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An Caislean Carrick-on-Suir

Maurice Davin

Hurling is the oldest of Irish sports and dates from pre-Christian times. No standardised rules existed until the GAA was formed in 1884. It is the third most popular sport in Ireland (soccer is 2nd) and is played by approximately 100,000 Irish people. The women's equivalent of hurling is called camogie and is played according to the same basic rules, but with a smaller pitch and smaller sticks. There are 50,000 camogie players in Ireland.

Hurling is one of the fastest field games in the world, and is played with an ash stick between 30 and 37 inches in length, with a broad end. The stick is used to hit and carry the sliotar which is a small ball weighing about 4oz.



Sean Kelly

Interview with Kelly -  Tour de France
Click for larger image


The Clancy Brothers








The Clancy Brothers with Finbar Clancy son of Bobby Clancy


Tom Kiely - Olympic Hero

The outstanding Irish-born personality of the early years of the Olympic Games was Tom Kiely, who won the all-round Championship, the forerunner of the Modern Decathlon, at the Games in St. Louis in 1904.

His victory was claimed by the United Kingdom or Great Britain but the Olympic historians Dr. Derenc Meso and David Guiney have now established beyond argument that Kiely was, in fact, representing Ireland and indeed paid his own expenses in travelling from Ireland to St. Louis.

Tom Kiely hailed from Ballyneale just outside Carrick-on-Suir and achieved his gold in 1904 becoming the first Olympic multi-event track champion for 16 centuries.

Tom Kiely's win in the Decathlon, then known as the "All-Around Championship" was noteworthy as all ten events were held on the same day.  The events were;

 - 100yds         
 - Shot Putt
 - High Jump
 - 800yard walk
 - Hammer
 - Pole Vault
 - 120yards Hurdles
 - 56lbs Weight Throw
 - Long Jump
 - Mile

Kiely's performances were as follows: 11.2, 10.82, 1.52, 3:59.0, 36.76, 2.74, 17.8, 8.91, 5.94, 5:51.0. 

Result: Gold 6036pts


 Mike Lynch - Founder of Autonomy


While in his youth, Mike Lynch's  parents, a fireman and a nurse, upped sticks and moved from Carrick-on-Suir to Essex. Lynch won a scholarship to the Bancroft private school in Surrey, where his interest in the sciences began. According to one source he was inspired by a chemistry teacher and decided at an early age that he wanted to do something useful, rather than just make money.

After Bancroft, he went on to Christs College in Cambridge where he initially read natural sciences. He worked during the summers at the telecoms company, Marconi. According to Lynch, those summers shaped his entrepreneurial spirit. "It was a very traditional structure and I remember thinking 'I don't want to do this for the rest of my life'."

He switched to a degree course in electrical engineering and went on to do a doctorate at Cambridge. He was a graduate student in 1991, with his PhD titled An Adaptive Approach to Connectionless Models, which was based on the 250-year-old theorems of Thomas Bayes.

Bayes, a Presbyterian minister and mathematician, had attempted to use probability to prove the existence of God, but the young Lynch took up his research, adapted it and set about finding commercial uses for the theorems.


Scientist and technology entrepreneur



 Portrait of Black Tom Butler



The Butler Family Crest



Charter From the King



Painting in Gallery Ormonde Castle




Sonny Cash - Local Photographer

Robert A. "Sonny" Cash was one of the most prolific postcard producers in South Tipperary. 

Sonny, partially crippled in his youth, grew up hump-backed.  He took to photography as a teenager and from his father's shop on Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir, he travelled the surrounding countryside in a side-car building up a large collection of photographs, some of which he reproduced as postcards. 

He died in a fire at his home above the studio in Carrick and all his glass negatives were destroyed. 

The postcards are all that remain of this important historical record. 

The earliest Cash postcard on display was postmarked 1904, taken when Sonny was only 15.






Crotty's Lake and Rock

























































Crotty's Rock - Lookout area





Crotty's Lake





































Carrick has had many famous sons and many influential people were born and lived here. The legend of these people is still strong today and they all played a part in forming in the personality of Carrick both nationally and internationally.

Maurice Davin - Co-Founder of the G.A.A

1864-1927; b. Deerpark, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, there; with his  brother Tom and Pat he gained athletic fame, holding numerous world records for running, hurdling, jumping and weight-throwing; fnd.-member and first president of the GAA in 1884; fostered athletics; organised ‘the American invasion’" - Séamus Ó Riain

Maurice Davin who was born and lived in Carrick-on-Suir is one of the co-founders of the G.A.A. along with Cusack and Archbishop Croke. An outstanding athlete who won international fame in the 1870s and who was actively campaigning for a body to control Irish athletics from 1877. He gave his support to Cusack's campaign from the summer of 1884, presided at the foundation-meeting in Thurles and became GAA's first president and the only president to have two terms and to resign twice. Not actively involved after 1889, but many major games (including 1904 hurling final* ) were played on his farm.

*  1904 Hurling Final - Kilkenny won their first ever All Ireland Title.
beat Cork 1-9 to 1-8 at Carrick-on–Suir.

                                   The International Sports

                    Saxon against Celt - Tipperary to the rescue

The Munster Express, Saturday 10th June 1876                Carrick on Suir, Wednesday

The great international contest between the chosen athletes of Ireland and England, was fought under some disadvantage to this country, on Monday and Tuesday , in the well- known Lansdown Road Grounds, Dublin.  On the first day, out of 13 events, John Bull's men carried off a score of 9, leaving only 4 to the Emerald Isle.

