Episode 15 is a story of murder and injustice, set in 19th century Ireland. In a country struggling to recover from the famine tenants despised landlords and their agents who had treated them brutally during the famine. When an agent John Ellis was assassinated in north Tipperary in 1857 almost everyone in the area became a suspect. Find out what happened next…..
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Loughmoe Castle is situated on the banks of the river Suir in North Tipperary. Built between the 15th and 17th centuries it was the seat of Barons of Loughmoe, the Anglo-Norman Purcell family. The earliest surviving structure on the site is a tower house which was transformed into the northern wing of a fortified house in the 17th century. In its new form as a fortified house the castle composed of two towers joined by what was known in the locality as “the court”. The castle stands outside the village of Loughmoe, close to the ruins of Loughmoe Abbey and the resting place of the famous Cormack brothers. Despite these widespread renovations Loughmoe castle was abandoned by the mid 18th century.
In March 1858, two brothers mounted the scaffold outside Nenagh Jail in North Tipperary for the murder of John Ellis. One of the brothers, 19 year old Daniel Cormack pleaded “Lord have mercy on me, for you know, Jesus, that I neither had hand, act nor part in that for which I am about to die”. Despite his plea for clemency and the widespread belief of their innocence illustrated in a petition of over 2,000 signatures, Daniel and his 23 year old brother William were executed. The two brothers, originally from Loughmore, were then buried in a grave within the grounds of Nenagh Gaol (left). Many people who suffered a similar fate were lost to history but remarkably although it would take 52 years the Cormacks would be buried in their local area, exonerated and their story would gain international fame in the process.
I am 32 year old historian, archaeologist and blogger. I have published a book on life in medieval Ireland entitled 'Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, life in Medieval Ireland'. I also organise tours of medieval Dublin, available on request.