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Eviction at Foley's Fort

Picture of Foley's Fort taken around 1900

This is the sound of the battering ram being used during an eviction. Foley's Fort is only about a mile from our school and Victor Murphy lives there now.It is in Ballykerogue. The eviction happened on October 21st 1887.
Back in 1887 it was owned by David Foley. His son was called Laurence. Laurence was involved in the Land League . The tenants wanted a fair rent and to own their own property. The "Plan of Campaign" was started. This meant the tenants would decide what was a fair rent and would not pay large rents anymore. The tenants of Sutton's Parish asked the local landlord,Tottenham, to reduce the rent by 25%. He refused. The tenants then refused to pay any rent. Tottenham then decided to evict the tenant with the most land and this was David Foley. But Foley didn't go quietly.
Twenty one of the strongest men from the the parish were picked to defend the house The men heard from a drunken policeman when the eviction would take place and then barricaded the house and got ready for the fight. They had the house defended like a "fort" or fortress and no one could get in. Laurence or Larry was the man who led the tenants.
About 150 police came to Foley's by boat as well as twelve Emergencymen. These had crowbars and would do the battering. They were hated.

What the eviction scene looked like to Pearl P. in 4th class(03)

It is said that there were 10,000 people at Foley's that morning. The Campile Fife and Drum band was there. A famous priest from Ramsgrange was there called Canon Doyle. He went to all the evictions around trying to make peace.The notice of eviction was nailed to Foley's door at 9.30 am. Canon Doyle heard the men's confession as the Emergency men were armed.The men inside were asked to come out. They refused and the fight began at 10 am.
The crowbars went to work at the back of the house. The men inside threw stones,slates and anything they could find at them. The best weapon they had was hot sheep dip. This was sprayed from hoses.This battle went on for four hours with cheers from the crowd for the men inside and boos for the Landlord's men.

An eviction scene

The emergency men then took a break and must have felt like giving up. They attacked again at the back of the house. They tried to widen a hole already made here but were met with bars of iron by the men inside and sheep dip.Canon Doyle tried to stop the eviction and make peace. He told the people there to go home and the band led them away. Fires were lit along the road. The head RIC man went into the house through the hole in the wall. The men asked him for water and later two policemen with water burst in through the breach in the wall. The men were drinking tea and taken by surprise. Later the sheriff arrested the men and took them first to Ballybrazil Barracks. They sang "God save Ireland". They were then taken to New Ross and finally to Wexford Jail.
A huge crowd was at their trial in Arthurstown and the army from Duncannon had to be called in to control them. The men were given sentences from three to six months but managed to get out on bail. They were given a great cheer when released. Two of the defenders of Foley's Fort were nephews of Patrick Kennedy from Dunganstown. Patrick left for Boston in 1848 and was President Kennedy's great grand-father. The two were James and Patrick Kennedy. Larry Foley went to live in Ballykerogue Castle,after his jail sentence. This was the home or seat of the Sutton Family, after which Horeswood Parish is named.

James Kennedy(1857-1932) a nephew of President Kennedy's great-grandfather, was in Foley's Fort with twenty other men.

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