17th August 1882
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In 1882, the little settlement of Mám Trasna was situated in County Galway. Maamtrasna is a part of Connemara, hemmed in on the east by Lough Mask, and north, south, and west by high mountains, so that access can only be gained to it by ferry-boat. In 1898, a reconfiguration of county boundaries placed Maumtrasna in County Mayo. But no reconfiguration or reworking of boundaries would wipe away the memory of the primitive act of barbarism which occurred at this deceptively idyllic spot...

The Maamtrasna Murders happened at a time of deep unrest in Ireland. The deaths, on August 18th of that year, of five members of the family of John Joyce, hacked down and murdered in their tiny home, reverberated throughout Britain and Ireland and were the subject of a full-scale parliamentary debate, requiring the Prime Minister’s personal intervention.

Two days after the murders The Times said that: ‘No ingenuity can exaggerate the brutal ferocity of a crime which spared neither the grey hairs of an aged woman nor the innocent child of 12 years who slept beside her. It is an outburst of unredeemed and inexplicable savagery before which one stands appalled, and oppressed with a painful sense of the failure of our vaunted civilisation.’


WATCH Murdair Mhám Trasna (2017 by Rosg for TG4) - mix of Irish and English (subtitles optional).

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  • I enjoyed being able to watch this top quality historical documentary, and to hear the Irish language spoken.  Especially after having just read Mary Lydon Simonsen's,  A Murder's Country, Joyce Country, Galway.

    I for one would like to see the same care taken to present Britian's treatment of the Irish about 1600-1650.  The facts and events surrounding the taking of people's land, the forced military enlistment of the men, women and children sent to America to work as slaves, farmers/plantation owners forcing these women to mate with their black co-workers, which created the Melatos in America.

    It's odd, with America's great sympathy towards slavery, that this episode in our land's history has never been addressed. Historical documentaries are an excellent way to push  back at the tide of media control, through monopolies, and the selective suppression of material in the educational system.  To present some historical facts and clear the air a bit.

    My view, as a second generation American imigrant, is the British treatment of the Irish has been basically that of the bully, without remorse. They moved themselves in and they can move themselves out again.  Why not?  Empire is over. Oh, boo hoo.  You would have vast support from Austrialia, Canada, USA, and elsewhere. Act now, while people still remember their grand parents coming over, leaving their home behind.

    Janet Boyle


    Friday 4th May 2018, 08:35PM

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