1876 – Kilsheelan Poachers Let Off the Hook

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Clonmel Chronicle, 15 January 1876

If you were to believe the newspapers of the time, salmon poaching was big business in the second half of the 19th Century. Many column inches were taken up with reports of prosecutions, arrests and attempted arrests for landing the forbidden catch, and both the police and water bailiffs seemed to dedicate much time and effort attempting to bring the perpetrators to justice. Many of these attempts were unsuccessful, and left the officials looking rather red-faced when their escapades were relayed in the next week’s paper. One contemporary report tells of one of the poachers, safely ensconced in his “cot”, or small row boat, asking the poor beleaguered water bailiff on the bank for a light for his pipe. The game of cat and mouse was played out again in January 1876 on a stretch of water near Kilsheelan, and the participants had to be happy with a draw: the poachers kept their liberty but the law kept their equipment.

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