Poff and Barrett, and the ‘Gallows Government’ of Lord Spencer

Shortly before the December 1882 trials of Sylvester Poff and James Barrett, Earl Spencer, the newly appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, acquired another ‘title’ – The Gallows Earl.   It seems to have been ‘created’ soon after his official entry into Dublin on 6 May 1882 – evidently in the wake of the hanging, in September 1882, of Francis Hynes.[1]


The Sugawn Earl the English dubbed a prince
Most famous in the Desmond genealogy;
The Gallows Earl – the gall’d jade needn’t wince –
A nickname is from recenter analogy.
If rope of straw ennobles whoso’s worn it
A hempen collar sure’s a prettier coronet.[2]


Poff and Barrett suffered the same fate as Francis Hynes on 23 January 1883 when they were hanged simultaneously, side-by-side, in Tralee Jail.


Site of the former Tralee Jail, where the innocent Poff and Barrett were hanged simultaneously, and where their bones lie in an unmarked grave  Image © Castleisland District Heritage


In March 1883, Irish Nationalist Patrick Egan (1841-1919), domiciled in America, claimed that a Dublin Castle official had admitted that Francis Hynes and Poff and Barrett, as well as Michael Walsh and Myles Joyce, were victims of injustice.  In the case of Walsh, Judge Lawson had placed the black cap on the bench before the jury returned their verdict.[3]


‘Nine-tenths of the Irish people’ believed in the innocence of the hanged men:


The guilt of Francis Hynes, of Walsh, and Myles Joyce, of Poff and Barrett, was certainly not proved.  Their innocence is believed in by nine-tenths of the Irish people and, indeed, in more than one of the cases has been tentatively admitted by the government.  These men were done to death not for the ends of justice but to satisfy this craving for vengeance of the governing class.[4]


One commentator divulged a secret from the jury room:


The conviction of these men was obtained by the most flagrant jury-packing … one of the sayings which escaped the secrecy of the jury-room – ‘hang them all’ – and nearly caused another death is significant of the temper in which the life or death of the prisoners was discussed.  By no straining of language could the trials be called fair – a drumhead court-martial would be fairer because it’s honester.[5]


The Gallows Government of Earl Spencer’


Earl Spencer had previously held the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1868-1874 (Gladstone). His performance then of ceremonial, social and State duties rendered him ‘highly popular’ and on his departure in 1874, he was presented with an address from the Corporation of Dublin testifying to the success of his tenure of office.[6]


His style of administration during his second term, however, which came during the Land War, was described as despotic and brutal, ‘a gallows government.’[7]  He rapidly became the focus of hate, the soubriquet Gallows Jack or Foxy Jack was coined to vilify and ridicule him:


While Erin is sadly bearin’
A single link of oppression’s chain,
Our proud endeavour will be for ever
To end her grief and to ease her pain.
We’ll give our nation its rightful station
Despite each tyrant and slavish hack,
Each vain romancer, and Castle dancer –
And there’s our answer to Foxy Jack.[8]


His name appeared in many compositions.  The Foxy Tax-Gatherer was set to the air of When Johnny Comes Marching Home:


Arrah!  What’s the matter with Foxy Jack?
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
And what can make him look so black?
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
Has he seen the ghosts of the murdered men,
Or has O’Brien been at him again,
Or T.D.S with poetical pen,
That Foxy looks so low?

Sure, don’t you know the reason well?
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
Poor Foxy Jack has got a ‘sell’
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
He sent in Limerick’s little bill
(Not thinking they would take it ill)
But the council calmly locked the till
And whispered, ‘Not for Joe.’

So what do you think but the Foxy sinner,
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
Invited the council up to dinner,
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
But for obvious reasons they ‘fought shy’
Of Castle wine and Castle pie,
The mayor cried out, ‘It’s all my eye’ 
So hang the foot they’d go.

