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CLONGOREY-08/10/1898 A newspaper article noting the resolution of the Clongorey evictions

The Kildare Observer 08/10/1898
 
The Clongorey Estate
The Clongorey Plan of Campaign tenants, writes the “Carlow Nationalist”, after a struggle extending over a period of ten years, are at length within measurable distance of restoration to their farms. After protracted negotiations, in the course of which many difficulties arose, and during which many apparently insurmountable obstacles presented themselves, a golden bridge has been constructed by which both parties to the unfortunate dispute may pass out of the positions they have occupied for such a length of time. The settlement arrived at is on the basis of the purchase of their holdings by the tenants. The price agreed on is 20 years’ purchase of the entire estate, or at least all that portion of it that had been held by tenants. The price is a high one, but the tenants were placed in such a position that no other course was open to them if they were not to abandon their old homes forever. During the summer months a valuer of the Land Commission has been engaged in making a careful examination of the holdings, and on his report the body named has agreed to sanction the advance of the loan with the reservation that in the cases of a number of the smaller holdings a cash deposit of 10 per cent of the purchase money should be made. This condition caused a hitch, for the poor tenants were, of course, not in a position to make the payment required. Some staunch friends who have never ceased working in their behalf came to the rescue and smoothed over the difficulty by providing the sum needed, about £420. Nothing remained to be done but to perfect the agreements with the Land Commission, and nearly all of these have been signed. Five or six of the tenants who did not adopt the Plan of Campaign, and who have remained in possession, are also purchasing their farms. There were 20 families evicted, and of these 49 are available for reinstatement, one family having gone to America. This is a wonderful record of endurance and staying power, and a splendid testimony to the tenacity of the Irish race. Driven out of their holdings and deprived of their means of living, for some time they were partially sustained by the political organization which administered the Evicted Tenants’ Fund, but for many years past they have maintained themselves almost together by their own exertions- by road-making, by the cartage of goods, and in fact by every honest line of industry that offered. As we have said, it is a most creditable record, and one that gives the lie to the assertions so often made: that the Plan of Campaign tenants were a set of dishonest and idle fellows who wished to live in luxury at the expense of the landlords.
Although they will shortly be given possession of their farms the Clongorey people will be confronted by an extremely hard task. A long period of severe and unremitting toil awaits them before they are again settled on the soil from which they have been rudely divorced. Their houses for the most part have ceased to exist, and in cases where the homestead and farm materials were composed of perishable materials nothing but a heap of clay marks where they stood. In one case the valuer asked the tenant did his farm contain a house, so completely had all traces of it been obliterated. Still people who have survived the hardships of eviction for ten years may be trusted to establish themselves once more on the soil.

An article from the Kildare Observer heralding the end of the Plan of Campaign for the long-evicted Clongorey tenants, and detailing the conditions of the settlement.

[compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh McCabe]


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