Irish families. Area in turmoil. Murder at hand along with a complicit constable. The Donnelly family virtually wiped out in a single night.
My son was of an age where he could learn about this part of our local history, so when we needed to make an unexpected trip into London, I took advantage of the time and stopped in at the Lucan Museum on the way there. I did not know it did more than tell the story of the Donnelly's, but also of the local black settlement.
They frequently quarreled with their neighbours. If trouble were to found they were bound to be in the midst of it, but as people are, they were no different from many of their neighbours.
There are a lot of discrepancies in the stories surrounding the Donnelly's from the date they arrived to just how events transpired that resulted in their deaths. The museum had some facts, this website has others. Suffice it to say, Mr. Donnelly was not a man to back down from a fight, and he'd do whatever he could to come out on top.... even if that meant murder.
As events went, a Catholic Priest was called into the area after the old one passed. This priest took a strong disliking to the Donnelly's and wanted them gone. He formed a group of men with the intention of settling the region down (which meant settling the Donnelly's down). A constable came into the back door of the Donnelly house and handcuffed the strongest fighter of the Donnelly lads and then let in the rest of the gang. The Donnelly family (save a daughter and visiting 11 year old lad) were beaten to death. At the museum we were told the lad and the girl both lived but the website says the girl Bridget died. Which is true I don't know.
At the household of another Donnelly family the first Donnelly to answer the door was also shot to death, the rest stayed quietly in the house as the gang did not know that more were there visiting. The house was burnt to the ground.
NONE of the perpetrators were brought to justice and the Donnelly family was just gone. People killed, murderers staying free. It is an horrific tale regardless of what all the facts are. It is a sad part of our history.
We learned that one of the things the Irish liked to do for fun was hit each other with Sticks with knobs on them. These were for the lads to use, the lasses would use socks laden with rocks. It was just part of what they did. That information helps me to understand the violence these Irish folk lived under.
The rest of the museum (the main part) not the outbuildings, was about the black settlement. They had quite a few displays set up. Here is one of them.