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AN HISTORIC FIGURE PASSES

 
 
 
Leinster Leader 29th December 1951
 
AN HISTORIC FIGURE PASSES
 
Saw Phoenix Park Murders
 
There died recently in Newbridge a person who witnessed the Park murders in 1881, and who during his long life had always been a staunch Irishman.  Like all young boys, he was fond of rambling, and his favourite place of ramble was in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.  About 14 years of age, he had arranged to start work, and a few days before, he spent the evening in the Park.  Some distance from him he noticed two men walking with their umbrellas. This was opposite the Viceregal Lodge.  Being young he took little notice, but immediately afterwards he saw the two men being attacked by a group of other men and he saw the two men defending themselves with their umbrellas.  He saw one of the men fall and, afraid that he would be embroiled in the dispute took to his heels, his residence not being far from the Park.
He told his mother when he got home what he had seen, but she, like him, thought it was an ordinary row and dismissed it from her mind.  But soon the great activity of police and soldiers attracted her attention and she found that the row was indeed more serious, for both Lord Cavendish and Burke had been assassinated and the perpetrators of the deed had got away unnoticed.  The following morning the Press gave great headlines to the matter and a reward was offered for any information that would lead to the arrest of the culprits.  Fearing that her son might be drawn into this affair, and might give some particulars that might brand him as an informer, she immediately packed him off to Newbridge, to his grandmother, who resided there.
The deceased man was John O’ Toole, and he never returned to his native Dublin to work.  He had a strong constitution and was never known to be a day sick.  He was well known by all the residents of Newbridge as a quiet, respectable man.
He was a cousin of the late Capt. J. J. Fitzgerald and M. Fitzgerald, famous Kildare footballers, and was always a good follower of the All Whites.  His passing has removed an historic figure from the area.  He rarely spoke of the Park affair, but some time before he died he gave a vivid account of the whole episode to the writer.
Peace to his ashes
                     “FEAR CEALL.”

The Leinster Leader of December 1951 reports the passing of Mr. John O'Toole, a well known resident of Newbridge, who witnessed The Phoenix Park murders in 1881.


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