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Battle of the Cross

Originally posted on 'This is Bandon' .

George Bennett’s History of Bandon is a valuable record of the history of Bandon town. Though undoubtedly biased in his outlook and on occasion inclined to the poetic, his record is nonetheless a rare and valuable insight into a time when thr town was divided, not only by the river but also along sectarian lines. In chapter 25 we read the following account of events that occurred at the end of what is known locally as the “Dark Lane” almost two hundred years ago.

(While we cannot attest as to the accuracy of the piece, we felt it worth sharing to show a little glimpse of life in Bandon and the attitudes that prevailed here in former times) .

“The Battle of the Cross" 1821 What is known here as the Battle of the Cross took place this year, on the 2nd of July. The first having fallen on a Sunday, the customary procession on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne was deferred until next day. Having assembled in the open space in front of Ballymodan Church, the members of three Orange Lodges marched in procession to Kilbrogan Church, carrying appropriate banners. Every man in the procession wore an orange lily in the front of his hat. The numerous friends who surrounded them also wore orange lilies and roses in honour of the day. Upon their arrival at Kilbrogan, an excellent sermon was preached for them by the Rev. William Sullivan, of “Fear God, honour the King;” after which the procession formed again, and they marched down North Main Street, over the bridge, through the South Main Street and up the Castle Road until they reached they reached the Western entrance of Castle-Bernard. Here they halted, and one of them, a man named Sam Hosford who had charge of a piece of ordnance which accompanied the procession, loaded it. They then fired three rounds from it, and from the few small arms they had with them, in compliment to Lord Bandon, who was a great favourite with the townspeople; and then concluded with three tremendous cheers in which the bystanders joined with all their might. Upon their return when they got to the Cross Lane (now the road to Deer Park) news was brought them that if they attempted to march through it and through Gallows Hill Street, a mob would prevent them by force. This alone was sufficient to induce the majority of those present to go there at all hazards. Accordingly, two out of the three lodges, consisting of one hundred and twelve men marching two abreast, advanced leisurely up the hill and descending at the Gallows Hill Street side, they were met by a mob, variously estimated at from two to five hundred people, headed by two men named Galvin and Hurley both of whom were armed with muskets. When they approached the millstream at the bottom of the hill volley after volley of stones were poured into their ranks. This they patiently withstood for about ten minutes but seeing that their forbearance only excited the mob to more stones, Hosford the volunteer gunner, aided by one Mac Daniel, again loaded the old gun and fired. The contents fled high over their heads and were all scattered among the tops of the trees surrounding Mr.Jervois’s residence on the opposite side of the road and stream. Seeing there was no casualty, the rioters became emboldened and the stone throwing increased in violence. The gun was loaded again and in the absence of canister or grape, the cannoniers were obliged to substitute gravel and buttons and even a penknife. At this discharge which was which was aided by shots from small arms a woman named Crowley was killed and several were wounded, amongst whom was a man named Shea who died on the next day. This was enough. When the mob became convinced that the Orangemen were in earnest they broke up and made for their several houses as fast as they could. The following members of the Protestant party namely: Edward Appleby, George Dineen, Patrick Coghlan, John Searles, James Sealy, Bat Malony, Samuel Hosford, Joshua Donovan, Robert Warner and James Malony were tried at the ensuing Cork Assizes; but the jury having declared “that there was no use whatsoever in their remaining together as there was not the slightest possibility they could ever agree” they were discharged and the traversers were liberated on their own recognizances.

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