Wednesday 7 September 2011

150th Anniversary of Derryveagh Evictions - Hugh Doherty

Susie & Rosie Kerr from Melbourne, Australia, standing at the
Hearthstone of their Great Grandmother's (Catherine Ward) ancestral
wallsteads from which she was evicted in 1861 as well as 46 other
families. The clergy of the three main denominations in
the area all pleaded with the Landlord not to proceed
with the evictions but he went ahead regardless and the
operation took three days.

In one house a young girl had beautiful long hair and the Bailiffe
swirlled her hair around his arm and led her outside by the hair
of her head.

My wife Mary's Great Grandmother, Biddy McSwyne (Sweeney) was
also evicted. She was 11 years old at that time. She was put out
of the house with the rest of the family but ran back in only to
be caught and thrown out again. The crowbar then was put to
the lintel above the door and the house tumbled. Other tenants,
were not permitted to give shelter to the evicted under the
threat of eviction themselves if the did so. Consequently, those
evicted were "left on the waves of the world" and while some
were helped by relatives on other estates many had to make
the three months sea journey to New South Wales, Australia to
start a new life.

On Saturday 27th August 2011, two hundred and fifty people,
mostly descendants or relatives, walked from Derryveagh to
Churchill in recognition of the courage and dignity of those
made homeless and their determination to rear their children.

Informative talks were given by May McClintock, Tom
Sweeney and Niall McGinley. It was an emotional day for all
concerned but at the end of the walk there was an enjoyable
BBQ, music and dance at Wilkins Bar, Churchill.