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Murder on the bridge of Athlone

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 14th October, 2009 4:40pm

1859-150 Years Ago - Murder on the bridge of Athlone. "One of the most atrocious murders that has been perpetrated in this part of the country was committed on Saturday night last on the bridge of Athlone.

And within a few yards of the new Provincial Bank. Patrick Lyons, the unfortunate victim, was a native of Roscommon and was employed on the railway line," so began the Westmeath Independent report into the incident.

The story reported how Lyons had left his work on the evening of the Saturday, October 15, 1859, and came late into town, with his brother, Tom

They were joined by a fellow workman Thomas Nevin, in a public house kept by a window named Percy.

They had some drink and were joined by a man and wife named Gilligan, the latter related by marriage to Thomas Lyons.

At 9.30pm they left the public house and proceeded towards the bridge where they were met by two men, Michael Egan and Henry Darby, who were labourers at the new bank.

Evidence was given at the inquest that Darby, who was carrying what was described as "a heavy loaded whip" aimed a blow at Thomas Lyons, which the latter shielded off. Darby also attempted to trip him. Lyons protested and Darby said he would not have done it, if he had not known it was Tom Lyons.

Egan, who was carrying a stick, then struck Pat Lyons from behind, staggering him, before Darby was said to have struck Pat Lyons in the front of the head, killing him instantly.

They then called out for the "big navvie" as Nevin was called, but the latter had fled.

An inquest found that Lyons had died from injuries to his head, inflicted by Darby and Egan, by some blunt instrument, despite a reluctance of witnesses to give information.

Later in the week, an attempt was made to attack another railway worker, Reilly, at the same location. It prompted the Westmeath Independent to call for greater police presence on the bridge and on Eglinton Road (the current Accommodation Road).

"An additional force of at least 20 constables should be sent here at one," the paper said.

The full list of Athlone's 253 voters

Proponents and opponents of the Lisbon Treaty were united in insisting on the importance of the Irish people casting their votes in the referendum earlier this month.

Evidence of how we sometimes take our democratic rights for granted is clearly apparent from a cursory glance at the Westmeath Independent in 1859.

The paper reported on proceedings at the Quarter Sessions Court where the list of those registered to vote was revised and finalised.

The full list of the 253 men who were eligible to vote in the Athlone borough was published in the Westmeath Independent of October 22, 1859.

The list will be of significant interest to local historians, genealogists and those researching their own family history.