He offered them a large discount,
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
But he’ll have to squash the whole amount,
Ha Ha, Ho Ho!
For never a penny he’ll make them pay,
If he tried from this to the Judgment Day –
And before that time I venture to say,
The Fox will have gone below.[9]


Target: Earl Spencer, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was frequently lampooned


Southern Tour of 1884


In September 1884, Earl Spencer passed through Castleisland during his Southern Tour.  The entourage had departed from Lord Kenmare’s mansion in Killarney en route to Listowel via Castleisland early that morning.   At the entrance to the town, the Earl was greeted with stony silence, and a stark message on a banner:


On the right as the town is entered, the ruins of the ancient Castle of Desmond is fast crumbling to decay, but its sudden apparition in its bygone magnificence could hardly have amazed him more than the sudden appearance of a black flag bearing the words: Murder – Remember Poff and Barrett displayed from the first house he met by Mrs Poff, the widow of him who was executed on the 23 January 1883 … When the ominous symbol floated in the breeze the crowd raised a suppressed cheer and lapsed into passive silence as the Lord Lieutenant passed.  There were one or two boos heard uttered by some parties on the outskirts of the crowd.[10]


It was on this fateful occasion that P D Kenny, President of Castleisland National League, found himself in the new Roman Catholic Church face-to-face with Spencer, and accepting a handshake that would soil if not ruin his future.[11]


The handshake was alluded to in a general summary of the ‘detested’ Earl’s tour:


The Earl’s Mazeppa ride through the South was a dreary Iliad of cold shoulders and black flags where he received not a salute that was not paid for out of the Consolidated Fund, not a dinner except one provided by a policeman whose job was in danger, and not one unbought shake hands, except one which was publicly apologised for.[12]


One reporter conceded a cheer had occurred at the end of the Earl’s tour:


Foxy Jack got one respectable cheer.  That was in the Cork lunatic asylum.[13]


In the wake of the hostile reception, Earl Spencer rigorously pursued policy:


Foxy Jack paid off the men of Kerry for their coldness to him while he was among them lately.  He proclaimed the meeting which was to have been held on Sunday at Burradow [Barraduff], not far from Killarney.  Perhaps, after all, it was not in revenge he suppressed the projected demonstration.  The Earl of Kenmare was at home, and a gathering of discontented tenants might have been disturbing to that aristocratic landlord’s feelings.[14]


As another journalist put it:


Earl Spencer, with the scratch of a pen, can put liberty of speech under his horse’s hoof.  In a very short proclamation he threatened the people of Kerry that if they dared to meet at Barraduff he would have their disobedience punished by a volley of buckshot.[15]


Despite the proclamation, a gathering took place:


On Sunday some seven hundred people assembled, including the village congregation, although the little hamlet of Barraduff containing two public-houses and seven dwellings lies in the midst of mountain and morass.  Thousands were expected, if the meeting were held, from Millstreet, Kingwilliamstown, Knocknagree, Rathmore, Killarney and Glenflesk districts, &c, had the meeting not been proclaimed.  About 100 policemen, under C P Crane, District Inspector, and Messrs McDermott and Considine, RMs, were present.  Mr Coltsman, DL, drove through during the afternoon.  A private meeting was held by the promoters of the projected public demonstration … the police authorities appeared to have no cognisance of the private meeting.[16]


Dublin Castle Scandal


Earl Spencer’s reputation continued to nosedive amid growing cracks in his administration.  As the year 1884 drew to a close, it was observed that ‘Foxy Jack’ had returned to Dublin from London and had been received, ‘not by a cheering crowd, but by lancers and policemen who obey orders in silence.’[17] In Cork, a meeting of the town board to nominate a magistrate resolved against formal contact with Dublin Castle ‘that place of abominations.’[18]


The ‘abominations’ related to a homosexual scandal involving James Ellis French, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Dublin Castle and County Inspector for Cork.[19]  French was jailed, and in Wexford, at a National League meeting at Monamolin, it was resolved to congratulate Thomas Murphy, District Inspector RIC, ‘for his manliness in helping to unmask the nest of vipers that infested Dublin Castle thereby incurring the enmity of Foxy Jack and his parasites to such an extent that Mr Murphy was compelled resign his position.’[20]


Thomas Murphy, who joined the force on 10 December 1866 and who served for a time at Listowel, claimed he was persecuted and driven out of the force for giving information about French, and breaking up the ‘infamous gang which infested the city’:


To a very considerable extent the public owes the recent exposure of Castle rule and of the morals of the Castle officials to the late District Inspector Murphy, brother of Mr Michael Murphy, Ballygarrett … There are few men who would have the manhood to sacrifice the competence they have spent a long time in acquiring for the sake of public morality.[21]


As the year 1885 dawned, so did flagrant objection to the Lord Lieutenant.  At a meeting of the Navan branch of the League in February 1885, a notice was signed by farmers warning the master of the Meath hounds that if Earl Spencer continued to hunt in the county all hunting would in future be prohibited.[22]


William Hoey Kearney Redmond, MP, speaking on the subject of foxhunting at a League meeting in Nurney, said, ‘If there was a meet to hunt Foxy Jack out of the country, he would willingly act as whipper in.’[23]


In this climate of ill feeling and condemnation came a Royal Visit.