    It is no common honour to have Carrick supply three of that number to the victorious minority.  We are proud indeed to have to record the results achieved by Messrs Maurice Davin (see picture at right), Thomas Davin, solr.; and last, but by no means least, Patrick Davin, the youngest, and if report speaks truly, the very best of the fraternal trio.  For the past few years Maurice Davin's fame as a heavy weight thrower has been fully established.  He is A1 as an Irish champion and his prizes are both valuable and numerous.  Mt Thomas Davin (solr) goes in usually for the high and long jumps.  Occasionally he has scored excellent work, doing 5ft 11½in in height, and making his 100 yds flat in less than ten seconds.  The highest jump at the late contest was but 5ft 7½ins, or exactly 4 inches under his old standard.

Some 'croakers' are grumbling, as usual.  If Brookes [English champion]came over and did his 6feet 2inches, how would the game stand then?

How indeed; but it would be merely a loss of time and temper on our part to argue with those kind of persons, who are never without an if and a but, whenever it happens that a fellow townsman comes to the front.   Patrick Davin, the youngest, and as we have before suggested, the 'future man', is quite young, this being his 'maiden' appearance on the sward.  From his score it will be at once evident that he has begun both wisely and well.

In the hundred yards the Irish champion Ogilby wrested a hard won victory from his British competitors.  In the high jump the brothers Davin [Tom and Maurice] were equally successful, securing a twin victory over their English rivals.  In putting the 40lb Mr M Davin secured another Irish victory by the narrow margin of a couple of inches, and in throwing the hammer he was equally successful

Telegrams having been received late on Monday afternoon heralding success to the Carrick men, bonfires and tar barrels became at once the ordre du jour.  The local band paraded the streets on both nights after 10 o'clock, adding to the excitement of the hour.  The Messrs Davin are worthy of all the honour paid them and we are more than well pleased to see men's achievements reckoned at their proper worth.

Sean Kelly - International Cycling Sensation

Sean Kelly was consistently one of the top achievers in professional cycling for over 18 years. With his 22 Classic wins he is statistically the fourth most successful professional cyclist of all time behind Eddy Merckx (50), Bernard Hinault (29) and Jacques Anquetil (29).

Born on May 24, 1956, Sean Kelly was the dominant classics rider in the 1980’s. Kelly began his professional career in 1977. He won almost every important race on the calendar except the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the World Championship Road Race. Kelly did win a Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana in 1988 plus the points jersey competition four times both in the Tour de France and in the Vuelta a Espana. He won four out of five of cycling’s monuments for a total of nine victories in those races. Of the monuments, he won the Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Milan-San Remo all twice, and the Tour of Lombardy three times.

He also won the Paris-Tours and the Ghent Wevelgem. In the World Championship Road Race, he placed third twice and fifth three times. He was another complete rider who could sprint, time-trial and climb with the best, although he did have trouble in the heat and on the major climbs in the Tour de France. He was a rider’s rider, a professional’s professional. His record in the Tour de France of fifteen starts and twelve finishes attests to this. He raced hard during entire racing calendar. In addition to his record in the designated races, he also won the Paris-Nice a record seven times and the Tour of Switzerland twice. Sean Kelly retired from professional competition in 1994.

The Clancy Brother's - World Renowned Irish Musicians

Tom (b. 1923, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Waterford, Eire, d. 7 November 1990, Cork, Eire), Paddy (b. 1922, d. 10 November 1998, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Waterford, Eire) and Liam Clancy (b. 1936) were among the founders of the New York folk revival during the 50s. From a musical family, Tom and Paddy left for Canada in 1947, but soon crossed (illegally) over the American border.

Tom enjoyed success as an actor, playing on Broadway with Orson Welles (King Lear) and Helen Hayes (Touch Of The Poet), while together the brothers staged Irish plays at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village. With money scarce they began performing concerts, and were soon attracting a bigger following for their music rather than their plays. Paddy was soon assisting the Folkways and Elektra labels in recording Irish material and in 1956 he set up his own small label, Tradition Records. This released material by Josh White and Odetta. By now, the younger brother Liam had also moved to America, and was collecting songs in the Appalachian mountains.

He encouraged whistle player Tommy Makem (b. 1932, Keady, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland) to move to New York. In the late 50s, the quartet began to perform in clubs and at hootenannies, eventually recording collections of Irish material in 1959. Among them were many, including "Jug Of Punch" and "The Leaving Of Liverpool", that became widely sung in folk clubs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Clancys attracted a large following with their boisterous approach and gained national prominence through an appearance on Ed Sullivan's television show. The group recorded frequently for Columbia Records throughout the 60s. Their sister, Peg Clancy Power made a solo album of Irish songs in the late 60s. Makem left to follow a solo career in 1969, later recording with producer Donal Lunny for Polydor Records in Ireland. The Clancys continued to make occasional appearances, notably their annual St. Patrick's Day concerts in New York.

Louis Killen (b. January 1934, Gateshead, Co. Durham, England), a traditional singer from north-east England joined for a 1973 record of Greatest Hits on Vanguard Records. Although Liam left in 1975, there were other albums for Warner Brothers Records in the 70s and the original group re-formed for a 1984 concert and album.

Although Tom Clancy died in November 1990, the remaining brothers continued to perform together occasionally in the early 90s, appearing in October 1992 at Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. Paddy Clancy died of cancer in November 1998, having worked as a dairy farmer since the group's partial retirement in the 60s.

