1888 - Spectators observe the eviction of the Bermingham family from their cottage on the Vandeleur estate in Kilrush, Co. Clare.

The bailiff’s team met with resistance from within the Bermingham family cottage on the shore of the Shannon Estuary. The house was barricaded by the occupants, using tree branches and hedges, through which the family used tin syringes to squirt hot water at the eviction team outside.
Because spectators were prevented from coming close to the scene by soldiers and police, a number of locals used a fleet of boats to gain a vantage point from the water nearby, beyond the reach of the authorities. They were loud in their support for the family during its resistance, shouting and cheering while the tenants held out.
We can see smoke, or steam, emanating from the gap. At this point, the family inside – Thomas Bermingham, his sister, two boys and two girls – are still armed with boiling water and projectiles, and the two emergency men nearest the house hold their shields aloft.
In the foreground to the left is a well-dressed middle-aged couple looking on from the sidelines. These have been tentatively identified as  Major O’Shaughnessy and his wife Margaret, who were American fundraisers for the Irish National League.
Newspaper accounts from Kilrush describe English and American sightseers travelling with officials to view the evictions taking place. 

The photograph is usually credited to Robert French, but recent research suggests it may be the work a Limerick professional photographer, Timothy O’Connor.

The Clare County Library has gathered interesting further reading, including an article by Ed O’Shaughnessy tracing the visit of Major O’Shaughnessy and the role of the eviction photographs as propaganda back in the USA.

Image courtesy National Library of Ireland, L_ROY_1771

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