The Royal Visit


On 7 April 1885, Tim Healy MP, speaking at the Central Branch of the Land League about the visit of the Prince of Wales to Lord Spencer, warned that the Prince should know that the Irish people would connect the Prince with friendship with ‘hangman’ Spencer – a man who promoted by his packed juries the execution of men like Poff and Barrett.


The following day, the Royal Procession took place:


It was rather humiliating for Foxy Jack that he could not accompany Albert Edward through the streets in procession.  If he had driven along with the Prince there would have been hisses of which Wales would have had to bear a share.  The foxy one therefore preceded the Prince and took all the hisses to himself.[24]


Scenes from the Royal Visit of April 1885 in the contemporary press which includes the Royal Itinerary, April 8th to 27th


It was suggested that the presence of the Prince of Wales in Ireland was ‘stirring up bad blood and turmoil’ and the only way the Prince could earn the goodwill of the people was by ‘scuttling out of the country.’[25]


The royal visit included an excursion to Kerry.[26] The guest list at Kenmare House where the royal party dined did not go unnoticed:


Father O’Leary had the honour of dining at Kenmare House with the Prince, Princess, and Princeling.  And who, you will ask, is Father O’Leary? … The Rev gentleman who played a voluntary on the convent organ on the famous day when Mr Kenny of Castleisland so lost his ‘presence of mind’ as to shake hands with the Gallows Earl!  From that day to this the Kerry hills have resounded with the fame of ‘Spencer’s piper’ and the Gallows Earl, in laying a knife and fork for him at Kenmare House, was only ‘paying the piper.’[27]


When the Prince and Princess of Wales and Prince Albert Victor left Killarney House for Dublin, the train journey between Killarney and Limerick was marked by unpleasant scenes.  At Listowel, where the train stopped for a few minutes, they encountered a great display of flags, among them ‘Remember Poff and Barrett’ and ‘Avoid Foxy Jack.’[28]


It was determined that overall, the Royal Visit allowed the Prince of Wales to witness ‘the silence of a whole people’:


With their bishops, priests, and leaders in mute array, and when their silence was not sufficiently eloquent, he heard them hiss and break like the angry waves of the sea.[29]


‘The Land he Failed to Rule’


The ridiculing of Earl Spencer continued unabated.  At a sale of distrained cattle in Millstreet a young bull belonging to Patrick Buckley of Tullig was repurchased on his behalf, outbidding an emergency man.  When the bull was turned out of the pound, it was labelled Foxy Jack and decked out in green ribbons and calico.[30]


In June 1885, one observer in Phoenix Park, during celebrations for Queen Victoria’s birthday, remarked on the trying times ‘that miserable man Foxy Jack’ was having, and ‘the general absence of recognition of him among so enormous an assemblage.’[31]


By the end of the month of June, Earl Spencer, ‘The Gallows Earl’, was preparing to depart from Ireland.  The news came as a relief to the Irish people:


There is one eviction we hail with delight, namely that of Foxy Jack from Dublin Castle and we congratulate the Irish Party in having driven from the capital of our island this tyrant in the hope he will never again plant his foot upon our blessed soil.[32]


Dublin Castle, remarked one reporter, would be in need of cleansing:


In wishing goodbye to Foxy Jack, the executioner of Myles Joyce and Poff and Barrett, we would wish to remind his successor, whoever he may be, that he will want to get that place thoroughly disinfected before he ventures to take up his quarters there.[33]


Around the country, many resolutions were passed expressing satisfaction at the news:


We feel a sense of relief in the knowledge that the Gallows Earl or Crimes Act Jack has left our land.  It is our earnest wish that he may never return.[34]


