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Memorial to Hugh Kildea and Michael Murphy
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Ennistymon Plaques and Memorials
Memorial to Hugh Kildea and Michael Murphy

On March 16 - 1799 Hugh Kildea and Michael Murphy
were hanged here for their United Irishmen Activities.
(Old Ennistymon Society, 1999 - Preserving the Past for the Present)
Situated at junction of Oldtown Street and Churchill

Anticipating military support from France, the United Irishmen were particularly active in North Clare during late 1798 and early 1799. A central figure in their activities in this area was one Hugh Kildea, a hedge-school master from nearby Moy. He was instrumental in pressurising a member of a local land-owning family to assist their cause, and led a series of attacks on both landowners and military personnel. When troops finally amassed at Ennistymon to put a halt to the attacks, up to fifty men were arrested. Hugh Kildea and the brothers Michael and Patrick Murphy from Tullygarven were sent to Ennis for trial at the Assizes, and were sentenced to be hanged. Patrick Murphy's sentence was later commuted to transportation for life. However, on Saturday, 16th March, 1799, Michael Murphy and Kildea were hanged in Ennistymon where a scaffold had been erected at the junction of Churchill and Oldtown Street (now Main Street). The plaque on Carrigg's wall is adjacent to the site of the hanging.

A contemporary account from the Clare Journal went as follows:
"Saturday last Hugh Kildea and Michael Murphy were executed in Ennistymon to their sentences at the last Assizes. They were escorted from this town (Ennis) by a detachment of the Roden and Ennis Cavalry and Longford Militia. A vast concourse of people were assembled as spectators of their merited punishment. They behaved with much resolution…But seemed to be more actuated (specially Kildea) by a spirit of revenge than repentance. They were left suspended on the gallows upwards of three hours as an awful warning to the spectators. Kildea handed out printed copies of his last declaration to those around him… And assisted the executioner in adjusting the rope."

 

Ennistymon: Plaques and Memorials