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Fighting Words By A Real Irish Woman

by Edited by Jimmy Rhatigan

By Seán Maher

Deirdre O’Shea and her twin son Martin

THERE WAS a powerful oration by Helena Irish at the Carrickshock monument.

The monument was erected in 1925 by locals to mark the 1831 battle in which three local men were killed in a battle with forces of the crown in a very narrow boreen, just off the Hugginstown Village in South Kilkenny, 

Unlike previous recent years, when heavy rain poured down, weather conditions were pretty good.

There were walks from Ballyhale Village, led by Jim Healy, and  from the village of Carrickshock. led by Helena Irish and Noel Maher. 

Jim Healy and members of Tyndall Walking Club paid their respects in Kilcasey Graveyard to Thomas Phelan, one of three who lost their lives.

Helen Irish led a journey through Irish History, including the Famine, the different rebellions and uprisings, the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the signing of the treaty. 


She linked troubled times of our history to the Battle of Carrickshock in December 1831.

“We endured 700 years of English tyranny. We survived 8 rebellions. We survived mass emigration. We survived the worst famine in European history because of English economic policy.

Not only did we survive but we kept our culture, our ideals, our vision and our hopes intact,” said Helen. 

“Carrick shock may have been seen as a local victory, in fact, it became a major contribution to our country’s fight for freedom, the freedoms we now enjoy.”

She said that with all that was going on at that time in Ireland, locals there still found space and finance to erect this fine Celtic Cross monument. 

In loving memory

The tithe system spoke volumes of the stance adopted by British officialdom in Ireland during the period. The so-called Tithe War raged from 1831-1836 featuring numerous instances of violence.

Then lithe as mountain hare 

And that is not a vaunt 

James Treacy grabbed the proctor,

Saying: ‘This is the man we want’

A peeler grabbed the Proctor back,

’Twas but a brief respite,

For Butler’s skull was broken

By rock and mallet smite.

Pitchfork, scythe and hurley

Were used to maim and kill

In that brief but savage battle

That makes one shudder still.

Battle of Carrickshock monument was erected in July 1925, in memory of locals killed: James Treacy (the bayoneted youth), Patrick Power and Thomas Phelan.

Seán Maher, Mullinavat and Martin Bambrick, Kyleva

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