One writer bade farewell to Satan, and another pitied the poor man who had to carry Earl Spencer’s ‘load of halters’ from Irish shores.[35]


In Cork, Daniel O’Herlihy, using the pseudonym Harry Hoothim, published Foxy Jack, a collection of poems and songs ‘as a parting salute to the departing despot.’[36]  O’Herlihy had his own grievance with Earl Spencer.  In 1883, he had been arrested and imprisoned on false charges of complicity in the conspiracy to dynamite buildings in Liverpool.  He was imprisoned in Cork and subsequently in Walton Jail, Liverpool.  He was tried in August 1883 with four others at the Liverpool Assizes but Justice Stephens found no case against him and acquitted him.  During his imprisonment, he lost his livelihood which included an ink factory and work in a flour store and assurance society.  He applied to the Home Office for compensation but Sir William Vernon Harcourt refused same.[37]


Departure of ‘Crimes Act Jack’


On Saturday 27 June 1885, Earl Spencer began his journey to England:


At 10.30am on Saturday Earl Spencer drove from the Viceregal Lodge to Dublin Castle with his private secretary and aide-de-camp and an escort of the 16th Lancers.  At twelve o’clock the approaches to Dublin Castle were occupied by military and mounted police in review dress, and the streets leading to the railway station rapidly filled with people to witness the departure of Earl and Countess Spencer on vacating the Irish Vice-royalty consequent on a change of government.[38]


Shortly after two o’clock, the earl and countess, ‘having bade adieu to the Castle officials,’ left the Castle and drove in a State carriage to the railway station:


Though the cheering on the threshold of the Castle exceeded the hissing, a painful suspense immediately followed and was then succeeded by a most regrettable incident.  The father of the convict Poole, who was executed for the murder of the man Kenny, on catching sight of Earl Spencer and the countess in their carriage, wildly waved his arms about and after a wild boo, cried out, ‘You are the man who murdered my son.’  The action of Poole attracted the immediate attention of the bystanders who commenced to hoot the Viceroy.[39]


‘This mixed kind of farewell continued the whole way to the station where the Nationalists had evidently organised a hostile demonstration, for the moment the carriage hove in sight, hissing was started and cries of Foxy Jack and other insulting epithets were used.’


Portraits of Earl Spencer © NPG and (centre) London Stereoscopic Co (Published in The Booklovers Magazine, August 1904)


5th Earl Spencer


John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer, continued his political career in England.  He suffered a stroke in October 1905, and retired from the Cabinet in February 1907.  He died at Althorp Park, Northamptonshire, on 13 August 1910.  A notice of his life and career had little to say about his second period in office in Ireland:


In 1882 Earl Spencer consented to resume the Lord Lieutenancy … he remained at his post until the party went out of office in 1885.[40]


John Poyntz Spencer was born in 1835, son of the fourth Earl by his first wife, the second daughter of William Stephen Poyntz of Cowdray House, Midhurst, Sussex.  He was educated at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge.  Earl Spencer married, in 1858, Charlotte Frances Frederica, fourth daughter of Frederick Charles William Seymour, grand-daughter of the first Marquis of Bristol, ‘who greatly assisted her husband during his tenure of the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland.’


There were no children of the marriage and the peerage passed to Earl Spencer’s half-brother, Viscount Althorp, son of the fourth Earl by his second wife, Adelaide Horatia Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Horace Beauchamp Seymour KCB, MP.


Viscount Althorp – Charles Robert Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer (1857-1922) – was the father of Albert Edward John Spencer (1892-1975), 7th Earl Spencer, the paternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.  The late princess’s brother, Charles Edward Maurice Spencer, is 9th Earl Spencer.



[1] Francis Hynes was hanged in September 1882.  Further reference, The Delahunty Family History, Ch 5, ‘The Execution of Francis Hynes’ (Clare County Library). 

[2] The Flag of Ireland, 16 September 1882.  The Flag of Ireland appears to have first dubbed Spencer ‘The Gallows Earl.’

[3] Batley Reporter and Guardian, 17 March 1883.  Correspondence sent from New York.

