Pitch-capped at Grinan

Nor – on that dire and fateful day in 1797, did the townland of neighbouring Grinan escape unscathed, for the Ancient Britons returned to town via that route.

There was a house there of a man named McGovern whose son was a clerical student.  When the troops made forcible entry, the boy was questioned closely about a prayer book discovered in the house.  It was printed in Latin – the language of the Church into the late twentieth century – but the ignorant raiders swore that it was French.  The French Revolution had begun and Britain was paranoid about its spread to Ireland. 

They immediately concluded that the young clerical student was an agent of the Revolutionary French Government. 

He was dragged from the house and ‘pitch-capped’.  This entailed the forcing on to the top of his head, of a bowl filled with boiling pitch (or tar). 

The unfortunate youth was left with a “wild and haggard face and a bare, ghastly skull which was more horrible to behold than the skull of any skeleton”. 

Nor were the terrible Yeos yet finished with their evil deeds that dark day …

… reaction to Ballyholland massacre …

… more later …

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