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The Siege of Derry 1688-1689

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The Siege of Derry/Londonderry

The walls of Derry were completed by 1619, eight metres high and nine metres wide and 1.5 km in circumference. By the time of the siege the population inside the walls was estimated as 2500. Four gates allowed access to traffic going in and out of the city. The river Foyle came up close to the walls on the waterside an effective barrier from attack.

he Siege of Derry was the first major event of the Williamite Wars in Ireland. The Gates of Derry were initially closed in December 1688 by 13 apprentice boys who seized the keys and locked the gates upon the approach of the Earl of Antrim's forces. The real action did not begin until April 1869 when the Jacobite forces arrived in substantial numbers. It is estimated that during the siege the population inside the walls swelled to over 30,000 people. Over 7000 of these were troops and the rest civilians who had fled to the safety of the walled city.

The Jacobite force was estimated at some 15,000 and were…

1813 census of Ireland

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1813 CENSUS IRELAND

The first reliable statutory census of the population of Ireland was taken in 1821. An earlier census authorised by statute had been taken between 1813 and 1815. The results, however, were defective and neither printed nor presented to parliament. The census was a substantial failure.

The census was to be statistical in nature only, although in a few baronies heads of households names were recorded (the returns for the six completed baronies of Dublin county, and the half-barony of Upper Lecale, Co. Down).

A bill for a census of Ireland became law on 18 July 1812 and the enumeration was to start on 1 May 1813 and continue without delay until completion. The data to be collected for each enumeration district were the number of inhabited houses, families, houses under construction, uninhabited houses, families engaged in agriculture, in trade, manufacture, handicrafts, and other occupations, persons of each sex exclusive of soldiers, militia, and naval personne…

Wolf-hunters and the last wolf in Ulster

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The last wolf in Ulster
Wolves were numerous in Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. So numerous indeed that they posed a threat to the livelihood of farmers.
A letter from Gabriel Whistler, agent of the Salters’ company 11 April 1699 speaking of the devastation brought about by the 1641 rebellion in the region stated 'your lands and most of the others continued in this condition without inhabitants (but wolves and wild beasts) until the year 1656’ (D4108/1/12A)
At various times generous bounties were given for the destruction of wolves, particularly during the Cromwellian period. In 1652 the Commissioners of the Revenue of Cromwell's Irish Government set substantial bounties on wolves, £6 for a female, £5 for a male, £2 for a sub-adult and 10 shillings for a cub.
In 1677 a proclamation by Gabriel Whistler at the manor court on the Salters’ estate, ‘ordered that the summe of one shilling bee raysed and payed by the tenants of every towne land within the said Manor t…

The Spanish Flu in Limavady

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 The Spanish Flu in Limavady - a case study

Analysis of deaths registered in the Limavady District that record influenza as a primary or secondary cause of death 1918-1919.

In total from the period 26 June through to 14 October 1919 there were 42 deaths with influenza recorded as a primary or secondary cause of death in the Limavady District (I did not include the data for pneumonia only deaths although most likely there was a correlation). Only occasionally did deaths occur in small clusters but more typically deaths would be spaced out over weeks.

Of the 42 deaths that record influenza on the death certificate 17 were female and 25 male. Only five were less than four years old. The age range was from 10 weeks through to 81 years old.

Ages of deceased:
6 less that 10 years old
6 between 11 and 20
9 between 21 and 30
4 between 31 and 40
5 between 41 and 50
2 between 51 and 60
3 between 61 and 70
6 between 71 and 80
1 between 81 and 90

The majority were unmarried (30 out of 42). Most re…

Spanish Flu outbreak 1918

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SPANISH FLU 1918-1919 - the greatest pandemic in History:
Estimated death total worldwide = 20 to 40 million


The last major global pandemic occurred 100 years ago in the summer of 1918. Spanish flu was first reported in the early summer of1918 by newspapers in Spain, unaffected by wartime censorship. By then, the US, French, British and German armies were already troubled by it.
In Ireland 20,057 people were reported as having died of influenza in 1918 and 1919 (the average annual rate for the preceding years of the war had stood at 1,179). In addition, an increase in deaths caused by related illnesses, most notably pneumonia (from which over 3,300 died above what would usually have been expected), can be attributed to the epidemic.Sir William Thompson, the registrar-general, admitted that the official influenza mortality rate was a conservative estimate, and there are reasonable grounds to assume that additional influenza deaths in Ireland were uncertified, attributed to other illnesse…

Vincent Mad Dog Coll a New York Gangster born Donegal

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Vincent 'Mad Dog' Coll (1908-1932)

Vincent 'Mad Dog' Coll was born Magheraclogher, Gweedore on the 20th July 1908 son of (Anthony) Toal Coll, farmer & Annie Duncan – the family emigrated to the USA in 1909.

His father Tuathall Og (Anthony) Toole Coll was born 12 Feb 1868 Bunbeg, Co Donegal son of Toole Coll & Bridget Gallagher: Informant - Toole Coll. 


In 1909 the Colls with their 7 children decided to emigrate to America and settled in the Bronx, but found that their lives in New York were not much better than the ones they left behind in Ireland.
They toiled in poverty, leading Coll’s father to eventually desert the family. Coll’s mother and all but one of his six siblings died before he turned 12 years old. 
Anna (Mary) Coll his mother died of TB on 12th Feb 1916 in the Bronx (New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949)
Anthony Toal Coll died 9 June 1919 aged 51 years King's County, New York. 

Though an elderly neighbor took him in, Coll quickly began …

Hearth Money Rolls 1660s

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The hearth tax was the first of a new wave of taxes brought in shortly after the restoration of King Charles II in 1662 and continued for 27 years until 1689. Collected twice yearly at Michelmas (29th September) and Ladys Day (25th March) copies of the returns of payments were sent to the exchequer and to the local Quarter Sessions.The first Hearth Money Act was passed in the Irish Parliament in 1662. It provided that 2 shillings should be paid on every hearth or ‘other place used for firing’. Arranged by county, parish and, usually, townland, the Hearth Money Rolls list the names of householders who were liable to pay tax at the rate of two shillings on every hearth or fireplace they had. Some people were exempt from the tax and, of course, others managed to evade paying it.The lists are not a complete record of every householder in a townland. Those exempt included persons living on alms, or persons not able to work, or persons who had a house or lands worth less than eight pounds p…