Michael Walsh was convicted of killing Constable James Kavanagh RIC at Letterfrack on 15 February 1882. Kavanagh was a leading witness in the prosecution of Michael’s brother, Patrick Walsh, for the murders of father and son, John and Martin Lydon at Banogue, Ballinakill, Letterfrack on 24 April 1881 (Martin Lydon died from his injuries on 21 May 1881) for which Patrick Walsh was hanged on 22 September 1882.  Michael Walsh was sentenced to death but his age being 16, his sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life.  He was released from Mountjoy in January 1894 due to ill-health and died in November 1894.  Upon his release, he was interviewed in the Mater Misericordiae hospital by a representative of the Dublin  Evening Telegraph, and it was recalled that ‘many spectators in court at the time to this day well remember the scandalous and tragic incident of Judge Lawson placing the black cap on the bench near him actually before the jury had recorded their verdict, and also the remarkable exclamation of the young prisoner in the dock that ‘if St Patrick were to come down from heaven, a Dublin jury would be got to convict him’.’  In the interview, Walsh gave an account of the different prisons in which he had served time, the longest period being in Downpatrick.  He also described the dire prison conditions.  He weighed four stone on his release and was taken straight to hospital.  See interview in The Irish Weekly and Ulster Examiner, 3 February 1894.

Myles Joyce was posthumously pardoned in 2018.

[4] Dublin Weekly Nation, 24 November 1883.

[5] Dublin Weekly Nation, 24 November 1883.

[6] Obituary, Rugby Advertiser, 20 August 1910. 

[7] ‘The gallows government of Earl Spencer’ – Mr O’Brien MP addressing his constituents at Mallow. Belfast Newsletter, 13 October 1884. 

[8] Three stanza verse entitled ‘Foxy Jack’ published in the Dublin Weekly News, 6 September 1884.  ‘From the reports of the national demonstrations of the last fortnight it is clear that Foxy Jack is now the popular way of speaking of Earl Spencer’ (Dublin Weekly News, 11 October 1884).  It is suggested the nickname arose from the colour of Spencer’s hair.  ‘There is a translation of a poem called Shane Buidhe written by a Kerry poet, Owen Roe O’Sullivan, which is magnificent.  Shane Buidhe was the Irish nickname given to William III and the Georges.  It means Yellow or Orange Jack or, if you will, Foxy Jack.  It corresponds to the Scotch nickname for Willie Wanbeard’ (Midland Tribune, 20 August 1885).

[9] By ‘Ninety-Eight,’ The Weekly News, 11 October 1884.

[10] The Nation, 13 September 1884.  Further reference, http://www.odonohoearchive.com/poff-barrett-the-p-d-kenny-affair/

[11] ‘You are in error in concluding that the Castleisland National League pardoned their president for fraternising with the Gallows Earl.  They did not.  They expelled him by 70 votes to 3, and refused to allow him to evade the expulsion by resigning … In the Castleisland district we pride ourselves on not doing things by halves.’ 

The Leinster Leader, 4 October 1884, commented, ‘It seems that shaking hands with the Gallows Earl, whether from want of presence of mind, or other causes, is regarded by the Castleisland National League as an offence for which pardon cannot be granted under any circumstances.’

Further reference to the incident, see http://www.odonohoearchive.com/poff-barrett-the-p-d-kenny-affair/

[12] Flag of Ireland, 31 January 1885. ‘It is to the last degree absurd, as well as outrageous, that the ruler of the country should be, not the man to whose power and wisdom the whole community, national and anti-national, pays cheerful homage, but the man whom nineteen-twentieths of the Irish people detest as a stupid tyrant and the remaining twentieth only believe in as a hangman.’

[13] Dublin Weekly News, 20 September 1884.

[14] Dublin Weekly News, 27 September 1884. ‘The people of Killarney held a meeting on the Friday of last week to denounce the proclamation of the Burradow demonstration.  Mr John O’Connor of Cork was present.  He advised the men of Kerry to get up meeting after meeting Sunday after Sunday in vindication of their constitutional right.  Such advice could come from no one more fittingly than from Mr O’Connor.  It was by acting on that very plan that he won for the men of Cork county the privilege of public meeting in the teeth of Plunkett Pasha.  It remains to be seen whether the men of Kerry have the determination to go and do likewise.’

[15] The Irishman, 27 September 1884.

