Whiteboyism

Have you added any family histories to the Ireland Reaching Out database? 

I haven’t, but I enjoy reading them occasionally. I recently saw a bio about John Joseph Connors, who was convicted of “whiteboyism” and punished by transport to Australia.

Not familiar with the term, I resorted to Wikipedia to learn more about Whiteboys:

The Whiteboys were a secret Irish agrarian organisation in 18th-century Ireland which used violent tactics to defend tenant farmer land rights for subsistence farming. Their name derives from the white smocks the members wore in their nightly raids. As they levelled the fences at night, they were usually referred to at the time as “Levellers” by the authorities, and by themselves as “Queen Sive Oultagh’s children” (“Sive” or “Sieve Oultagh” being anglicized from the Irish Sadhbh Amhaltach, or Ghostly Sally), “fairies”, or as followers of “Johanna Meskill” or “Sheila Meskill,” all symbolic figures supposed to lead the movement. They sought to address rack-rents, tithe collection, excessive priests’ dues, evictions and other oppressive acts. As a result they targeted landlords and tithe collectors. Over timeWhiteboyism became a general term for rural violence connected to secret societies. Because of this generalisation, the historical record for the Whiteboys as a specific organisation is unclear. There were three major outbreaks of Whiteboyism: 1761-64, 1770-76, and 1784-86…

More details about Whiteboys can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiteboys.

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