!! Ballina Chronicle; Sep 19, 1849 "Tierney Execution"
- BALLINA CHRONICLE
Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
Wednesday, Sept 19, 1849
EXECUTION OF JOHN TIERNEY
On yesterday at half-past twelve o'clock the extreme sentence of the law
was carried into effect on the scaffold in front of our county jail on the
unfortunate culprit, John Tierney, who, with a respectable young man, named
Harrington, was tried at the late assizes of Nenagh, for the murder of Burke, a
tailor, who resided in Thurles, and appeared to have been of active habits and
industriously followed his trade. At 12 o'clock a strong detachment of the 79th
Highlanders, under command of Captain M'Call, together with Captain Hodgson,
Lieut. Harrison, Ensign Boothby and Assistant Surgeon Fowler, drew up in a field
opposite the drop; while 60 of the constabulary, under Mr. Sub.-Inspector O'Dell
and Head Constable Hayes, were stationed in the area surrounding it.
A few minutes after twelve, the Sub-Sheriff arrived with the death
warrant, and the culprit at half-past 12 was led pinioned out of his cell, from
which he walked to the scaffold with a firm step, accompanied by the Rev. Mr.
Spain, R.C.C. and holding in his right hand a crucifix, and in his left a
handkerchief. He fervently and loudly repeated, "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, have
mercy on me!" The executioner, who was not in the least disguised, and who with
the utmost sang froid and apathetic indifference gazed on the military, police
and spectators underneath him, immediately made his appearance, placed the rope
on the wretched man's neck, put on his head a white cap which he drew on his
face, "Jack Ketch," whose undisguised appearance created much sensation and loud
murmurs among those present, then drew the fatal bolt, and Tierney's existence
in a few moments was at an end. In consequence of the rope either not being
placed properly on his neck, or from its thickness, the unfortunate man suffered
strangulation for two minutes during which time his body writhed and he plunged
his legs. The knot came under his chin instead of being at the butt of the ear.
After the body suspending the usual length of time, it was cut down, placed in a
coffin, and interred in the burial ground of the jail. There were but few
persons who witnessed the horrible and demoralizing spectacle, and who, we
regret to say, for the most part were composed of women, with children in their
arms, and boys and girls. The following is the declaration:
"Nenagh Prison, Tuesday night, Sept. 11
"I most solemnly declare in the presence of God, before whom I am about to
appear, that neither Patrick Bloomfield nor Philip Harrington had hand, act or
part in the murder of Thomas Burke, of Graigue, in the parish of Drum, nor had
they nor any other person any knowledge whatever of it. I declare and
acknowledge that I committed that dreadful murder without the aid, presence, or
assistance of any other person. May the Lord, in his infinite mercy, grant me
pardon, which I have most earnestly implored every moment, night and day since
"In the presence of Nicholas Power, Roman Catholic chaplain, Thomas Rock,
governor; and James Going, head turnkey."
"John x Tierney"
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News