[16] Flag of Ireland, 27 September 1884.  Kerry was not the only county to suffer proclamation.  In Cork, a meeting at Millstreet was thwarted: ‘It was shabby of Foxy Jack to proclaim the League meeting announced to be held at Millstreet on Sunday.  No doubt the good people of that town gave him only a very dead-and-alive reception when he paid his flying visit to Canon Griffin a few weeks back and turned into the convent schools only to find, not that the pupils had come with their best bibs and tuckers, but that they had not come at all’ (Dublin Weekly News, 18 October 1884).

[17] Dublin Weekly News, 13 December 1884.

[18] Dublin Weekly News, 6 December 1884.  ‘A majority of the Queenstown town board, a few days ago, gave a tolerable idea of the feelings they entertain towards Foxy Jack.  Mr J O’Sullivan proposed that the names of all the commissioners should be sent up to the Lord Lieutenant to have one of them appointed a magistrate.  Messrs Harris, Crowley, Hickey and K O’Sullivan protested in vigorous language against having their names sent to anyone connected with Dublin Castle or seeking honours from that place of abominations … Mr O’Sullivan’s motion was rejected … Mr Harris’s concluding remark, ‘That is a proper kick to flunkeyism.’

[19] James Ellis French (1842) was arrested on a charge of felonious practices in July 1884 and subsequently jailed.  ‘Great secrecy and reticence in the whole matter was observed by the police officials who declined even to admit that such a warrant had been issued … It is rumoured that the arrest of Mr French was ordered on an information sworn by a responsible officer.’ See https://comeheretome.com/2018/11/16/the-dublin-castle-scandal-1884-and-the-unspeakable-crime/

[20] Wexford People, 31 January 1885.  Murphy claimed he was obliged to resign, or ‘be struck off the strength of the force.’

[21] Derry Journal, 16 January 1885 and New Ross Standard, 20 May 1932.  ‘Co Wexford may feel proud that it was reserved for a Wexfordman to have the honour of being a primary agent in exposing the debasing crimes of ‘our rulers’ and thereby encountering the hostility of the ‘Castle gang’.’

[22] Dublin Weekly News, 14 February 1885.  Farmers and labourers in the Moynalty and Newcastle district assembled in large numbers on several eminences to put a stop to a rumoured hunt at Headfort.

[23] Leinster Leader, 21 February 1885.  Earl Spencer went hunting at Dunboyne in February and was heavily thrown by his horse, dislocating his shoulder.  It was reported that ‘more estimable men have had their necks broken by a similar accident’ (Dublin Weekly News, 21 February 1885).

[24] Dublin Weekly News, 11 April 1885.

[25] Reynolds’s Newspaper, 26 April 1885.

[26] Royal Killarney (2011) contains an account of the royal visit.

[27] Flag of Ireland, 25 April 1885.  Rev John O’Leary, parish priest of Ballymacelligott, performed on the organ, see http://www.odonohoearchive.com/poff-barrett-the-p-d-kenny-affair/.  Rev John O’Leary (1821-1918) was parish priest of Castleisland from 1894-1918.  Clerical record in Castleisland Church and People (1981) by Fr Kieran O’Shea, p51.

[28] Reynolds’s Newspaper, 26 April 1885.  Other inscriptions were Down with Castle Rule, Remember Myles Joyce, and Remember Mallow[29] Ulster Echo, 30 April 1885.

[30] Weekly Freeman’s Journal, 9 May 1885.

[31] Dublin Weekly News, 13 June 1885.

[32] Weekly Freeman’s Journal, 27 June 1885.  J Meagher, at a meeting in Birdhill, described Foxy Jack’s departure as ‘the land he failed to rule’ (Flag of Ireland, 27 June 1885).

[33] Wexford People, 20 June 1885.  Earl Spencer’s successor was Lord Carnarvon (Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert (1831-1890) who held office 1885-1886.

[34] Wexford People, 8 July 1885.  Resolution passed at the Oylegate National League on 3 July 1885.

[35] ‘One of the last official things that Foxy Jack did before he went off was a visit to the constabulary depot in the Phoenix Park.  He could scarcely find words to express his regret at having to bid farewell to such excellent agents of ‘a firm and gentle rule;’ it might almost be said that there were tears in his voice … Perhaps, if the exact truth were known, the late viceroy’s sorrow was caused by the fact that he was not let ‘take leave’ but had to be off whether he liked it or not.  Nobody particularly cares to be kicked out – least of all, a tyrant who wished to have everything his own way.  He is gone, however; and if Satan went with him very few in Ireland would weep for either of the pair’ (Dublin Weekly News, 27 June 1885).

