Captain Boycott

Photo:Illustrative image of Lough Mask House

Illustrative image of Lough Mask House

Donor

Photo:The local community boycotting a trader who supplies goods to boycotted persons

The local community boycotting a trader who supplies goods to boycotted persons

Donor

Photo:Land agitation in Ireland.  Constabulary and line encampment in the grounds of Lough Mask House.  Notice Lough Mask Castle in background

Land agitation in Ireland. Constabulary and line encampment in the grounds of Lough Mask House. Notice Lough Mask Castle in background

From The Graphic Nov 1880

Photo:Captain Boycott driving cattle from Lough Mask House through Ballinrobe to Claremorris station with armed excort.  (Boycott with beard)

Captain Boycott driving cattle from Lough Mask House through Ballinrobe to Claremorris station with armed excort. (Boycott with beard)

The Graphic, Nov. 1880

Photo:Captain Boycott departing.  (Notice bird cage on lap)

Captain Boycott departing. (Notice bird cage on lap)

The Graphic 1880

Taken from: Irish Tourist Association Survey, 1945 - ITA/3/10 (87) - Mayo Co. Library, Castlebar.
Researched by Averil Staunton

Lough Mask House

This notorious gentleman lived at Lough Mask House now occupied by Mr. Patrick Daly [1945].   The house, a sizeable square-fronted building stands beside Lough Mask Castle on the S.E. shore of the lake and about 3 miles N. of Cong [3 m. SW of Ballinrobe]

It is a solid stone building without any pretensions to architectural beauty or interest and is approached by a long avenue.   It was erected early in the 19th century by the Elwoods of Strandhill area. 

Agent

Boycott was agent for the Earls’ of Erne and Kilmaine and the harshness with which he treated the poor tenants and others under his charge soon earned for him the hatred of all with whom he came in contact in the course of his duties.

In the summer of 1880, Parnell propounded his policy for the complete isolation of rack-renters, brutish landlords, land-grabbers and others of that class who were persecuting the peasantry of the country.   In the following October, the plan was put into effect against Boycott and the staunch tenante simultaneously took up a determined stand against the petty tyrants, ignoring his ejectment processes and threats.   Then his groom, Martin Brannigan, left his employment without notice, to be followed immediately by Dick Higgins the herder, his cook, maids, workmen and all others who tended the house and lands or were in any way engaged in helping to run the huge property.   Immediately too, he found it impossible to get a local farrier to shoe his horses and he could procure not goods, food or other requirements from shops or stores.   With amazing spirit and cohesion the people withstood his pleas as they had his bullying threats and soon he was stranded in a state of complete and thorough ostrascization.

‘Boycotting’ spreading

The rigid attitude of the people was now a subject of discussion all over the country and newspaper headlines drew public attention in other countries also to the situation and developments.   Lord Erne sent 40 “Orange workers from the north of Ireland to aid Boycott in his duties” and it was thought necessary too to send a group of Hussars and two pieces of artillery to protect the unhappy agent and his new staff from the wrath of the local people who were now more determined than ever to see their campaign through to success.  The soldiers, however, had no enviable task and they considered their assignment as a demeaning as well as an uncomfortable one, camped as they were in tents in a field near the house.

But the atmosphere was becoming daily more untenable for Boycott – it is said that he went concealed in a sack on an ass cart, though other versions say that he was removed in a Red Cross wagon with an escort.   Military and imported workmen relinquished their unpleasant tasks on the very next day and left immediately.

This page was added by Averil Staunton on 16/10/2011.

Comments about this page

Reading this article I realized that I had tea in this house in the 50s!

Did not know, at the time, that it was the infamous Captain Boycott's house.

By Syl Walsh
On 07/04/2012

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