* Taken From the Encyclopedia of Popular Music -  Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2002

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were the seminal Irish Ballad group and their influence has been central to the folk revival, in both Irish and American contexts, and the huge revival of interest in and performance of traditional Irish music throughout the world

The group comprised of Paddy (1922-98), Tom (1923-90) and Liam Clancy, three of nine children, from Carrick-on Suir, Co. Tipperary and Tommy Makem of Keady, Co. Armagh. After a spell in the RAF during the Second World War, Pat and Tom emigrated to America in 1948, working first in Cleveland and eventually settling in New York. They worked at various jobs, always aspiring to be actors, eventually producing and acting in a very successful productions of "Othello" and of Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. Other plays were not quite as successful and in order to pay the theatre rent, they decided to put on midnight concerts in the Cherry Lane Theatre. Folk music interest was emerging and people who are now legendary, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Jean Ritchie, Jack Elliott, Theo Bikel and Bob Dylan took part. Paddy and Tom also performed. Later, they teamed up with Lou Gordon to do a "Swopping Song Fair" at the Sheridan Square Theatre. These performances encouraged them to develop their Irish song repertoire and the popularity of the Irish songs gave Paddy the idea of putting out an LP on his own label, which he formed in l956 and called Tradition Records.

Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem, met in Ireland while working with Diane Hamilton who came to Ireland to collect traditional songs, both emigrated to the United States in 1955. They became involved in acting but discovered they could make a better living singing at clubs. Paddy and Tom joined in whenever they could and the group, while not yet classed as a group, began to build popularity.

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem first were billed as such in 1956 when they performed at the Gate of Horn Club in Chicago and they became more widely known performing at fund-raising concerts for the Cherry Lane Theatre and at the Woodie Guthrie benefits. They first recorded in 1959, producing their LP "The Rising of the Moon" on Pat's Tradition Records. At this time the band began touring in the United States, especially in Chicago and New York and became well known for their performances in the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate and Gerde’s Folk City. At a very elegant uptown club, The Blue Angel, they were spotted for their first major exposure to a large American audience which came when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1961 and it lead to widespread acclaim all over the United States.

*Taken from From the Paddy Clancy Memorial Scholarship Fund Website


The Rising Of The Moon (Tradition 1959),
Come Fill Your Glass With Us (Tradition 1959),
The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem (Tradition 1961),
 A Spontaneous Performance Recording (Columbia 1961),
The Boys Won't Leave The Girls Alone (Columbia 1962),
In Person At Carnegie Hall (Columbia 1964),
Isn't It Grand Boys (Columbia 1966),
The Irish Uprising (Columbia 1966),
Freedom's Son's (Columbia 1967),
Home Boys Home (Columbia 1968),
Sing Of The Sea (Columbia 1968),
Bold Fenian Men (Columbia 1969),
Seriously Speaking (Warners 1975),
Every Day (Warners 1976),
Reunion (Vanguard 1984),
Older But No Wiser (Vanguard 1990),
In Concert (Vanguard 1992).

Greatest Hits (Vanguard 1973)***,
Ain't It Grand Boys: Unissued Gems (Columbia/Legacy 1995)***,
The Best Of The Vanguard Years (Vanguard 2000)***,
The Essential Collection (Fuel 2000 2002)****.

Mike Lynch - First Software Billionaire

Extracts From:
Sunday Business Post,  Sunday, April 29, 2001 

Born in Carrick-on-Suir Lynch is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Autonomy Software, He owns 19 per cent of Autonomy, which was at one point valued at $5.2 billion.

The story about scientist and technology entrepreneur Mike Lynch starting his first company with a stg£2,000 loan from a rock band manager he met in a pub has often been repeated. It says a lot about Lynch, the risk-taking scientist who, 10 years ago, had enough faith in his research to borrow from an unknown business angel.

Lynch used the money to set up his first company, Neurodynamics. Ten years later, Lynch's main business interest, the Neurodynamics spin-off, Autonomy, is listed on three international markets and has annual revenues of around stg£60 million. Lynch founded Autonomy in 1996 with $15 million in funding from heavy-hitting investors including Apax Venture Capital, Durlacher and the English National Investment Company (ENIC).

"At that time, that kind of money for a British startup was almost unheard of," said a banker involved in Autonomy's initial public offering (IPO) on the European exchange, the Easdaq, in July 1998.

The flotation capitalised the company at $165 million, and its shares rose quickly from $15 in October 1999 to $120 in March 2000. This valued the company at over $5 billion and made Lynch Britain's first internet billionaire. The British press took to calling him the 'billion-dollar brain' and he basked in the publicity.

The share price high and rising US sales led to a second flotation on the Nasdaq last May and a follow-up flotation on the London Stock Exchange in November. Along the way Lynch picked up the 1999 Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Confederation of British Industry, and Technology Pioneer Award at the World Economic Forum last year.

The rapid growth of Autonomy, which has enjoyed quarterly compound sales growth of more than 50 per cent, has boosted international demand for Lynch as a conference speaker. Industry magazines profile him alongside household technology names, such as Bill Gates and Larry Ellison.

Lynch's extraordinary journey started when an acquaintance set up a pub meeting with the business angel, whose £2,000 allowed Neurodynamics to be set up in the back room of a college house. The company initially specialised in pattern-recognition technology, such as the identification of fingerprints and handwriting, and sold its products to police forces.

Its first design, a machine to match fingerprints, was used to solve murders from years earlier and the firm thrived. However, Lynch was already thinking of bigger things. "We had an immediate need to generate money, so we did work that paid, while getting on with the research the rest of the time." The research, again based on Bayes' theorems, led to the creation of Autonomy, which was spun out of Neurodynamics in 1996.

The company developed software that used Bayes' probability theories to plough through text in search of concepts instead of keywords. It was perfectly placed to take advantage of the opportunities created by the internet as the software could organise information, categorise e-mails and create links between related articles on websites.

Today the company's 430-strong customer base includes the US State Department, News Corporation, Reuters, Lucent and Merrill Lynch. It has over 140 staff in 15 offices. However, the technology slowdown has hit Autonomy, and the company has lost more than half its value since listing in London at the end of October.