Athlone's registered voters: 1859

Abbott, Natterville E Wentworth Street

Allen, George, Abbey Lane,

Barker George, Connaught Street

Beattie, Robert, Barrack Street

Bianconi, Charles, Mardyke Street

Birmingham, John, Connaught Street

Brennan, Hugh, Barrack Street

Burgess, Thomas, Church Street

Butler, John, sen, College Lane

Butler, Robert, do

Butler, John, sen, Connaught Street

Butler, Nicholas, Connaught Street

Byrne, Peter, Northgate Street

Byrne, Patrick, Connaught Street

Carroll, Marrtin, Connaught Street

Chartere, William F, Iristhown

Claffey, Andrew, Irishtown

Clarke, Alexander, Main Street

Clarke, James, Northgate Street

Clarke, Simon, The Bawn

Cockings, Thomas, Mardyke Street

Coffey, Malachy, High Street

Connell, Henry, High Street

Connor, Stephen, Shamble Street

Cooke, George, Ballymahon Road

Cowan, John, Mardyke Street

Cowan, William, Court Devenish Lane

Cowan, Patrick, Court Devenish Lane

Coyle, Edward, Wentworth Street,

Croughan, Richard, High Street

Cuffe, James, Irishtown

Cullen, Matthew, Northgate Street

Curley, Michael, Bigmeadow

Curley, Patrick, Connaught Street

Curley, William, Castlemaine Street

Daly, John, High Street

Daly, Daniel, High Street

Dargan, William, Lucas Lane

Dean, William, King Street

Dean, Philip, King Street

Dillon, James, Northgate Street

Dixon, John, Main Street

Dixon, George, Main Street

Doherty, Thomas, Mardyke Street

Donohoe, James, do

Doyle, James, Connaught Street

Duggan, Edward, Wentworth Street

Dunne, Patrick, Mardyke Street

Egan, John, Irishtown

English, Robert, Anker's Bower

English, Robert jnr, Victoria Place

English, Robert snr, Irishtown

Everard, George, Wentworth Street

Fair James W, Victoria Place

Fahy, James, High Street

Fallon, James, Victoria Place

Fallon, Malachy, Mardyke Street

Fay John, Wentworth Street

Finnerty, Michael, Irishtown

Finneran, Michael, Wentworth Street

Finneran, Thomas, Wentworth Street

Fitzgerald, Bernard, Connaught Street

Fitzpatrick, Bernard, Connaught Street

Flanagan, Rev Charles, Wentworth Street

Flood, Henry, Connaught Street

Flynn, Michael, Castle Street

Flynn, Thomas, Dublingate Street

Flynn, James, Irishtown

Fury, Martin, High Street

Gahagan, Lawrence, Barrack Street

Gahagan, Edward, High Street

Galvin, William, Connaught Street

Garty, John, Irishtown

Geoghegan, Michael, Mardyke Street

Geoghegan, Patrick Dublingate Stret

Gill, Thomas, Church Street

Gilligan, Owen, Connaught Street

Gladstone, Robert, Queen Street

Gleeson, Edward, Northgate Street

Glover, Thomas, Church Street

Gray, Robert, Strand Street

Greene, George, Scotch Parade

Gunning, George, Dublingate Street

Haire, William, Mardyke Street

Handcock, Hon Robert French, Northgate Street

Handcock, Hon, Robert John, do

Haughton, Henry, Church Street

Hay, Philip, Fry Place

Hay, William, Victoria Place

Heatley, Rev John, Court Devenish Lane

Henry, Patrick, High Street

Hetheringon, George, Strand Street

Hoare, Francis, Victoria Place

Hogan, Patrick, Castle Street

Hogan, Matthew, King Street

Holton, John, Fry Place

Holton, William, N, do

Hopkins, Andrew, King Street

Howe, James, Northgate Street

Hughes, Francis, Strand Street

Hynds, Thomas, Castlemaine Street

Illing John Michael, Strand Street

Ingram, James, King Street

Ingram, Robert James, King Stret

Irwin, Richard Burke, Connaught Street

Irwin, Patrick Dillon, Connaught Street

Jennings, Rev Edward, College Lane

Jervis, Robert, Main Street

Jones, William, Mardyke Street

Judge, James Robert, King Street

Kean, James P, High Street

Keating, Patrick, King Street

Keely, Thomas, Chapel Street,

Kelly, William, Connaught Street,

Kelly, Bernard, Connaught Street

Kelly, Michael, Ballymahon Road,

Kelly, Laurence, Mardyke Street,

Kelly, Martin, Castle Street,

Kelly, Patrick, Castle Street,

Kennedy, James, King Street,

Kenny, Michael, Connaught Street,

Kerr, Robert, Church Street,

Kilkelly, James, Wentworth Street,

Killion, Thomas, Queen Street,

Kilmartin, Christopher, Wentworth Street,

Kilroe, Rev Kieran, Ballymahon Road,

Lawlor, Patrick, Mardyke Street,

Lawless, James, Queen Street,

Lennon, Richard, Mardyke Street,

Lennon, Michael, Queen Street,

Linney, William, Strand Street,

Little, William, King Street,

Longworth, John, Connaught Street,

Loughlin, Thomas, Mardyke Street,

Lynch, Edward, Irishtown,

Lyster, Patrick, King Street,

Lyster, Michael, King Street,

Mack, William, Bridge Street,

Macken, John, Big Meadow,

McDonnell, John, Castle Street,

McDonnell, Patrick, Irishtown,

McDonnell, Patrick, Queen Street,

McGowan, Samuel, Northgate Street,

McHallam, Laurence, Connaught Street,

McHugo, Henry, Connaught Street,

McNamara, Joseph, Ranelagh,

McNamara, Michael, Anker's Bower,

Maguire, Patrick, Connaught Street,

Maher, Patrick, Main Street,

Maitland, William, H, Connaught Street,

Malone, Denis, Church Street,

Mannion, John, Connaught Street,

Marchbank, James, Mardyke Street,

Martin, James, Church Street,

Milligan, William, Victora Place,

Mongan, Lawrence, Scotch Parade,

Mooney, John, Church Street,

Moran, Michael, Dublingate Street,

Moss, Joseph, Irishtown

Moynan, Thomas, Mardyke Street,

Murphy, Peter, Wentworth Street,

Murphy, Patrick, Main Street,

Murray, Rev Hugh, Ranelagh,

Murtagh, John, Connaught Street and Church Street,

