Offaly (Kings County)

The eviction of the Redmond family, near Kinnitty

In January 1845 there was outrage in King’s County (Offaly) following the eviction of a family of five named Redmond. What made the eviction so detested was the fact that it took place in blinding snow. Tenants of the Westenra estate, the Rev McMahon was appalled, having witnessed the eviction at first hand. He was later quoted as saying:  ‘I saw the wretched mother, with her three children, actually lying in the snow’ while the house was being levelled. It was suggested the landlord was unaware of the eviction. Although intitial shock was expressed, the crticism subsided and soon eviction became the byword of the day.

Three years later when Colonel Westenra cleared a number of tenants at Sharavogue a threatening letter was sent to his wife, at which the tenants were said to have ‘displayed horror and revulsion’. Presenting an address to her, the tenants praised the Westenra’s ‘many acts of kindness to the poor of your neighbourhood….which will never be forgotten’. The address was signed by sixty tenants ‘of all classes and creeds’, while a reward of over £100 was offered to find the culprits of the letter (KCC, 5 Jan. 1848)

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