Great Extermination on Martin Joseph Blake's Property

Letter to the Editor of The Galway Vindicator, 7th July, 1852

Given to KHS during the research for our Parish History

The following letter appeared in the Galway Vindicator (A publication long since gone) in July 1852 and is included here as a piece of social history. Killererin Heritage Society has no knowledge of said events and presents them exactly as they appeared in the paper.

To the Editor of the Galway Vindicator.

Sir, I beg that you will give full insertion in the columns of your newspaper to the following transactions of one of our present candidates for the County of the Town of Galway, Martin J. Blake. He has evicted , for the last foregoing three years- namely in 1849, 1850, and 1851, in and about Ballyglunin Park, his place of residence, about one hundred families. In one village alone, called Ballinapark, he has turned out, by wholesale, fifty families, wherein there might be on an average, at least Two Hundred individuals, the one-third of which number, I can prove, died of starvation; and the remaining part of them thrown into the workhouse, except a few who might have a little means to pay their fare to America. Oh’ what a Tenant-Right man Martin Joseph Blake must be; is it possible that he will have the unblushing effrontery of coming forward and declaring himself such – and to support Mr. Sharman Crawford’s bill in all it’s parts – he might from his tongue, but not from  his purse. Electors of Galway, if you want to know anything about Martin J. Blake, look to his tenantry in both town and country.

He is well known to be a most tyrannical landlord, in the country he has turned his lands into sheep-walks, and in the town of Galway, half his property is in a scandalous state – roofless houses b reason of giving no encouragement to the tenant.

Martin Joseph Blake has recently purchase about three thousand acres of the lands of Abbkeyknockmoy, the property of Robert B. Foster, Esq., in January last, he immediately got notice to quit served on the tenantry, but fearing the present contest, he withdrew from putting them into execution, Martin J. Blake and his agent Mr. Donnellan, ordered the several tenants on that part of Abbeyknockmoy property that he bought in February last, to sow their crops and as soon as that was done, the agent, Mr. Donnellan enforced payment for half a-year’s rent from all the tenants, by impounding their cattle, without mercy; and makes sure of the other half year’s rent by the growing crop, and then will turn them out as soon as this election is over.

I can quote one instance of M. J. Blake’s harshness on that property, he has turned out a man whose name is Edward Genning’s mason, without any commiseration or pity, whose forefathers lived and died on the same property for the last one hundred years – I could mention many other matters but I refrain from doing so for the present.

I remain, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

Michael Loughnane

Abbeyknockmoy, 6th July, 1852

This page was added on 24/09/2023.

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