Neurodynamics is thriving as an incubator for new ideas, and last year Lynch founded a third company, NCorp, to focus on the e-commerce market. He is also a board member of Talkcast, a unified messaging company, and has a stake in SoftSound, a speech recognition firm which Autonomy acquired a year ago, and a directorship of Neurodynamics.

He has invested his personal wealth, which now stands at over £250 million, in internet infrastructure companies, which he sees as robust and stable. He is critical of "flimsy" dotcoms, and blames an "excess of hype and hot air" for their rise.

The days of running an internet business on hope and pizza are gone," he said. "At the moment, we're ahead of the field, so we aim to be in almost every piece of software in three years."  - It's almost an 'Intel inside' strategy



The Butlers of Ormonde

Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond (d. 1515), was grandfather to Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, who, although she lost her head, provided him with the daughter who was to become Queen Elizabeth I. This fearsome queen features in voluminous Butler records.

Her cousin, the 10th Earl of Ormond, Thomas Butler (d. 1614), who had been reared at the English court, built a magnificent Tudor manor at Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, expecting her to visit him, which she failed to do. Lord Dunboyne, the present Butler family historian, writes in his Butler Family History: "The Butlers bred like rabbits immune from myxomatosis".

Black Tom, as the 10th Earl of Ormond was nicknamed, was a prime example. Three times married, he had, apart from his legal offspring, twelve known illegitimate children. One of his natural sons who received considerable estates from his father, Piers Fitzthomas Butler, according to a strong local tradition, was the fruit of Thomas' affection for the Virgin Queen!

Carrick in 1462 - Taken from the Cronicles of Mr Cliffe an associate of Cromwell

"The Lancastrians have very little support in Ireland apart from the Butlers. Sir John Butler, 6th Earl of Ormond, arrives in Ireland with 'a great multitude of Englishmen'; they take and destroy Waterford city, but are defeated by Thomas FitzGerald, son of the earl of Desmond, at Pilltown, near Carrick-on-Suir.

George, duke of Clarence (Edward IV's brother) is appointed lieutenant for seven years from 6 March. He is 12 years old.In November, 1649, the Irish under Inchiquin laid siege to Carrick-on-Suir, then held by Commissary-General John Reynolds, and used to cry at the walls to the besieged that they would soon give them "Tredagh (i.e. Drogheda) Quarter."

Lord Leonard Grey, in the time of Henry VIII, having taken Maynooth Castle, which surrendered in hope of pardon, he hanged the whole garrison. Hence, the Irish saying, "the pardon of Minooth". Dismal Effects of the Irish Insurrection, to which are added Letters from Oliver Cromwell, Ireton, Preston, and many others, relating to the sieges, battles, and remarkable passages in the following history, never before printed."

An account of the Butlers History:

"Black Tom". Chief Butler of Ireland. 3° Earl of Ossory.

In 1543, James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond, had requested Henry VIII to grant a place at court to his heir Thomas, whom he despatched to court the next year. Already at court were two of Thomas’ first cousins, Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of the 9th Earl of Kildare – immortalised by the poet Thomas Surrey as ‘The Fair Geraldine’ – and Barnaby Fitzpatrick, son of the baron of Upper Ossory. Thomas and Barnaby joined group of ten or twelve noble youths whom Henry VIII had selected to be educated with his son Edward. While most of the other pupils changed in the course of the years, the two cousins remained until the school group was formally disbanded in autumn 1552, five years after Edward had come to the throne. Upon the accession of Edward VI, Thomas was made a Knight of the Garter.Ormond actually participated in the Christmas festivities that year disguised as an ‘Almain’, or German. By 1552 Thomas had reached his majority and succeeded to earldom of Ormond, his father having died of food poisoning in London in 1546.

When Edward VI died in Jul 1553, his catholic sister Mary came to the throne, and Ormond appears to have had no difficulty in accommodating himself to the changed regime. Mary retained the Earl at court for a further year, allowing him to return to Ireland in Oct 1554, along with Barnaby Fitzpatrick and Gerald Fitzgerald, 11th Earl of Kildare. Throughout the rest of his long life, Ormond maintained his family’s tradition of unswerving loyalty to the crown, spending long periods at court, where he exploited the powerful connections his early education had given him.

Thomas Butler lived a considerably long life for his time, and gained a respect that no other man in Ireland would be able to obtain. He was considered to be an honest and upstanding peer by those in Ireland and England. Queen Elizabeth considered him to be a good friend and companion and trusted his opinion. Thomas made many enemies because of his honesty, candor and the fact that the Queen favored him.

He was a great strategist who had a standing army of Scot mercenaries called gallowglass. These incredible soldiers where popular in Ireland and were often used like a common commodity. Their brute strength and courageous tactics made them a formidable enemy against the English at Cashel, and Killroe, serving O’Neil and massacred an army of lanskanechts at the siege of Caracfergus. The Ormondes had kept an army of these men for over a hundred years and found them to be very useful in defending against the gallowglass of other factions. The MacSweeneys were in the Ormonde’s employ and cost a great deal of money to maintain. One thing was for sure: they were worth the money as almost every English noble that came with their armies to wipe out Irish rebels called upon Ormonde for the support or protection of his armies.

Ormond, like his father continued to harbor aggressions with his neighbor and fellow countryman the Earl Desmond, as part of a hostile four-generation feud between the Geraldines (Desmond and kin) and the Butlers (Ormond and kin). These disputes ranged from issues of Loyalty to those of property right, boundary lines, policy, strategy and anything else that they could use to make peace a difficult solution. Finally in 1568, Desmond is thrown in the tower and must stay there for six years. In 1574 he is released and is to turn himself in to the jail in Dublin where he is allowed to escape and turns Rebel. Thomas, however, is not too distraught over this as he is in control of a fair amount of it in Desmond’s absence.

