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  • The Last Stoning in Ireland November 13, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback


    Ok this title is a provocation. Saying the last stoning in Ireland is a bit like saying the last blizzard in Saudia Arabia or the last vegetarian meal in France. The early Irish left behind detailed law codes and there is no record of anyone being stoned at any time. Their medieval heirs had many troubles but they did not resolve these troubles by stoning: sometimes ears were cut off, but that is another question. Then in the modern period stoning remained stubbornly unfashionable even in South Armagh. Only sharia law is likely to bring stoning to Britain or Ireland: God forbid. In any case, enjoy this peculiar record

    This story comes from Doon in Co. Tipperary. It was collected in 1931 by a folk collector. So it is hardly reliable as history. Yet Tipperary was arguably the wildest part of Ireland in the late nineteenth century and the memory is so unusual. Forty years would put us c. 1890 well within living memory.

    A young man named Woods… came to father Patrick… P.P. of Doon about 40 years ago and expressed a wish to become Catholic. As he was under 18 years in age the Protestant Church Body took legal proceedings against the P.P. The process-server found it absolutely impossible to serve the necessary document on him. Finally he arrived in Doon when the priest was hearing confessions and entered the box as if he were going to Confession. As soon as the priest pulled back the slide, he served the writ and left the box. Father Patrick came out immediately with the blue document in his hand. The women of Doon stoned the unfortunate process server to death.

    The newspapers knew nothing of this but then why should they? The good folk of Doon would hardly shrink from hiding a body if they had already stoned someone to death and there was no question of an’ accidental stoning’. Is there anyone in Doon or area who can report on this case or the years of Father Patrick? Or for that matter Father Patrick’s existence? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Just as an aside stoning in the sense of ‘throwing stones’ was fairly common in the Irish press in this period where soldiers and the constabulary were concerned, particularly in the west: for rural populations without weapons it was a natural enough form of low grade warfare. Also, another thought. Priests regularly appear in Irish folklore…  Only fairies make more entrances.