Treacy of Kilcurl




Treacy of Kilcurl.

A Mother’s Lament.



The following lament might have been sung by the mother of our Walshmountain Leonidas, when his body was laid to rest in the Churchyard of Kilcurl after the Tithe Battle at Carrickshock, County Kilkenny, in 1831.


I’ll sit me in the lone churchyard,

There’s no one here to see,

My tears- like summer rain will fall

For lanna ban ma chree;

I’ll see his baby blue eyes shine,

Through dew drops in the grass,

And dream I hear in robin’s notes,

His voice when serving Mass.


“The pulse beat of my heart was he,

So mild, so pure, and meek,

My boy’s fair brow, as bright as dawn,

The rose tint on his cheek;

His raven hair, its glossy sheen

Shone through each tangled curl”-

(Ah ! nature’s choicest charms bedeckt,

Young Treacy of Kilcurl.)


“And lithe, and tall, as mountain larch,

Ma chree his manhood grew ;

To God, to home, to Faith, to friends

Ma Lanna ban was true”-

Nor coward, nor slave, the mountains rear;

There, mothers nurse no churl,

Yet ‘pride of place,’ ’mong mountaineers,

Holds Treacy of Kilcurl.


She well may weep, her darling lost-

Trust me, he nobly died-

At Carrickshock he fighting fell,

With brave boys by his side;

And IF again our land to free,

We freedom’s fiag unfurl,

True still to home, to God we’ll be, ’

Like Treacy of Kilcurl.


Irish Literary Society,



The Shan Van Vocht, v. I, no. 9, September 4, 1896.






Carrickshock GAA

In the 1913-’14 era a senior hurling medal tournament was run to raise funding for the building of a monument in Carrickshock to commemorate three local men killed at the ‘Battle of Carrickshock’ which took place on December 14, 1831. The three who lost their lives in that engagement, which was part of the Tithe Wars with England, were Treacy, Power and Phelan. That monument, outside the village of Hugginstown, was eventually erected at a cost of £21 in 1926 – a not insubstantial sum in those times.


January 13, 1928 (ME) The Carrickshock Monument

...members attended...John Treacy, Kilcurl...nephew of James Treacy, the outstanding hero in the Carrickshock battle...

December 18, 1931 (ME) The Carrickshock Centenary

On Monday, 14th inst, an Office and high Mass took placew at Ballyhale for the repose of the soul of the late John Treacy...nephew of the hero of Carrickshock...Very Rev Cannon Treacy, PP Conahy (nephew of James Treacy...

December 24, 1931 (ME) Carrickshock and its monument

...Rev. (Patk) Cannon Treacy, PP (Conahy)...address...his uncle James Treacy...Rev W. Brennan, OC...grand nephew...single out the Treacy family for special praise...William, Denny and Tom Treacy, brothers of the hero...his mother, eldest daughter of Denny Treacy…


Carrickshock memorial inscription

Carrickshock memorial committee

Kelvin Johnson-Treacy

1831 The Carrickshock Incident

James Treacy (Trassy), 20 years old shot dead in the Tithe protest.

One of his nephews was the Very Reverend Canon Patrick Treacy, parish priest of Connahy, Co. Kilkenny, who was the featured guest and speaker at numerous Carrickshock commemoration ceremonies. Canon Treacy also headed the local memorial committee. Another nephew, John Treacy, lived at the large family house in Kilkurl through the 1920s and served alongside his brother on the committee.

Gary Owens (2004) The Carrickshock Incident, 1831: Social Memory and an Irish cause celebre. Cultural and Social History 2004; 1: 36–64


Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) Broadcast 1983

Battle of Carrickshock. The Battle of Carrickshock toook place in 1831 in south Kilkenny. It was borne out of a tithe tax that was enforced despite difficult harvests. And so the peasants revolted - against what they saw as greedy landlords and greedy clergymen. One of the people talking is a Mary Wallace nee Farrell who is the 1st cousin twice removed of James Treacy.






Here is the obituary of another William Treacy from 1895. He is recorded as dying in 1895 also on gravestone 3 in the Kilcurl graveyard.


This is the transcript:




The last soldier of the tithe war.