Ormonde and Queen Elizabeth met in London as children; Thomas the "son of an Irish Earl" and Elizabeth the "illegitimate daughter of Henry" shared a common ground as neither was well treated by the other young nobles in court. They were related through her mother Anne Boleyn. >Elizabeth called him her ‘black husband’. In 1588 the Queen bestowed on Ormond what an Irish poet described as 'áirdchéim Ridireacht Gáirtéir, / ainm nár ghnáth é ar Éirionnach' (‘the high honour of Knighthood of the Garter, a title rare on an Irishman’).

Ormonde built a Tudor style castle (Carrick on Suir) along the river Suir, which he decorated lavishly and even had red brick chimneys built on, which, at the time, were very expensive. All of this was for one reason; to provide Elizabeth with a suitable palace at which to stay when she traveled to Ireland. Thomas lived eleven years after Elizabeth died and during her entire reign she never once set foot in Ireland.

Married three times, Thomas produced four children, three boys and one girl. One boy died at birth; the other two die as young adults and his daughter Elizabeth lived to be in her fifties. Ormond spent most of his time in England in the presence of the Queen and many rumors were issued as to the matter. In 1614 Thomas died in his bed shortly after Christmas with the blue ribbon of the Order of the Garter around his neck, as it was every night since it was given to him


William Crotty


                                                                 By Michael Cavanagh

It was dark by the lakeside. Nothing broke the silence but the lapping water on the rock-strewn shore. Faintly, through the swirling mist, loomed the stark cliff, as if it would envelop the lone fisherman.

But the man from the Spa at Clonmel was unfrightened; for this was no new experience, and he knew well the Comeraghs and their whispered menace. Waiting patiently until the moon emerged from scudding clouds to send a pale gleam on the surface of the tarn, he cast out a line. But hopes that the toilsome ascent, and the long vigil, would be rewarded were not realised.

Hour after hour he fished-without success. Until, just when he had decided to abandon his fruitful endeavour, he saw The Dark Stranger! Out of the mists he came, this tall, dark-clothed figure, moving purposefully, his footsteps making no sound. Without a word, he took the rod from the anglers's trembling hand, cast out, and immediately landed.

For perhaps an hour, The Dark Stranger fished on steadily -- until the angler's bag was filled, as it had never been before, with a silver harvest. Then, as silently as he had come, he turned, and the mist gathered him into its grey bosom.


Twenty years or more had passed when, on just such another misty Comeragh night, a man from the Spa cast a line on Crotty's Lake. He was the son of the other nocturnal angler. Try how he might, he could not lure the fish. And again there came the Mysterious one to succeed where he had failed, then to disappear silently into the shadowed cliffside.

When, after dawn, the angler reached home, his widowed mother for once spoke no greeting. Instead, she lifted the cover of his basket, peered inside, and saw the gleaming treasurer "Ah," said she, "so you, too, met The Dark Stranger!"

Well, that's the story as I heard it. And how well it fits into the atmosphere of that wild mountain retreat from which for years outlaw William Crotty defied the soldiery, until a comrad’s betrayal brought him to the gallows.

Seen on a bright summer’s day, the lakes the rocks, and the cliffs do not frighten. But go there when "Crotty's Pinnacle" is held in a wispy embrace; when you can hear the throaty muttering of unseen waters, and, maybe, the shrilling of a gull; when the dark mass of rock overhanging "Crotty's Cave" appears and as suddenly disappears in the mists. Then you may well be forgiven for an occasional fearful peering over your shoulder! What kind of man was this Crotty who died on the scaffold in Waterford over two hundred years ago? There are varying accounts, all of them coloured, no doubt, by the writer's attitude: were they for the Government or "agin the Gover'ment"? To the former, he was a murderous marauder; to the latter, a gallant Rapparee, who robbed the rich and gave to the poor.

Listen to what Michael Cavanaah, a Cappoquin man who had a remarkable career as a '48 man and a Fenian writer in America, had to say of him--"Crotty was one of several refractory spirits who, in the doleful times of the Penal Laws, preferred freedom and outlawry rather than submit to the persecutors of their race."

Cavanagh felt that Crotty was much more defiant and powerful than other law-breakers such as "Brennan on the Moor," Captain Trant, and Captain Freney, and that, unlike these, who operated singly or with few others, he was the leader of a large band of desperate associates.


Of the outlaw's personal bravery there can be no doubt. Although known personally all over the country he never hesitated to appear at fairs or markets, and even danced at Patterns-this when the Redcoats were ever on his trail. He slept in many a friendly farmhouse, but most times spent the night in a Cave close to the edge of the Lake which bears his name.

An old-time writer who lived for some time in Kilrossanty district, described the Cave: "The interior of this Cave consists of line large chamber from which branch off some smaller recesses."

The same writer also said that there was another cave at nearby Coumshingaun Lake, known as "Crotty's Stable," where he was believed to have kept horses and cattle taken during raids-until they could be conveniently sold.


Once at Christmas time, Crotty set out to kill a man who had so often led soldiers in pursuit of him. This was Sub-Sherrif Hearn, who lived close by the foot of the Comeraghs. With his pistol cocked, the outlaw peered through the parlour window, saw his hated enemy, and carefully "covered" him. But Crotty also saw the smiling faces of the Sheriff's wife and children, and, to quote his own description of the scene, as related by himself to the Sheriff, following his eventual capture: "My heart failed me, and I could not draw the trigger.

Hastily roused while he slept one night in Norris's house, close to his beloved Comeraghs, the outlaw grabbed at his pistol and fired at the soldiers surrounding him without result. This time the informer had made no mistake. He had wet the powder and stolen his chief's dagger.

