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Posted by bitoh on April 08, 2004 at 21:20:57:

Connaught Journal 1823

On Friday night the Belfast Mail, when on its way from Dublin, was stopped
on the Ashbourne road, beyond Duleek, and within 7 1/2 miles of Drogheda,
near to an old burying-place. The banditti placed across the road several
carts, ladders, and wooden gates and when the coach arrived at the prepared spot, there was a cry to surrender, which the guards answered by a volley-this was returned by a fire from behind the hedges each side of the road which wounded both guards; one of them, named Lewis BYRNE, received a ball in his left groin, another in his left thigh, and one in his right side. The other guard, named Gregory FARRELL, received a passing ball across his forehead. The robbers (about fifteen in number) then surrounded the coach, and took the fire-arms, consisting of three double-barelled short guns, three double-barrelled brass blunderbusses, and four pistols; they broke open the lockers, and took the Mail bag for Drogheda, and several other parcels-there was a sum of 10,000l, in whole bank notes in part of the coach, which fortunately escaped their search. The knowledge of this sum (which was for the Belfast bank) being in the coach, it is thought occassioned the attack. The robbers were two hours and a half arranging their plans, before the arrival of the coach. They went around to the neighbou ring cottages, and after shutting up every person in their place, and sending them in from their out-houses, they left an armed sentinel at the doors to prevent their coming out. The occasion of their getting possession of the Drogheda Mail bag was owing to the guard having it uppermost, in order to hand out to the Post-office when passing through. There were four inside and three outside passengers, all of whom were searched and robbed of their watches and money-they also took the contents of their trunks-there were five watches and about 100l taken from the passengers, but they had no great booty in the Drogheda bag. The guard, Lewis BYRNE, was removed to Drogheda and lies dangerously ill. There were several shots through the body of the coach, but happily neither the coachman nor passengers received the least injury. The coach afterwards proceeded to Belfast.

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