The last of the brave men who took part in the defeat of the Government forces at Carrickshock during the Tithe War was laid to rest on Holy Thursday in the grave of his fathers. William Treacy died at the aged of 84, and was buried in the old family burial place in the ancient Church of Kilcurl. Mr. Treacy was father of the Rev. William Treacy, C.C., Galmoy (sic - actually Rev. Patrick Treacy), and enjoyed through life the respect of all who knew him. The Office and High Mass for the repose of the veteran's soul were celebrated on Wednesday, the 17th April. No less than 65 priests of Ossory took part in the sacred ceremonies.




In Dolman's Magazine for July, 1847, an account was given of the event to which we refer which is best printed in the words of the writer. It reads as follows:- About half-way between Killarney and Waterford, on the great Dublin-road- which connects the south-eastern part of Ireland with the metropolis is a small village, at which, the time I write of, was a police-station. This and the surrounding country for many miles, was particularly distinguished for its determined opposition to the payment of tithes. On an evening in the latter end of November 1831, two men took their seats on the Dublin and Waterford coach for the village of Harvery. Michaelmas term was just then concluded, and a number of writs against defaulters in that part of the country had been sued out of the Court or exchequer, and entrusted to the care of these individuals. It is needless to add that they were process servers, engaged to serve his Majesty's writs. They arrived in due time at their destination on the following morning, and, as had been previously arranged, produced their "writ of assistance" to the commander of the police force, by which he was directed to aid them in the discharge of their duty. The order was delivered about noon, and, as they had many miles to travel to effect their object, the force was immediately driven out, three-and-twenty men, armed with muskets, ready for the most desperate service. The party- headed by Captain Leyne, and accompanied by the process servers- proceeded on their way, but, notwithstanding the secrecy and silence with which it was conducted they found the whole country, as they went on, in a state of terrible commotion. Bonfires illuminated the surrounding hills and, as if by magic, thousands of the peasantry were congregated on a small eminence in front of the little party, armed with scythes, spades, and pitchforks. This place lay directly in the path by which they were compelled to go, in order to effect a service on a man named Walsh. A narrow lane led to the open space where the people were assembled. In this passage the fatal struggle commenced. The people had no desire for bloodshed, they sought only to protect their property. The organiser of their defence appears to have been Mr. James Treacy, the brother of William Treacy. Fearless and strong as a lion, Mr. James Treacy broke a way for himself through the ranks of the police in order to snatch from the hands of one of the process servers, a man named Butler, the writ which he carried in his hand, and the destruction of which would render the expedition inoperative. He seized the writ and destroyed it. The instant he did so the officer in command of the police, Inspector Gibbons, shot him dead ! No human power could now restrain the people. Within a few minutes eighteen of the police and one process server were lying dead. Inspector Gibbons's pistol was still smoking after the shot which stretched James Treacy dead at his feet when an avenging blow which brought him lifeless to the earth gave the signal for the onslaught which followed. A few bleeding and terrified fugitives alone escaped to tell the vengeance of ah outraged people. Twenty-five persons were arrested by an overwhelming force which was poured into the district and were duly committed for trial at the Kilkenny Spring Assizes of 1832 before Lord Chief Justice Bushe. The Attorney-General, afterwards Chief Justice Doherty, conducted the prosecution, but notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the Crown lawyers, the genius and eloquence of O'Cormell, aided by the universal sense of the community that the prisoners had only been engaged in an act of perfectly justified warfare, rendered convictions impossible. Several of those arrested were tried, but not a single verdict could be obtained, and eventually all had to be released. The doom of the Tithe system was proclaimed the day Captain Leyne and the scattered remnant of his men fled before the farmers of Carrickshock. Now- sixty-four years after the events narrated -brave, William Treacy has been laid to rest in the same grave in old Kilcurl churchyard in which the bones of the gallant brother by whose side he fought were laid more than half-century past. He lived respected by his neighbours, and he carried to his grave an honest name, unstained even by the tongue of malice.


DEATH OF A CARRICKSHOCK VETERAN. (1895, June 8). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), , p. 6. Retrieved July 4, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111105753

Kelvin Johnson-Treacy







Last update: 26 July 2016