Brought to Waterford Jail under heavy escort, Crotty was tried at the Assizes on March 8th, 1742, and sentenced to death. He was at once taken from the Courthouse, and hanged, drawn and quartered, his head being later spiked on the County Jail "as a warning to evil-doers."

*The Gentleman's Magazine for 1742, under date of Mar. 23, quotes an "Extract of a letter from Dublin" as follows:

"On the 18th Wm. Crotty, head of a Gang of Robbers, was condemned at Waterford, and immediately hang'd, one man who came to life after being hang'd, and about 20 more were also condemned."

RUSSELLTOWN, situated on northern border of the County Waterford, and not too far from the village of Four-Mile-Water, is not, to my knowledge, particularly distinguished for anything worth recording, save that it was the birth-place of William Crotty, the most conspicuous person of his day in his native county, and a man whose memory is destined to be cherished by succeeding generations of his countrymen for the heroic deeds with which it is associated in his the district, where lake and mountain peak perpetuate his name.

Crotty flourished about the commencement of George the Third's reign, and was the forerunner of the Tipperary highwaymen, Brennan and "Captain" Trant, as well as of their Kilkenny counterpart "Captain" Freney, whose "Life and Adventures," as recorded in his autobiography, afforded excitable reading to at least two generations of law-detesting Irish boys.


Crotty, however, must have been the most defiant and powerful of those law-breakers, for while they operated singly, or with a few temporary confederates, he was the leader of a numerous body of desperate associates, who came and went at his command. Moreover, his stronghold in the fastnesses of the Comeraghs was well known to the authorities; yet he held it for years in their despite, while, on the contrary, his later imitators were for ever driven to seek new hiding-places.

As a matter of course, the published estimate of Crotty's character differs diametrically from that derived from the traditions of the people resident in the district where his depredations were carried on. For, while his enemies, the "conservators of law and order," branded him as a reckless, bloodthirsty murderer and rapacious marauder, and in fine gave him such an infamous character that, to use the expressive language of my informant, "The devil wouldn't pick his bones," the country people, on the other hand, assert that he never shed blood unnecessarily, or only when defending his life and liberty, while they aver that he habitually shared with the poor and persecuted the spoil he had taken from the oppressive class.


In Crotty's time, the whole district between the head waters of the Nire and Finisk, on the one side of the hills, and the slopes extending to Glin and Gurteen on the other side, were as thickly wooded as Ballymacarbery is now, and to one well acquainted with the local topography, as the outlaw was, there was many a secure retreat available

But it was not a hiding-place Crotty selected as his headquarters, but a post of observation from which he could command such an extensive view in every direction that it was utterly impossible for any body of his enemies to approach unobserved by day and it was too difficult of access for any, strangers to reach it by night.

This desirable locality the bold freebooter found in the immediate vicinity of a mountain take situated about one mile to the north of Coumshingaun. "Crotty's Lake," as it is now designated-its ancient name was Loughgorra -- is a tarn of about a dozen acres in extent, and is formed in a depression of the mountain's brow. In its immediate vicinity rises a very tall, isolated, and almost perpendicular crag, which is known in the vicinity as "Stola Crottach," or Crotty's Stool. It is also designated Crotty's Rock on the map of the Ordnance Survey.


At present the most accessible way of approach to the outlaw's domicile and watch-post is from the Bridge of Shurnagower (Irish, Sruth na nGabhair, the Goats' Stream), at which point the road from Duncarvan to Carrick-on-Suir is crossed by a mountain stream formed by the junction there at of two separate rivulets, whose course may be traced far up through the rough hill-side.

Of these streams, the more western is Sruth na,ngabhair, the other is Uisge Soluis (Water of Light), the "limpid water"-a poetic appellation than which nothing could more appropriately befit this clear, sparkling, flashing fairy-haunted rill. Passing up between the two water-courses, and surmounting knoll after knoll, the brow of the hill is at length reached, and beneath, in a shallow depression, lies "Crotty's Lake."

Immediatelv behind "Crotty's Lake" stands the lofty, abrupt, rocky peak, from whose summit the adventurous climber may obtain a view extending over a great part of Waterford and into the counties of Tipperary and Kilkenny, and even far distant Wexford.

In truth it is a splendid panorama of the bandit’s outpost offers to the admirer of the sublime and antique in nature, and one which Salvater Rosa might delight in climbing.

Near the foot of this cloud-piercing pinnacle, on the crag-covered base of the mountain, Crotty carved a deep subterraneous cavern extending in a natural chamber, to which access could only be obtained by means of a rope dropped down into the steep and darksome aperture.


Into this fastness the outlaw never admitted any of his confederates but there was always some appointed place of rendezvous where he met them and directed their proceedings. His wife alone shared the shelter of his mountain den, and kept watch on the rock above while he slept.

But besides this cavern appropriated as a dwelling, there is another cave, situated in the stupendous cliff of Coumshingaun, which the people called "Crotty's Stable," from the assertion that he utilised it as one of the out-offices for the livestock which his band captured in the lowlands till they could be profitably disposed of.

Still another memento of the famous outlaw, set down in the Ordnance map as "Crotty's Rock," is an isolated knoll on which stands three large perpendicular stones, and which is situated a short distance to the east of the rath of Croagh, and north of the modern church of Kilrossanty. It is to be presumed that it was one of the outlaw's places of rendezvous, or an occasional place of security when he ventured far from his mountain refuge.


The principal one of Crotty's lowland confederates, and the man he most confided in, was one David Norris, but Mrs. Crotty soon learned to distrust his professions of attachment to her hero, whom she frequently warned to beware of trusting too far to the smoothtongued flatterer or his wily wife.

