Ireland Old News

The Times
London, Middlesex, England

May 22, 1794


On Tuesday the 13th instant, a most desperate affray happened at the fair of Kilnaleck, near Cavan. A number of persons, calling themselves Defenders, having come to the fair, declared they would destroy every Scotchman or Presbyterian they should find. They met a Mr. BIGGERS, and having cut and abused him in a shocking manner, some humane people got him from the crowd and concealed him from their fury. Word was immediately sent to Ballyjamesduff and the neighbourhood, when a Mr. BLAKELEY assembled about forty of his neighbours (Protestants and Dissenters) and proceeded on their way to Kilnaleck. They were met by the banditti within one mile of the town, who made a shew of opposition. Mr. BLAKELY, accompanied by some others, went to them, and stated, that they did not come with any hostile intent, but hearing of the treatment Mr. BIGGERS had received, they were determined to bring him home dead or alive, upon which one of the leaders of the party made a stroke with a sword at Mr. BLAKELY'S head, which he defended with a blunderbuss, and had one of his fingers cut off, whereupon the fellow was instantly shot dead; the insurgents immediately called to each other to surround Mr. BLAKELEY'S party, which they attempted to do, but received so smart a reception, that, after a short engagement, they fled, leaving 32 of their companions dead on the spot.

May 28, 1794


Our accounts from Cavan, respecting the late disturbances are of a dreadful nature.

A letter from one of the militia quartered at Cavan, states, that, by the nearest computation, from 100 to 120 of the Defenders were killed, with a loss on the other side of but one killed and three wounded: The Defenders were first attacked by the light company of militia, consisting of an officer, 26 rank and file, a drummer and serjeant. - This party was twice beat from Ballina, h, by a continual fire from the windows; the grenadiers, however, attacked the insurgents on the other side, and, having thus hemmed them in, set fire to all the houses save two, killing every man that endeavoured to ascape. Numbers were burned in their habitations. The Defenders are represented to have amounted to between 9 and 1200. Those who have not been killed are effectually beggared by the ravages of the conflagration. Funerals gloom the roads ever since, and many survivors being afraid to own or search after their deceased friends, numbers lie in the burned houses. Eight prisoners were taken, three of whom are leaders; one of these has turned King's evidence, from whom a disclosure of the principals may be expected.

Submitted by: County Cavan Newspaper Transcription Project

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