It was inevitable that Michael O’Donohoe, son of Castleisland Garda, Matt, and a former resident of Barrack Lane, should take an interest in the military history of the town.
The collection holds material on the general development of law and order in the Castleisland district including notes on the barracks, bridewell and courthouse and notes relating to social control for the period 1680 – ‘It was felt that a company of troops quartered in Castleisland would benefit the town and keep control over the local rebels or tories’ – to 1843, ‘No yeomanry corps in Castleisland’.
There is also record of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) including the resignation, on 18 April 1887, of thirteen RIC constables stationed in and near Castleisland who opposed the new Criminal Law and Procedure Bill.
Their action was applauded by Daniel Crilly, MP for North Mayo, during an open-air demonstration held at the Crown Hotel.
Patrick McDonagh, Skreen, Co Sligo
One of the resigning constables, Patrick McDonagh, addressed the crowd and said that if he was ‘forced to go hewing timber in the wilds of Manitoba or coal picking in the mines of Pennsylvania’ his mind would at least be undisturbed by the thought he had done injury to ‘the poor widow and orphans who would be left homeless’.
Patrick McDonagh did not make it to the coal mines or, like his colleagues, to a clothing house. The New York press recorded how:
The twelve Irish ex-constables from Castleisland, county Kerry who were engaged at fifteen dollars a week each for six months by a Bowery clothing house entered upon their duties this morning. The thirteenth became insane shortly after leaving the other side and had to be put in a strait-jacket on board. He is now in the asylum on Ward’s Island. His name is Patrick M’Donogh and conversation with his comrades today, developed a romance as the cause of his mental trouble. M’Donogh it appears fell in love with a maid who was in a convent near the barracks at Castleisland. It broke his heart to leave her and made him a maniac at sea.1
Information on RIC officers can be garnered from Michael O’Donohoe’s register of the children of constabulary officers compiled from school registers, with index. The material can be accessed below.
Ten page register with index of children of RIC men extracted from roll books. Information organised into columns by Surname (Anderson to Williams), Name, Enrolled Convent, Off Rolls, Enrolled Boys, Off Rolls, Father & Occupation
Three page document entitled ‘Yeomanry and Constabulary’ contains chronologically organised notes assembled from a number of sources relating to law enforcement for the period 1680 – ‘It was felt that a company of troops quartered in Castleisland would benefit the town and keep control over the local rebels or tories’ – to 1843, ‘No yeomanry corps in Castleisland’
Four pages of notes on the constabulary, bridewell and courthouse in the Castleisland district for the period 1798 to 1930s
1 IE MOD/63 & IE MOD/64. Kerry Evening Post, 1 June 1887. Patrick, son of J McDonagh of Skreen, Co Sligo, later returned to Ireland: 'He improved very much on the homeward voyage and is quite as rational as ever and expresses his intention of joining his companions in spring. The twelve other ex-policemen are still in the large clothing warehouse in New York in which they first found employment.'