At the Nenagh Petty Sessions, on Thursday last, information was sworn by Catherine M’Namara against John Creighton, Martin Creighton, and others, for abduction and assault; a warrant was consequently issued by the Bench of Magistrates.
Margaret M’Namara, a very pretty country girl, is the only unmarried daughter of a comfortable farmer of that name, residing in the parish of Island, in Galway.* John Creighton, a hamlet rake and village debauchee, living in the same neighbourhood, took it into his head, by one bold stroke, to secure himself in a pretty wife and handsome fortune, which would enable him to give larger and longer scope to his abandoned career.
Confederating with a few of his associates (among whom was his brother Martin) at a public-house, he there revealed to them his adventurous project, and it was unanimously agreed that their leader should have a wife and fortune. Accordingly, at dead of night, they sallied forth, and soon arrived at the cottage-home of the devoted girl.
A solitary and startling knock at the door was the first intimation that the unconscious inmates had of their danger. “Who comes there?” — “A friend, open the door!” — “What is wanted at this unseasonable hour?” — “No matter — open the door.” Old M’Namara rose, and the maiden cowered behind her mother in the bed. A dead silence of some moments elapsed — a murmur of whispering voices was heard, and, in another instant, in tumbled the door with a crashing noise.
All then was uproar and confusion — resistance was useless. Old M’Namara was felled to the ground, others of the family were unmercifully beaten, the mother’s arm broken, and the maiden herself was dragged from her bed out into the bawn in almost a state of nudity!
Her clothes were then brought out, and she was compelled to huddle them on her. Fearful lest powerful assistance might be brought to the spot, and that they might be deprived of their prize, the heartless wretches dragged her along the verge of the Shannon, and alike regardless of the forlornness of her condition and the delicacy of her sex, they flung her into a boat and splashed to the opposite shore.
After landing she was literally dragged for the distance of five miles across a lonely and cheerless tract of country; and as the dawn was breaking, she was secreted, in a state of exhaustion, in a friend’s house of Creighton’s, on the lands of Carighatogher, near Nenagh. During the journey, Creighton’s brothers frequently said to him — “Glory to you, John, you can now drink and smoke enough.”
The next morning M’Namara’s friends were indefatigable, though unsuccessful, in their efforts to find Creighton and his party. Mr Reed, a neighbouring magistrate, granted a search warrant; and himself in person, with an escort of police, scoured the country, but their exertions were equally uncrowned with success.
Mr Reed having received intelligence that the offenders were in the neighbourhood of Castle Lough, sent a note by express to Mr Anthony Parker, a gentleman of high respectability, a magistrate, and a deputy lieutenant of the county of Tipperary. Mr Parker, with his usual promptitude, instituted a general search throughout Castle Lough and the surrounding country.
During this lapse of time, Catherine M’Namara was removed to a cabin belonging to an individual named Reedy, the local position of which was the centre of a dreary bog. While there, deploring her unfortunate condition,she was alarmed by the cry of “Police! police!” “fly, fly!” She lifted her head, and saw Creighton running out of the back door, while a middle-sized, sandy-complexioned man and five country-fellows, who were well armed, darkened the front entrance at almost the same moment. An involuntary shuddering seized her when she saw the men staring inquisitively in her face.
Reedy, the lord of the “mud edifice,” demanded “by what authority they dared to enter his mansion?” The man who seemed to be the leader, heedless of Reedy’s questions, approached the shivering girl, and asked her in a northern accent, “if she were detained against her inclination, or if she needed protection?” Her humid eyes met his, and in mute eloquence implored protection. “Child, do you need protection?”the game voice again repeated in a hurried cadence.She grasped his arm, and almost breathlessly exclaimed, “I want nothing else!”
The house was instantly cleared of a crowd that had collected; her clothes were gathered; the little party filed around her, and proceeded silently to the road, expecting each moment to be attacked. She was afterwards conducted to the house of a respectable farmer named Quin, where she was hospitably received and entertained, and protected for the following night and day.
Mr Baxter, the leader of the little party that had rendered such signal service to the cause of humanity, then learned from the poor girl’s own lips the particulars connected with her abduction. Before he went to Reedy’s cottage, all he knew was,that a strange young woman was detained there against her inclination, and under suspicious circumstances.
Next day she was accompanied to the sessions-house of Nenagh, where Mr Parker, fortunately, was a sitting Magistrate; she was admitted into the jury-room, and her evidence taken, and a warrant was issued as before mentioned. After being examined, Mr Parker very kindly gave her money, got her a proper conveyance, and an escort of police to conduct her to the arms of her afflicted parents, where she now remains under the especial protection of Mr Reed.
Leamington Spa Courier 7 March 1835
* I have no idea where that is: Griffith, Lewis and the Parliamentary Gazetteer make no mention [that I can find] of a parish called Island or Islands in County Galway or County Clare [I checked both because the boundary changed later in the nineteenth century]. Could the author have meant Illaunmore? Or Inis Cealtra? Griffith finds McNamaras and a Creighton in the parish of Inishcaltra.