Famine Murder at Tallagh BELMULLET

29th April 1847
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The desperation for food during Black '47 is revealed in chilling reports of famine murders in the local press. Here's one from the Tyrawley Herald.

Another Famine Murder—

On Thursday last, a shocking murder was committed at a place called Tallagh, near Belmullet, in Erris. The particulars of the case, so far as have learned them, are as follows:—

A poor man, named Michael Lavelle, who resided in a house close to the village, went, along with his wife, on the morning of Thursday to the fair of Belmullet, leaving his nephew, Patrick Dixon, a boy about 12 years old, charge of the house. The only provisions in the cabin at the time were a stone of meal, a quarter stone of rice, and two fishes. Sometime after the departure of Lavelle another nephew of his, a boy named Michael Mullowney, aged 17 years, was seen hovering about the place.

About 3 o'clock in the afternoon Lavelle and his wife returned home, and to their great horror found the boy Dixon lying dead on the ground inside the door of the house, his head covered with blood and wounds. Beside him lay a turf spade and a tongs deeply stained with blood. The house was rifled of the little provisions which they had left in it the morning. The dreadful affair having been made known to head-constable Croker, that officer of justice lest no time making all necessary inquiries into the matter, and suspicion having fallen in consequence on Mullowny, who bore but a very indifferent character, he was at once taken into custody, the evidence against him was entirely circumstantial but so satisfactory did that of a female child about nine years old, appear to the jury, composed of the respectable inhabitants of Belmullet, that they at once found a verdict of "Wilful murder" against Michael Mullowny who has been fully committed to take his trial at the next assizes for this county.— Tyrawley Herald.

Young Patrick Dixon was likely related to Andrew Dixion of Tallagh West (who registered a house and lands in Tallagh West, Kilmore Erris, as a freehold in June 1846) Francis Dixon of Tallagh West [GV#59a] and Michael Dixon of Tallagh Stripe [GV#90].