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Leisure : Castlebar Books Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

When Crowbar and Bayonet Ruled
By The Castle Bookshop
25, Jul 2013 - 16:27

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This book, 'When Crowbar and Bayonet Ruled', written by Jim and Michael O'Connor from Belcarra, deals with the Land Wars surrounding the estate of Harriet Gardiner and Susanna Pringle in the period 1879 - 1910.

This 3-year study entitled "When Crowbar & Bayonet Ruled" contains a detailed account of the evictions, trials, imprisonments, boycotting, beatings and house levelling that occurred across the estate from Belcarra to Frenchill. The study contains detailed accounts of the monster political meetings that took place in Belcarra, Tully, Logaphuill, Frenchill, Ballyheane, Castlebar and elsewhere.The trial at Ballyglass & Castlebar of the Tully Five in 1901 for coercion is also examined. The rise of nationalism, the role of the police and clergy and the role played by James Daly and the Connaught Telegraph are also examined.

Belcarra is only a few miles outside of Castlebar, and to the eternal shame of this reviewer, I had no idea of the struggle, the history and indeed the hardship that was played out only a few miles outside of Castlebar. This book certainly corrected that gap in my knowledge (or lack thereof!) of local history.

Michael and Jim O'Connor have succeeded in writing an accessible and interesting book about a very important episode in local Castlebar history. They detail the terrible injustice that was impressed upon the local people of the Belcarra Estate and the reign of tyranny under which they were held for the duration of the reign of the above-mentioned landladies.

The book outlines, how Harriet Gardiner, upon inheriting the Belcarra Estate from her uncle, Colonel St. George Cuffe, with the assistance of her lifelong friend, Susanna Pringle, set about trying to clear the estate of all its tenants by manipulation, assault, turning neighbour on neighbour and downright bullying. The book outlines some extraordinary episodes and as a local, I have to admit to being shocked that such injustices were rife not so long ago.

I can highly recommend this book to all who are interested in local history and politics.

The book is available at or at The Castle Bookshop, Castle Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Any queries can be directed to or 094 9024422.

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