It were well for Crotty if he heeded the devoted creature's warning. His neglect to do so resulted in the tragic death of both. The following verses are from the Gaelic Caoine for William Crotty by his widow:

Oh, William Crotty, didn’t I tell you
That David Norris would surround you?
He did surround you while you where sleeping,
And left me here alone and weeping.
Ochone! Och, ochone!
He wet your powder, beside your arms,
And left you helpless in the midst of alarms,
My bitter curse fall on him and his,
That brought you to an end like this.
Ochone! Och, ochone!

As after events proved, Mrs. Crotty's suspicions were well founded. Both Norris and his wife had been bribed to betray the outlawed chief, and they gave constant information of his movements to the authorities, so that it required the greatest circumspection on his part to avoid falling a victim to their treachery.

Still, there were times when, worn out with excessive fatigue, the fugitive was compelled to relax his vigilance, and trust to chance, and the obscurity of his mountain retreat for the opportunity of obtaining the repose which exhausted nature required.


On one occasion, Norris learned of Crotty's intention to take a protracted rest in his cavern above the lake, and he conveyed the information to the magistrate by whom he was suborned. This official collected a party of military and marched secretly to the vicinity of Crotty's hiding-place. They surrounded the cavern, intending to maintain a strict blockade until the outlaw, unconscious of their presence, should emerge therefrom, and become an easy captive

Their bivouac on the exposed mountain-top lasted longer than they expected or desired, and the commander of the party began to doubt the accuracy of his information, and began to suspect that the object of his visit was not then "At Home." However, being unwilling to abandon the position it had cost them such exertion to occupy, without a final attempt to ascertain the positive truth, he, on consultation with his civilian colleague, offered a large reward to any soldier who would volunteer to descend into the cavern and explore its recesses.

The men naturally shrank from the perilous enterprise, but at length one of them, tempted by the proffered reward, and perhaps thinking the place unoccupied, offered to undertake the risky job. It was arranged that he should be lowered cautiously, so as to be able to reconnoitre, as he descended, and thus observe the outlaw, if below, before he came within his reach, and then, on making a signal, was to be quickly drawn up again.


The soldier stuck a pair of pistols into his waist-belt, took a torch of bog-deal in his hand, and having a rope well secured round his body, and managed by the most expert among his comrades, he was gradually lowered into the dark den. He looked carefully below, casting around the light of his torch, but saw no sign of any living occupant of the cave.

He descended still and reached the bottom. He was seized from behind by an iron grasp, and a hand passed over his shoulder compressed his throat almost to strangulation. The torch fell from his hand, but continued to burn on the ground, and discovered the fierce, yet mocking face and blazing eyes of the robber, who now confronted him, armed to the teeth.

The helpless soldier thought his last moment had come, but Crotty was too prudent to take his life, as by so doing he would have notified to his besiegers that he was in the den. He, therefore, keeping a choking grip on the prisoner's throat, told him that if he attempted to convey the least signal to his comrades above, he would stab him to the heart; but that he would spare his life if he complied with his conditions.


The half-choked soldier made a sign of assent, and Crotty, releasing his grip, bound him by a fearful oath, that on returning to his party above he would assure them that he had examined the cave and found it empty which would be readily believed from the fact of himself returning unharmed. But he warned the soldier that if he violated his oath and betrayed him, his own doom was sealed, for that Crotty's band would follow him to the ends of the earth to avenge their chief.

The soldier kept his pledge, for on being drawn up, after recovering his breath, he assured the magistrate and officers that there was no one below; upon which the blockading party beat a retreat, not in the best of humour, it may be taken for granted. The truth eventually transpired by Crotty relating his adventure to Norris.

Crotty stated that he was coming up out of the cave, but, when near the opening, he heard a sound that alarmed him: on which he hastily descended and hid himself in the nook from which he pounced on the invader of his retreat.


The next hairbreadth escape that Crotty had from Norris's treacherv was due to the forethought and vigilance of his devoted wife. On this occasion, the outlaw, being too much exhausted after some desparate adventure resolved to pass the night at his wife's brother's house in the village of Curracheen. He confided his intention to Norris, and the traitor at once sent word to Mr. Hearn, of Shanakill, who was deputy sheriff of the county, and had long been endeavouring to effect Crotty's capture.

Crotty, being completely tired out, was soon fast asleep; but not so his wife, who never thought him safe in the lowlands. She was not only on the watch, but her suspicions of Norris inspired her with the idea of making preparations to counteract the effect of his possible treachery, and, with her brother's help, she constructed a hiding-place in a large turf rick, to which her husband could retreat at the least sign of danger. She mounted to the top of the rick, determined to remain there as sentinel while her husband slept.


Before long, Mrs. Crotty's ear, quickened by apprehension, caught the distant sound of many footsteps, advancing cautiously through the darkness. She sprang down, ran into the house, and hastily awakened the sleeping outlaw. "You're sold! William, you're sold! Come off and hide. I have a snug place for you, and take your arms, but you can't fight now. There are too many of 'em. Come away, quick, quick!"

Crotty, wide awake, jumped out of bed, followed his wife who, with her brother's help, huddled him, with his arms, clothes, and everything that might betray him, into the cavity of the rick, telling him to remain quiet whatever might happen. Then, having neatly filled up the opening with sides of turf, she returned to the house with her brother, and lay down in the bed from which she had roused her husband.

Soon she heard the party arrive and surround the house; then Mr. Hearn's voice demanding admission in the King's name. Mrs. Crotty's brother at once leaped from bed, and, without dressing, hastened to open the door. He looked surprised, but not alarmed, when the sheriff entered with his armed followers, and at once told him the purport of the visit: They came to search for Crotty!

