|From Google Images|
The theme of this year's Scurlogstown entry in the Trim parade was an event that occurred in the Spring of 1865, or on the 27th of January of that year to be exact and hopefully the date is correct, when John Dyas the local landlord evicted 13 families from their homes in the small village of Rathcore County Meath. A special constabulary force of 140 police officers removed 87 men, women and children from their homes though some were allowed back under certain conditions. Questions were raised in the Dail following the creation of the new state as to the rights of these tenants though given the evictions that are taking place today it seems we have gone full circle.
Dyas purchased part of the estate from absentee landlord George Knox and acting on an agreement made and following the murder of his agent Thomas Reynolds in December 1864 sent the crowbar brigade in. The aftermath of the '98 Rebellion, the Act of Union, the Famine and the repeal of the corn laws would have disastrous consequence for dwellers in rural Ireland and eventually almost for England itself. A country that cannot feed itself is in peril. Meath would become what has been best described as a "Bullock Walk" where cattle were fattened up before export to England.
William Bulfin looking back from Tara in 1902 described Meath as a vast tenant less landscape from which man had absented himself and only the county towns would have had any sizable population. The 1865 Rathcore evictions are the subject of a book written by Colin Eugene Rayfus and the book should be available on amazon. Yet to read myself but will try to source a copy.
The Scurlogstown Olympiad Group are presenting a pageant in 13 scenes on the evictions at this year's Haymaking Festival (Written by John Daly)and would welcome your participation in any way.