and the Kitty OShea connection
A well known Member of Parliment writes: The title
you have prefixed to your reminiscences of the late Irish
leader, The Tragedy of Parnell, induces me to
relate that I happened to be present at occurrence seemingly
of little moment, which, however, must be regarded as the
supreme crisis in Parnells life, and a blight on his
career. I had known Mr. Parnell since the General
Election of 1874, and had, at considerable intervals, met
him. I was at Ennis Quarter Sessions during the General
Election of 1880.
Mr Parnell who had been collecting money in America when
the time arranged by the cabinet for the dissolution was
announced, immediately returned to Ireland and commenced
an active election campaign.
He was particularly anxious to secure the return of Mr.
Finegan for Ennis. Mr Finegan had, at a bye-election for
Ennis in July 1879, defeated the present Mr Justice OBrien,
the Whig candidate, and every effort was strained to ensure
Mr. Finegans success at the General Election against
Mr OBrien, who was again contesting the seat. Mr Parnell
came to Ennis to support Mr. Finegan, who was the first
man who had entered the House of Commons as his declared
I was staying at Carmodys Hotel Ennis, No private
sitting-room was available in the emergency of the election.
My friends of the Bar and myself took our means in the public
One afternoon at luncheon time, Mr Parnell and Mr
Finegan entered the coffee room, and as they were sitting
at luncheon The OGorman Mahon came in with Captain
OShea, whom he introduced to Mr. Parnell.
The OGorman Mahon had been one of the members
for the County Clare in the late Parliament, and he and
Captain OShea were contesting the county on Home Rule
principles, and were returned.
My recollection is that the introduction was formal
in its character and led to little, if any conversation,
and that Mr Parnell shortly afterwards left the hotel with
Mr Finegan, for the purpose of aiding him in his canvass.
In the light, however, of after events, I look upon
that casual meeting in a remote country town, to which no
one could attach any significance as the beginning of the
end of Parnell.
* This letter appeared in the Clare Journal in January 1899.
Courtesy of the Clare Champion