From a story related to me by my first cousin John Hunt on 7/8/2013. John is 93 years old but looks and acts alot younger. He is a most interesting character with lot of stories to tell from his long life.
According to John we had cousins called the 'H' Danaher's who owned several hundred acres of land adjoining Athea at Dromadda between Knockanasna and the Gale river. Dromadda is the old name used in Tithe Evalautions of 1833 for the town lands of Gortnagross, Coole, Clash, Keale, Cratloe and prob. Tooradoo...
John 'H' Danaher went to law with the Colberts over the ownership of a very small bit of land along the banks of the river. Seemingly the river had changed course and cut off some of his land. The case ended up in the High Court and the result was that John H Danaher lost and was bankrupt in the process.
During the course of the trial the judge asked one of the barristers how much land was involved and was told " about enough to feed a goose".
Shortly after the case was over our grandfather John 'Boss' Danaher was in the National Bank in Newcastle West and was approached by a Bank clerk who said he should buy out John 'H's land as he was bankrupt. The people who worked for the 'H' Danaher's organised a boycott against our grandfather when he had acquired the land. However the boycott failed when the organisers approached Shine the local blacksmith to ask him to stop shooing John Danaher's horses. Shine is supposed to have replied 'as long as John Danaher has horses I will shoe them'. The Bank clerk subsequently committed suicide. A shooting incident occurred in March 1895, connected with the boycott, attracting widespread publicity. It was even the subject of a Parliamentry Question in the House of Commons. I have been able to track down and copy much of the newspaper coverage.
Further research indicates that John H was evicted by the Bank for a relatively small debt of £1800. He had come to Dromadda around 1850 and had married the widow of John Maurice Roche. Her husbands death notice appeared in the Limerick Chronicle on 30th October 1847 :
"At the age of 28 years, at Athea, in this County, John Maurice Roche, only son of Maurice Roche, the upright and esteemed agent of the Goold property. He was a young man universally respected for his amiable qualities and who will be long missed by his poor neighbours. A young wife and family are left to deplore his premature death."
The Roches owned all this land and were agents for the Goold estate.
See : http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/estate-show.jsp?id=2195
In 1833 there were four Roche holdings in Dromadda totalling 700 acres
John H Danaher is referred to as renting 328 acres near Athea in a report in the Freeman's Journal on 9th February 1884 when he succeeded in having his rent reduced. He claimed he had spent a huge amount of money (£3,500( improving the farm. Perhaps this also contributed to his downfall.
Further reports in the same newspaper on 11th February 1884 indicate that the case was concluded in favor of John H Danaher with his rent reducing from £85 to £70 per annum.
The land was subsequently left to my Uncle Dr Jim before being acquired by the Land Commission. His brother Jack Danaher continued to live in the house and surrounding 30 acres known as 'The Lawn'. The house no longer exists but was very large with about 14 rooms. Jack Danaher's land went to 'Doctor' Woulfe after his death even though Pa Danaher tried to get it but failed in court. Pa had taken in Jack when he got ill and he died in his house. Woulfe seemingly worked the Land and may have had possessory rights. The Doctor tag seems to refer to his ability with sick animals.
John Hunt thinks Our Uncle Jack died around 1947. John Hunt inherited 7 acres from the original holding which is now cutaway bog and which he still owns.
According to JH Uncle Jack was a "philosopher" and a very intelligent man. Some say he was no good but JH says he was a great man to go to for advice as he knew everything. It is said that In his early days he went to New York, " looked at the time " and came home again. He liked to spend his time reading.
JH says 'John 'Boss' Danaher was a very successful and influential businessman. His daughters were all given a dowry of £1000 which was a very large sum of money in the late 1800's and early 1900's. the equivalent of £100,000 in todays money. They were all married off to Doctors, Engineers and Business men ie Dr Mc Grath, Dr Moran, Frank Hartigan County Engineer and Edward Hunt Publican. His sons went into business, medecine and farming'.
OUTRAGE AT ATHEA
Reference was made in the House of Commons in 1895 to an incident at Athea which concurs with the story related by John Hunt. See web page :
The case was reported in the Freeman's Journal and The Cork Examiner on 15th March 1895. Timothy Shea was a tatcher employed by my Grandfather, who was shot in the incident and Timothy Danaher a nephew of John H Danaher was arrested.
Cork Examiner, Friday Morning, 15th March 1895.
Freeman's Journal same date.
The same story appearing in two different editions of the paper on the same day but giving different snippets of information.
Timothy Danaher was eventually released from custody at a sitting of Abbeyfeale District Court on 27th March 1895 because of a lack of evidence against him. The newspaper account of the court hearing also stated that 'the injured man Shea is much improved, and his life is now considered out of danger'. It appears that the gun could not be found and there was nobody prepared to give evidence against Timothy Danaher. Cork Examiner, Wednesday, 28th March 1895.
There were ongoing accounts of the land grabbing issue being raised at Nationalist meeting over the following years with brief accounts appearing in the Freeman's Journal from time to time, for example
When I was researching this I was saddened to find that John H Danaher was living at Bishop Street, Newcastle West in 1907 when he applied for assistance from the Estates Commission by way of Application from Evicted Tenants. In this application he was described as ' old man, no family, would be aided by two nephews". It is believed he died in the County Home at Newcastle West in 1907.
Extract of email from Jamie Kelly, Athea relating to this John Danaher :
'In the meantime that I have some info on John Danaher you mentioned. He owned a large farm of land in Gortnagross, Athea (it ran in a north - south direction, crossing both the Athea - Abbeyfeale road and the Dromadda road). That family were known as The "H" Danaher's. It is said that John H. Danaher (prob. the man mentioned in your attachment) came to Dromadda in 1850 (just so you know "Dromadda" was the old name given to the townlands of Gortnagross, Coole, Clash, Keale, Cratloe and prob. Tooradoo...it was used in the 1833 Tithe records). He married the widow of John Maurice Roche who held a good portion of Gortnagross. John H. Danaher was evicted by the national Bank for £1800 in 1894. He died in Newcastle Hospital in Feb 1907. It is said that a John Danaher, Athea took over the lands in April 1894 after J.H. Danaher was evicted. I am not sure were they related but I do know that there was a connection with your father. Had your father a brother Jack? or another called Jim, who was a doctor in England?
I also got some info on John H. Danaher's house...according to Thady Hunt (Coole West - a man I get alot of my info from) that it was "a gentleman's residence." He remembers hearing that there were weights on the windows so they could be easily opened & closed! I aslo found out that the farm was divided by the Irish Land Commission in 1935 and small portions of the land were given to small farmers in the area.