The Glenbrien National League resolved ‘That we sympathise with the Gallows Earl on his speedy downfall brought about by the tact and ability of Forster’s jailbirds, and we pity the poor man now in his heavy task to carry his load of halters when leaving Ireland’ (Wexford People, 11 July 1885). At the Arklow Irish National League branch meeting it was resolved ‘That we tender to Mr Parnell and the Irish Party our most warm congratulations on the defeat of the coercion ministry, and thereby ridding us of the Gallows Earl, Foxy Jack’ (Flag of Ireland, 11 July 1885).  At a meeting of the burgesses and residents of St Patrick’s Ward Division, Town Councillor J J Kennedy remarked that since their last meeting, ‘a very distinguished person had left their shores … to prevent the possibility of the Irish people being ever again afflicted with the rule of such a creature, the electors should give their support to the men who stood under the banner of Charles Stewart Parnell’ (Freeman’s Journal, 24 June 1885).

[36] ‘Foxy Jack – A Poetical Satire by Harry Hoothim, a Good-bye to Spencer’ (Dublin Weekly News, 27 June 1885).

‘A metrical satire on his Irish troubles and welcome departure by Harry Hoothim Esq.  The squib is the production of one of our contributors whose satirical talent has often entertained our readers’ (Dublin Weekly News, 27 June 1885).  Publisher Daniel O’Herlihy, Shandon-street, Cork

‘Mr D O’Herlihy of Cork has published an amusing collection of poems and songs having for their subject our late Lord Lieutenant.  The collection is entitled Foxy Jack; a metrical and critical satire on his Irish troubles and welcome departure.  The name of the author is given as Harry Hoothim Esq but judging from internal evidence … we would venture to say they are from the pen of Mr O’Herlihy himself … all the more likely when we remember that the bard endured no small degree of persecution from the late denizen of Dublin Castle and some of his predecessors in title … Mr O’Herlihy however, like the thorough Corkonian that he is, has not taken his troubles too much to heart but is merry enough to fire this parting salute after the heels of the departing despot’ (Dublin Weekly Nation, 4 July 1885).

[37] See Flag of Ireland, 22 November 1883.

[38] Departure of Lord Spencer from Dublin, Liverpool Daily Post, 29 June 1885.

[39] Liverpool Daily Post, 29 June 1885.  The case was known as ‘The Seville Place Murder.’  Joseph Poole (1855-1883), tailor, Castle Street and Grenville Street, was tried in November 1883 for the murder of John Kenny of Seville Place, Dublin on the night of the 3rd (into 4th) July 1882.  Poole emphatically denied having murdered Kenny but admitted to being a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood whose object, he said, was to free Ireland from the tyrannical rule of England.  The Lord Lieutenant declined the memorial for his reprieve.  Poole was hanged in Richmond Prison on 18 December 1883.  A detailed report of the execution and inquest was published in the Freeman’s Journal, 19 December 1883. 

See ‘The Execution of Joseph Poole’ by Irish Band of Brothers (www.irishbandofbrothers.com) which describes the discovery of Poole’s casket at Richmond Bridewell in the 1890s, and its re-interment in an anonymous site in Wellington Barracks.  Four of Poole’s brothers served in the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising of 1916.  A plaque was erected to the memory of Joseph Poole in Griffith Barracks by the National Graves Association in 1968.

‘Mr George Heron (88) formerly of Dominick Street, Dublin, who died in a Dublin hospital, was in his early life a member of the Fenian Brotherhood.  He was a brother-in-law of Mr Joseph Poole, a Fenian who was hanged in Richmond Jail (now Griffith Barracks) towards the end of the last century for his alleged part in the shooting of a spy at Seville Place’ (Irish Press, 20 July 1946).

Further reference, Joe Poole The Sixth Invincible (2013) by the late Micheal O Doibhilin, Kilmainham Tales Publications (https://kilmainhamtales.ie/08-joe-poole.php). A copy of this booklet is held in Castleisland District Heritage archive, ref IE CDH 58.

[40] Rugby Advertiser, 20 August 1910.