This week I’m going to share with you some research done by Kay O’Leary on a terrible time in Ireland’s history, in particular the devastating effect the land war had in a small community in North Kerry;
Evictions and notices of evictions were the order of the day back in the 1880’s. Representatives of the law and the landlords marched through the land from end to end and thousands of families were left homeless. The emigrant ship took many to foreign shores but others resolutely refused to go while many of them lacked the means to pay for the voyage.
All of this reign of terror was taken place even though Mr. Gladstone had introduced the Land Act, which, in his opinion, was to settle the land question in Ireland.
At this time the Land League was pointing out the desire of the Irish people to own their own land. For promoting this idea they were declared communists by the Tory Party.
In 1877 the number of families evicted in Kerry was 18.
In 1881 – 192.
In 1883 – 403.
In 1884 – 410.
Thirty-two thousand pounds – extra police tax was paid out for the County of Kerry between the years 1884 – 1887 while the population in the same period through evictions and emigration had decreased.
In 1883 the evictions in Kerry were more numerous than those of the rest of Ireland put together.
This was the era in which the moonlighters were most active but Kerry had not always been a county of rebellious fame. Going back ten years moonlighting was unheard of in the county. It was in this setting that evictions in Lyreacrompane took place.