Battle of Carrickshock, The
DESCRIPTION: The Irish are liberated: "They'll pay no more the unjust taxation, Tithes are abolished on Sliav na Mon." The Catholics exult. The battle was bloody and Luther's candle now is fading. We'll banish the oppressors and traitors.
EARLIEST DATE: 1965 (OLochlainn-MoreIrishStreetBallads)
KEYWORDS: battle death Ireland political police
Dec 14, 1831 - Carrickshock, County Kilkenny: Peasants attack tithe process servers, killing at least 13 (source: Zimmermann)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
OLochlainn-MoreIrishStreetBallads 91, "The Battle of Carrickshock" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "A Discussion Between Church and Chapel" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "The Sorrowful Lamentation of Denis Mahony" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "Daniel O'Connell (II)" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "Fergus O'Connor and Independence" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "The Castlepollard Massacre" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "The Barrymore Tithe Victory" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "The Ass and the Orangeman's Daughter" (subject: The Tithe War)
cf. "Slieve Na Mon" (subject: The Tithe War and the Carrickshock Riot)
cf. "The Three O'Donnells" (subject: The Tithe War)
NOTES [484 words]: OLochlainn-MoreIrishStreetBallads: "Our song celebrates a famous victory by the peasants over the 'Peelers' [police] in the Tithe war, 1831-4."
"The event occurred on an isolated road in south Kilkenny in December 1831 when an armed police column clashed with a large crowd, resulting in the deaths of 17 people. Unlike most incidents of this kind, the majority of the victims (13) were constables." (source: 1831: Social Memory and an Irish cause celebre by Gary Owens, copyright The Social History Society 2004, pdf available at the Ingenta site) - BS
Starting in 1778 and continuing through the nineteenth century, the British gradually liberalized its policy toward Catholics in Ireland, as it was also doing (more rapidly) in Britain itself. By the 1830s, only two major components were left: Catholics were barred from certain offices by the Test Act (which primarily required them to deny transubstantiation; Bettenson, p. 298), and they were forced to pay the tithe.
The objectionable part of the latter was that the tithes were paid to Protestant priests of the established (Anglican) Church of Ireland, which was -- at least legally -- the official church of Ireland from 1537 until disestablishment in 1870 (OxfordCompanion, p. 90).
Starting in 1830 in Kilkenny, many Catholics refused to pay the tithes. What followed wasn't really a war; it was more of a boycott, with people simply withholding their payment. But the British responded by seizing property to pay the tithes. Occasionally this led to scuffles, with this riot and one at Newtownbarry (June 18, 1831) being the biggest and best-known. There were also quite a few casualties at Castlepollard (see the notes to "The Castlepollard Massacre").
In June 1833, the government effectively gave in: It no longer forced payment of the tithe, paying off the Protestant clergy with revenue from other sources (OxfordCompanion, pp. 543-544). (Unfortunately, for the next third of a century, the source was the Landlords, who raised rents accordingly, making the conflict between landlords and tenants even worse. It wasn't until the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland -- for which see "The Downfall of Heresy" -- that Protestant clergy were entirely cut off from revenue derived from Irish Catholics.)
The Tithe War was famous. Carrickshock, however, wasn't particularly; I checked four histories of Ireland without finding an index reference.
And, of course, Anglicans are not Lutherans. They are not even, in formal terms, Protestant; they form one of the three major branches of post-Catholic Christianity. "Protestantism divided into three general confessions, the Lutheran, the Reformed [Calvinists, including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and ultimately even Baptists], and the Anglican [formally including Methodists]" (Qualben, p. 286). The Presbyterians of Ulster aren't Lutherans, either; they go back to Calvin - RBW
Last updated in version 2.5
- Bettenson: Henry Bettenson, editor, Documents of the Christian Church, 1943, 1963 (I use the 1967 Oxford paperback edition)
- OxfordCompanion: S. J. Connolly, editor, The Oxford Companion to Irish History, Oxford, 1998.
- Qualben: Lars P. Qualben, A History of the Christian Church, revised edition, Nelson, 1936
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