“The Kerry Eviction”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1880's? (Zimmermann)
Keywords: hardheartedness greed poverty death farming storm Ireland hardtimes children police soldier

Description

Old McMahon in Kerry can't pay the rent and the agent, with soldiers and police, comes to evict him. To no avail, he asks that the children not be turned out in the snow and that he be given a week or two to pay. McMahon, evicted, dies in the snow.

Notes

This bit of brutality is a little extreme, in that evictions rarely happened in such unfortunate circumstances. But "rarely" is not the same as "never"; for about a century, English landlords had near-complete control over their Irish tenants, and did evict them for little reason or none. It was not until the nineteenth century that the English started supplying tenants' rights -- and the Land League (for which see "The Bold Tenant Farmer") helped support them. - RBW

References

  1. Zimmermann 87, "A New Song Entitled the Kerry Eviction" (1 text)
  2. BI, Zimm087