While the various Land Acts were being negotiated and passed in the British House of Commons in the 1880s, with no real solution to the Land question, evictions were commonplace in Kerry. From 1873 to 1896, Ireland suffered from an agricultural depression and with lower prices, higher rents and no security of tenure.
Just a few extracts from Kerry newspapers of 1887*:
[box] ‘After carrying out an eviction at Knockanagh, on the Kenmare Estate, on Feb. 12th, the bailiffs were about leaving the place when someone in the crowd said that the eviction was not carried out as a pig was still on the premises. The bailiffs first regarded it as a hoax, but the pig, as it were by way of defiance, followed them down a boreen. When the bailiffs retraced their footsteps, the pig ran towards the house, and all their efforts to remove it were unavailing.'[/box]
[box] ‘On March 25th, a numerous staff of bailiffs, protected by a large force of police under the command of District Inspector W.H.RICE, accompanied by Lord Listowel’s Steward, Mr. SWEETMAN, proceeded to Finuge for the purpose of evicting a farmer named James O’CONNELL for non payment of rent. When thebailiffs arrived at the place there were only Mrs. O’Connell and her children in the house, Mr. O’CONNELL being in town at the time. Mr. SWEETMAN demanded possession. Mrs O’Connell replied her husband was not at home. Bailiff BROWNE and his comrades set about their work. So roughly did they hustle out the furniture and bedding that the bystanders, smothering their feelings, actually assisted in removing the various articles of furniture to save them from being injured. When the house was cleared, a caretaker was put in possession, and two policemen left to guard him. When Mr. O’CONNELL came on the scene the eviction was almost completed. When the police and bailiffs left he found himself surrounded by his wife and children. He had no place to shelter either himself or his family. He came into town and asked the agent for a night’s lodging in the home from which he was evicted. The agent refused. That night the caretaker took pity on Mrs O’CONNELL and gave her shelter. The next morning the agent, Mr. FITZGERALD, met Mrs O’CONNELL, and warned her that if she visited the house again he would prosecute her. Since that time the caretakers have refused to give shelter to the poor woman and her infant child. The neighbours, however did not leave her long without protection. Mrs O’CONNELL is now sheltered and has a temporary home under James MURPHY’S roof, and the children are scattered out amongst the other neighbours'[/box]
[box] ‘On March the 25th, the lone and sequestered Glen of Clydagh, about 25 miles to the South East of Killarney, was the scene of an eviction campaign. At an early hour the Sheriff’s bailiffs, accompanied by a large force of police proceeded to the place. After a long and tedious drive the glen was reached, and the operations were at once commenced. The houses of Charles BUCKLEY, John BUCKLEY, Patrick BUCKLEY, and Julia BUCKLEY were first visited and all evicted. The next was Jeremiah DINEEN. He produced a letter from the agent, George SANDES, which stated that he had recently paid some of the outstanding rent, so the eviction was abandoned for the present.'[/box]
[box] ‘The houses of Daniel and Florence McCARTHY, at Knocknagowan were next visited. The passage into these houses is through an old mountain footway, which is in a wretched state. The public road does not go within five miles of the place and the journey to it took up a lot of time. During the proceedings the shrieval party were followed by a large concourse of people, who “Booed” at the bailiffs. On their homeward journey the police found the road blocked. Huge stones were rolled down the mountain sides, which completely blocked the road. It took about a half hour’s hard work to get the cars over these impediments, and in two places so great was the obstruction that the horses had to be unyoked and the cars lifted over the rocks. On their way through the glen the police were afraid that the people might roll down stones on them from the hillsides. It was late at night before the police reached Killarney’ [/box]