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The Bodyke Evictions

Mary Fort House
Orators and Agitators
The Evictions
Disturbances and Distress

Irish Land Question Image (small)
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The Land War

The Irish campaign of agrarian protest in Ireland during the latter half of the 19th century known as the Land War had three distinct phases. The first phase, lasting until 1882, witnessed a violent struggle between landlords and tenants, orchestrated by the tenants’ rights organisation, the Land League. During the second phase, 1882-1891, a more subdued struggle called the Plan of Campaign was instigated. The final phase of agreement and settlement eventually led to tenant ownership through a series of Land Acts.

If the Land War began as a means of securing rent abatements, it evolved into a campaign against landlordism. In County Clare, the disturbances that took place on the Bodyke section of Colonel John O’Callaghan’s estate during the 1880s, culminating in the notorious evictions of June 1887, form one of the most dramatic episodes of the entire Land War in Ireland.

The Bodyke evictions became a cause célèbre in the debate over the land question, a debate argued in the local and international press, and played a significant part in the overthrow of the prevailing land holding system in the country.

Clare County Library wishes to thank Clare Local Studies Project for preparation of raw text for this publication. A large proportion of the documents used were donated by John S. Kelly of Scariff, County Clare. Gerard Madden of Tuamgraney, County Clare also lent some primary material. We are grateful to both for their assistance.

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