Story of Wildgoose Lodge
Wildgoose Lodge , while not the actual Big House was situated on the estate of the Local landlords The Filgates and was occupied by Edward Lynch a successful flaxgrower
"This obscure unpretending house, which furnishes so sad a chapter in this narrative is situated about nine miles west of Dundalk in the Parish of Arthurstown The land surrounding the house is swampy and marshy in the winter season, especially after heavy rains , the waters riseto a considerable height, and sometimes completely encircle the house.
It thus became the favourite resort of winterbirds , particularly wild geese from which it derived its name.
At the time of which we write WildGoose lodge otherwise Carthill House was situated on the property of the late William Filgate esq.Of Lisrenny and was occupied by a man named Lynch and his wife;Rooney the son in law , and his wife and family, in all there were eight……"John Matthews
The remote situation of the lodge made it an ideal location for the clandestine meetings of the Local Ribbon Men( The Ribbon men were a secret society made up mainly of Catholics which had its origins in the sectarian strife in Ulster in the turn of the 19th century. Land Reform became their prime concern)
To quote James Anton , A captain of the Royal Highlanders stationed locally at the time " Lynch for some time gave it(The organisation) his cordial support . in a short time however, its numbers increased so as not only to subject his family to much inconvenience but also to place Lynch under just apprehension that he would be considered as a leading promoter of this illegal band, and so bring upon himself a heavy responsibility.he therefore refused them the privelige of longer assembling under his roof.This led the ringleaders to stimulate their sworn accomplices to inflict every annoyance on him which they could think of, with aview to accomplish his ruin and eject him from the place".
April 10 1816
"Night being the time chosen for these associates to act agreeably to the mandates of their directors, a disguised or masked party entered the house of Lynch stripped him in the presence of his family and after flogging him destroyed his furniture , insulted his wife and cut the yarn in the loom from the one selvage thread to the other, down to the beam on to which the warp was rolled."
"At the County Louth assizes Michael Tiernan, Patrick Stanley and Phillip Conlan were indicted (Under the White Boy Act) of breaking into the house of Edward Lynch Of Reaghstown on April 10. It appeared by evidence of Lynch that a number of persons came to his house that night with guns , broke in the door , and asked for arms.Upon being told there were none in the house, they destroyed the web in the loom and broke the furniture"Belfast Newsletter 1
August 1 1816
The three men were hanged in Dundalk and buried the gaol yard.
The Ribbon men take their Revenge October 30th 1816
James Anton's Account;
"Not far from WildGoose lodge stands Stonetown chapel , where the association met after its ejection from the house of Lynch.The leader was Pat Devane;This man had the charge of the chapel and was the priests clerk.Within this supposed consecrated building, the midnight band assembled ;oaths had been previously been imposed , such oaths as were and are a disgrace to society,
but well adapted to influence powerfully the grossly ignorant and superstitious minds of those to whom they were administered; but to impress them more forcibly on this occasion, the leader assembled the fraternity before the altar, and after mentioning the falling off of Lynch, and the necessity for their united efforts in suppressing all defections among themselves declares the object for which they were assembled and which he trusted would serve as an example to them all in future,…….
Having a piece of burning turf secreted in a potsherd before the altar , he lifted it up and desired them to follow.
The band now issued forth after Devane; some scores on horseback from distant places, and many more on foot; many inquiring in whispers what was to be done; for very few of the body that had heard Devane's address believed that the threat was to be enforced. Silence reigned around, and nothing disturbed the general quiet of the country, save the distant house-dog's bark and the unequal thread of the advancing band. They approached the house, and there all was as silent as death.
An extensive circle was now formed around the devoted dwelling, and a selected few advanced to the spot. They crept along the ground, the pike in one hand and the faggot in the other; there was no chance of escape, and no doubt of the fire communicating to the house, for much flax was in it, and when once in flame there would be no extinguishing it. In an instant the house was on fire, thirteen souls beneath it's blazing roof. The flames rose up to heaven, and illuminated the fields of him who was destined never again to look upon them.
The supplicating cries of the frantic victims burst from the midst of the consuming element. ' Mercy! For God's sake, mercy, mercy!' No, there was no mercy. The monsters stood ready with their pikes to thrust back those who would dare to escape, either from door or window; and when the burning mother held out her scorched child for protection, it was thrust back on her bosom as she fell amidst the blazing fire.
The winds of autumn and the storms of winter swept the ashes of Wildgoose Lodge to the fields which the industrious Lynch had cultivated, and the nettle reared it's head undisturbed within the scorched walls of the desolate place, before one of the criminals was brought to justice
Informers and Executions
Patrick Devane; Executed at WildGoose Lodge on July 24 1817, Gibbeted and hung in chains for 21 months until 1819.
Hugh Mc Cabe
Hugh Mc Elarney
Floods prevented the executions taking place at the WildGoose Lodge so the men were hanged from a scaffold in Reaghstown and their bodies gibbeted in groups of 3 and 4 at Corcreaghy , Hackballscross and Louth.
Thomas Mc Cullagh
Patrick mc Cullen
All executed at Reaghstown , McCullagh was gibbeted and hung in chains but the bodies of the rest were taken to Dundalk for dissection.
Convicted at Summer assizes on 3 July 1818, Executed Dundalk , bodies dissected.
Gibbeting A means of suspending the body of the hanged person within a steel frame regarded as a deterrent for others
Henry McClintock, local gentleman of the time and member of the yeomanry who also attended the trials out of curiosity records in his journal entry of ,
Wednesday 23rd July 1817 - Very fine day – I attended a yeomanry parade at eight O Clock in the morning and at ten we escorted a prisoner Patrick Devan to Wildgoose Lodge Reaghstown in this County where he was hanged inside the walls of WildGoose lodge from a board that was placed on the two chimneys of the house-his crime was being the commander of a party of near a hundred men who on the night of October 31 had set fire to Wildgoose Lodge and burned eight people in it –men women and children –he fully confessed his guilt on the gallows-after he was hanged his body was put into iron chains and conveyed to Corcria and hung there on a gibbet –Corcria was his native place and a party of soldiers are stationed there which will prevent the gibbet being taken down.This Devan was a schoolmaster and clerk to the popish chapel at Stonetown very near Corcria –this chapel was the place where he and his associates met at night to plan their diabolical act-almost every gentleman in the county attended the execution."
October 11th 1818 "Morning Fine , day wet ……..then Bessy and I rode to Hackballscross and saw three gibbets there of men executed for the burning of the Wildgoose Lodge.We got wet to the skin and rode there and home in under an hour and a half-Surgeon Noble and his son Wm Dined with us."
In spite of the terrible justice meted out to the Ribbon Men the threats to the safety of the Landlord Mr Filgate continued , He however lived to the ripe old age of 101.
But in the words of T.F.G Patterson
"In the neighbourhood of Reaghstown the tragic affair is still spoken of with horror, and local tradition affirms that certain people who were innocent of active participation in The Burning of theWildgoose Lodge suffered the same penalty as those who were undoubtedly guilty of murder." County Louth Archaeological Journal VOL X11 1950
By history bhoy | 2012-02-26 16:16:26
story of wild goose lodge
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