|Site of Father Sheehy's trial|
Main Guard, Clonmel
The Main Guard was built in the 1600s as a courthouse and a thosel, where tolls, duties, and customs were paid. As if 400 years old is not ancient enough, Michelle told me that some of the stones were taken from a dismantled abbey built by Cisterian monks in the 1100s. She pointed out the mason’s mark chiseled into one block 900 years earlier.
|Michelle Stafford, a |
wonderful help to me.
Inside, she took me to the main room on the second floor where trials had been held. There was a display with Father Sheehy’s story and picture. We looked out the window to see, about a block away, a large yellow hotel where the gaol (as they spelled it then) had been located.
It was a relatively new place then, built in the 1700s, with six dungeons. It was there Father Sheehy had been held awaiting trial. I stared at the street Sheehy was forced to parade on his way to the courthouse.
|The road Sheehy took to |
his trial. Taken from
the Main Guard.
After leaving Michelle, I walked that route in reverse to see the location of Sheehy’s hanging, where he was drawn and quartered, and where his head remained on a spike for two decades.
It was said, that out of respect, no birds ever pecked his remains in all those twenty years.
|Father Sheehy at the Main Guard|
|Father Sheehy on hotel sign|