1887 - Anti-eviction protestors at Bodyke, County Clare

Anti-eviction protesters with an effigy of Colonel O’Callaghan, the principal landowner at Bodyke, in Co. Clare. O’Callaghan had refused to lower rents even though his tenants were in distress. In June 1887 O’Callaghan called for police assistance in evicting the tenants, who resisted by force, witnessed by large crowds.

An early instance of photo-reportage, this image is attributed to Henry Norman journalist for the Pall Mall Gazette. It was taken on Friday, June 3rd 1887, the day after Widow MacNamara’s eviction. The sign nailed to the effigy reads: “Praise the Lord for here the Tyrant’s arm was paralysed”. This refers to an episode some days earlier, when a sheriff, called McMahon, had turned up with a large force to effect the eviction, but had an epileptic fit and the police withdrew. The tenants saw this as divine intervention and made this effigy.

The priest visible on the right is likely to be Fr. Murphy, who also appears in the related photo showing the widow, Margaret MacNamara’s cottage.

Image: NLI EB_2665

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