generally speaking, the effect of general associations has been to discontinue the number of fights at fairs.
“Explain to the Committee the reason.—Because it reconciles and unites, in the pursuit of a common object, conflicting leaders, and the persons who generally engage in those affrays.
« Is the Committee to understand that the magistrates are now more active than formerly, in repressing disturbances at fairs ?-I am convinced that they are.”—H. C., 1824, p. 19.
Occasionally the magistrates appear to have favoured the faction-leaders from corrupt motives.
Rev. M. Collins, Parish Priest of Skibbereen :
“ Did the leaders of factions sometimes keep the magistrates on their side, for the purpose of protecting them from punishment?—Yes; I recollect in the year 1815, factions were very prevalent in that part of the county, and several murders were committed; the magistrates found it expedient to interfere, and there was a meeting for the purpose of disarming those who had arms, the common people who had arms in their hands; they had guns, and pistols, and swords. The magistrates collected in the arms from the leaders of those factions, and then the public thanks were passed to a certain magistrate for his activity on that occasion ; yet I saw the leaders of those factions bringing away from the depôt of arms, swords that were given up, and flourishing the swords in their hands in consequence of the good terms on which they stood with the magistrate, by sending him potatoes and turf, and everything else necessary for the support of his house. I myself saw one of them flourishing a sword after getting it back: that man was afterwards found guilty of manslaughter in Cork; indeed I fear he was guilty of more than one murder at fairs. I know an instance in which, in consequence of fire-arms being in their hands, a murder was committed at the fair of Bawnlahen; and yet the persons guilty were allowed not merely to go armed to the fair, because they sent presents to magistrates, but because they sent presents to persons of rank, but in few cases; the same man who thus carried off the arms in triumph, through Skibbereen, some years afterwards committed a most atrocious murder in a fight; part of the people were running away, he overtook a man who fell prostrate, and he passed his bayonet through the man, and stuck it in the ground. “ How came he to have a bayonet, was he a yeoman ?