With a look of conscious innocence, the man of the house replied: "his Honour was welcome to search, but never a bit of Crotty he'd find. To be sure, the wife, poor crathar! was there, but dear knows where he himself was on the shaughraun the blessed night!"


Mrs. Crotty being disturbed from her apparent slumber, she very naturally commenced abusing Mr. Hearn for raising the county to hunt a poor boy who never done hurt or harm to him or any of his kith, kin, or relations. A purty how-do-you-do it was, indeed, comin' with his set of murderin' gallis-birds to harish a dacent family out of their beds at that time o' night, after their hard day's work. Nice business it was for a man with a wife of his own! But wait a while; maybe he'd yet have rayson to be sorry for his night's fun. Crotty wasn't dead yet!"

She continued this tirade while they were searching the house, looking all the time perfectly at her ease; but, as she afterwards said: "it was the scoldin' that riz my heart, and kept my courage up entirely." The house and outhouses were searched, but no sign of Crotty was found. Norris, of course, was not present to aid in the search, as the traitor was afraid to risk himself amongst Crotty's friends.

In the course of the examination outside, one of the soldiers thrust his bayonet between the sods of turf in the rick where Crotty was hidden; it crazed the outlaw's shoulder, but he made no sign, and Mr. Hearn, convinced that his night's labour was given for nothing, retreated sorely disappointed. Crotty had many similar hairbreadth escapes from perils, most of which were owing to the treachery of his associate and pretended friend, Norris.


But at length, in spite of his devoted and courageous wife's vigilance, he fell a victim, as she often predicted, to his blind confidence in the nefarious rascal, Norris. One night, without the knowledge of Mrs. Crotty or her brother, Norris prevailed on his "Captain" to remain at his house, in a village near the foot of the Comeraghs.

The treacherous host plied his guest with whiskey, until he fell fast asleep. Then he poured water into Crotty's firearms, wet his powder, and stole away his dagger. In the meantime, an emissary had been dispatched full speed for Mr. Hearn, whom with his attendants, was stationed near at hand, as previously arranged; and the sleeping outlaw, the victim of whiskey and treachery, was roused by the grasp of his captors. He siezed his arms and attempted to fire, but they too were false to him in this hour of need, and after a desperate and unavailing struggle, he was overpowered and taken to Waterford Jail. He was tried at the ensuing assizes, and, of course, condemned and hanged.

According to the traditions of the vicinity "a bootful of gold" was found in his possession when taken; but though the mountain cavern was closely ransacked, no treasure was discovered there, and it was suspected that Norris had plundered the den immediately after Crotty's apprehension.


Crotty's wife gave vent to her grief in a caoine, which is still sung in the original Irish by some of the old residents in the vicinity of the Conmeraghs. Another crude and commonplace English translation of its opening verses is given above. I regret not being in a position to give the whole lament, as, coming from her passionate energy of character, it must have been intensely Irish in feeling and expression.

Mrs. Crotty's death was fearfully tragical. After her husband's execution, and the death of his posthumous child, informations were sworn against her by Norris as having been accessory to some of her husband's aggressive deeds. The traitor knew that he bid good reason to dread her implacable enmity, and that while she lived his life was unsafe. A large reward was offered for the woman's apprehension, and for some time she led the life of a fugitive.

One day, being cut off from all other avenues of escape, she fled for refuge to the mountain den, but her pursuers pressed her so closely that she could not get into the cave. In this desperate strait the poor creature determined not to be taken alive, and so enrich her enemy by the rewards offered for her capture. Actuated by this purpose, she ran up to the topmost pinnacle of "Crotty's Rock" Rung herself headlong down, and was, of course, dashed to pieces by the tremendous fall.

Strange to relate, Norris died in his bed among a people who regarded Crotty as a benefactor and a champion of the poor, an who universally detest an "informer." The memory of Crotty will long be preserved in the scene of his daring exploits, owing to the circumstance of his name being given to so many localities.




From cottage and hamlet the smoke is ascending
The sun high in heaven his course on is wending
And in silvery streaks down the side of the mountain
The streams onward rush, foaming many a fountain.

O'er the tall cliffs of Comeragh the eagle is sweeping,
The hare through the heather is stealthily creeping;
From carraig to carraig the goats up are bounding,
And, hark! through the valley a bugle is sounding.

Near a half-ruined shieling, a maiden is crouching,
Who wistfully watches some soldiers debouching;
Her gaze is quite fixed, and her heart quick is beating,
She seems for some terrible crisis awaiting.

From the glen stretching wesward, beyond the broad Rosses,
Swift as a wild deer a traveller crosses;
He makes for the mountain o'er hill and through hollow
Whilst behind him, pursuing, both horse and foot follow.

Now, up the steep mountain he pants and he scrambles,
Though bullets drop round him among the heath brambles,
He's tired -- he's falling -- he rises he's kneeling
And the foremost among them is hurt beyond healing.

Now onward again he is bounding with vigour,
And there's death to a foe when he touches a trigger:
Brit still as he halts he is losing his distance,
And tis madness to make any further resistance.

With body bent forward, and hair wildly streaming,
Distractedly now that poor maiden is creaming;
"Oh, bear him," she cries, "but to yon beetling corraig,
Agus beidh se neamh-spleadhach le na saighdiuri dearg!? *

On the ridge of the mountains now madly he's rushing,
His hat is shot off, but no blood is yet gushing;
He gains a tall cliff, and the soldiers are cheering,
No means of escape any longer appearing.

One shout of defiance, one bound from the rock;
And a thousand feet under, the lake feels the shock,
And there in a cave o'er the edge of the water,
The outlaw can laugh at the bullet and halter.


* Translation:  "and he will be independent of the red (coated) soldiers"