Murtagh, Michael, Shrule,

Murtagh, James, Ballykeeran,

Murtagh, James, Longford,

Murtagh, John, Dublin,

Murtagh, Thomas, Ballykeeran,

Murtagh, Joseph, Ballykeeran,

Naughten, William, Connaught Street,

Neary, James, Wentworth Street,

Neenan, Peter, Church Street,

Nolaan, Malachy, Wentworth Street,

Norton, Bernard, G, Victoria Place,

O'Boyle, Michael, Connaught Street,

O'Brien, John, Dublingate Street,

O'Callaghan, James T, Church Street,

O'Connell, John, Connaught Street,

O'Connell, William H, King Street,

O'Connell, James, Victoria Place,

O'Connell, Thomas, Castle Street,

Ogden, Robert A, The Bawn,

O'Gorman, Michael, Main Street,

O'Reilly, Rev Martin, Ball Alley Lane,

O'Reilly, William, Castle Street,

O'Shea, Enoch, Castle Street,

O'Sullivan, Francis, P, Connaught Street,

Parker, Patrick, Mardyke Street,

Parsons, John, Victoria Place,

Peacock, Abbott, King Street,

Peake, Samuel, Church Street,

Percy, Henry, Victoria Place,

Pidgeon, William, Ranelagh,

Poe, Thomas, Victoria Place,

Potts, William, Springfield,

Potts, William Jr, Nortgate Street

Poyntz, Wililam, Kinf Street,

Friday, William, Irishtown

Rigney, William, Connaught Street,

Robins, John, Church Street,

Robinson, Edward, Strand Street,

Robinson, Albert H, Connaught Street,

Ross, James, Patrick Street,

Rourke, Patrick, Chuirch Street,

Russell, Thompson, Limerick

Russell, Richard, Limerick

Russell, Arthur, Limerick

Ryan, Lawrence, Shamble Street,

Ryan, Patrick, Irishtown,

Scanlon, Hugh, Fry Place,

Smith, Robert, Mardyke Street,

Smith, Thomas, Mardyke Street,

Sproule, Edward, Shamble Street,

Stanford, Michael, Connaught Street,

Stanford, John, Connaught Street,

Stein, Rev Laurence, Friary Lane,

Stokes, John, Victoria Place

Spain, Jonas, Connaught Street,

Tarrant, Harman, Shamble Street,

Tipping, Simon, Church Street,

Tracy, William, Dublingate Street,

Tully, William, Court Devenish Lane,

Turkington, William, King Street,

Tymon, James, Castle Street,

Wallace, William, King Street,

Walsh, John, Irishtown

Walsh, William, Connaught Street,

Walton, James, Castle Street,

Ward, Patrick, Main Street,

Ward, George, Big Meadow,

Ward, Arthur, Church Street,

Watson, Luke, Connaught Street,

Watson, Thomas, Main Street,

Whitford John Paul, Court Devenish,

Wililams, Edward, Hatters Lane

Wilson, James Burne, Connaught Street,

Woods, Edward, Church Street,

Woods, Samuel, Court Devenish,

Wynne, James, Wentworth Street


Adamson, Christopher, Ballinalack

Boswell, William, Shancurragh

Cappaidge, John Loftus, East Hill

Handcock, Hon Charles, Creaghduff

Hodson, Edward, Twyford,

Larkan, Edward, Lackfield,

Moffatt, Rev James, St Mary's Glebe

1909 - 100 Years Ago

Pipers Club formed in Athlone

The Westmeath Independent recently reported on efforts to revive the old Athlone Pipe Band. Back 100 years ago, the organisation was revived after fading out of existence.

The report of October 1909 read as follows:

"A pipers club has been formed in Athlone with the object of reviving the Irish bagpipes. The club further proposes to have an Irish language class down for one night and to have music and dancing lessons on the other nights. To meet expenses, tickets for a drawing of prizes have been issued at seven pence each."

The draw was to take place in Fr Mathew Hall on a night in November.

Old dump fills up

With Ballydonagh landfill due for closure early next year, the issue of waste disposal and collection is currently centre stage in Athlone.

Back 100 years ago, a similar quandary was facing the authorities, with the closure of the then town dump at Mill Site Field near Wolfe Tone Terrace.

This receptacle for town refuse is now filled and at a meeting of the urban council on Wednesday night, it was ordered that the ground be chained off and a notice put up forbidding the dumping of further rubbish there. The question of providing a new depot was mentioned, but not discussed.

Local football league kicks off

A local football league, named the Athlone Association League, began in October 1909, featuring eight teams; Athlone Rovers; Athlone Utd; Unknowns; 128th RFA; 129th RFA; 130th RFA; Kiltoom Shamrocks and Reserves

The league was played in locations including the Meadows and Rafferty's Field in Baylough.

1959 - 50 Years Ago

Thief got the cat!

The Westmeath Independent of this week in 1959 contained a humorous story of a local thief who got more than he bargained for after taking a parcel from a bicycle in an opportunistic crime.

The piece relays how a family cat died in a local house and a question arose as to how the carcase would be disposed. A friend arrived and he provided a solution suggesting the remains be parcelled up in box to take it away for burial or disposal.

"This was done and the parcel was placed on the carrier of bicycle. On the way to the dump he stopped to purchase an evening newspaper at the local stationers shop and delayed inside reading the headlines. On going out to the street he discovered that the parcel had been stolen from his bicycle and no trace of it has since been found!"

The report continued: "What a disappointment for the thief who probably thought he had a roast of mutton at the right price but instead he got the cat!".

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