‘Blarney Mills – Fatal Accident 1869′ with Brian Gabriel, Blarney & District Historical Society

Mr. Coroner Horgan held an inquest, yesterday, at Blarney, on the remains of John Twohig, aged 23 years, who was killed by being drawn into the machinery at Messrs. Mahony Brothers’ Woollen Factory, where he was employed, on Monday morning. The deceased was a well-conducted young man. He was married and was the chief support of a wife (who also worked in the factory), a child, a sister-in-law, and a mother-in-law. The jury having viewed the remains, the following evidence was adduced:- Bartholomew Hayes, a young lad employed at the Blarney woollen factory for the past three years, was the first witness examined. He deposed – I knew the deceased. He had been some time employed at the mill. Yesterday morning, between a quarter and ten minutes past one o’clock, I came into the mill to go to work. The deceased came in with me, having a candle in his hand. He gave me the candle and told me to look out; I held the candle while he went up the ladder, near the top of which wheels were working. I looked out the door and just then heard him screech, and on looking up the ladder, I saw him drawn in between the wheels. I stopped the mill as quickly as I could, but it took me some time to do so. When the mill was stopped, I came back to him again and he was in between the two wheels. He was then quite dead. It did not take me two minutes to stop the mill. The decease had no appearance of having taken drink when he went into the mill. I had never seen him go to that part of the mill before. It was the deceased set the mill going. To a Juror: – The ladder was firm enough. I have seen people go up that ladder before to oil the mill. I did not see the deceased oil the mill on that occasion. I did not hear any person telling him to go there. There were a great many people outside in the drying loft at the time the accident happened. I suppose he went up the ladder to see were the wheels all right. None of the foremen were there at the time. One of them came in immediately after. Pierce Campbell, another boy employed in the mill, deposed: – On the morning of the accident, about one o’clock, I first saw the deceased come into a drying house of the factory. He was perfectly sober. About five minutes after I saw him in the same place. He told us to go to work. He sent the last witness to ask another boy would his machine work, that he wanted to put the shaft in gear. The boy returned and said the machine would work. The water was then drawn and the deceased went up the ladder. I saw no more of the deceased after he ascended one step of the ladder, until the last witness told me he was killed. I had never seen the deceased go up the ladder before. To a Juror: – The deceased had his coat on over his working dress. I do not know that he had had any disagreement with any of the mill hands. The ladder had been put there by the boys whose duty it is to oil and grease the machinery. They never oil or grease it at night. To the Coroner: – The other witness could not hold the candle high enough to enable the deceased to see the top of the cogs. To a Juror: – If his boot slipped he would fall in upon the cogs. He had nothing in his hand. Thomas T. Scott deposed: – I am manager of the Blarney mills. About a quarter past one o’clock yesterday morning I was sent for, and came at once to the mill. One of the workmen was then near the shaft, near the body, which was all mutilated in the two large bevil wheels on the main shaft. The mill was standing when I went in. The deceased was employed to scour and tuck the cloth, and it was also his duty to look after the hatches and weirs of the reservoir. He had to lift the hatches every morning to let the water down. He had no right to go where he was on this occasion – he had no instructions from me to go there, and he was never there before. We don’t know of any business he had to go there at all. The wheels are always greased during the day. They did not want greasing that morning. I can only suppose that he may have heard some kicking noise about the shaft and went to see if anything was wrong. I found nothing wrong with the shaft afterwards. To a Juror: – The middle of the cogs is about two feet from the top of the ladder. If he wanted to see the cogs he should have taken the candle in his hand when he got to the top of the ladder. The ladder was quite firm when I ascended it afterwards. I sent for the doctor and the police at once. Doctor John Punch examined: – About a quarter past one o’clock yesterday morning, I was called to see the deceased. I saw one of the lower extremities of the deceased lying on the ground. The body was caught between the wheels and very much mutilated. Death must have been instantaneous. The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of accidental death. The above article was originally printed in the Cork Examiner of Wednesday 7th July 1869. Reported Collision between the People and Constabulary near Blarney 1848. A report has been received in town this morning that a collision between the constabulary and people on yesterday, a short distance from Blarney, in which the life of one man was lost and several are said to be more or less injured. The circumstances which are said to have led to this melancholy result are simply these. On Sunday week a number of tenants of Sir George Colthurst assembled at an early hour and cut down a large proportion of the growing crops on their respective holdings. No opposition to their proceedings was offered on that day; but the amount of labour they had to go through compelled them to remain satisfied with cutting down and securing the crops. Yesterday morning, it is stated that upwards of two hundred men – but this is probably an exaggeration – assembled and commenced to make arrangements for carrying off the corn. In this proceeding they were, however, opposed by a number of men employed for that purpose; and the natural result was that a conflict of a serious character ensued. During the continuance of the struggle, the police were called in, and, it is reported, the military were sent for; but before the latter arrived, the persons who had attempted to carry off the crops were compelled to retire with the loss of one man killed and several wounded, whilst, it is said, some of the police and several of the men belonging to the opposing party were severely injured. The authority on which the above particulars are circulated is of rather a vague character; but the circumstantial account that is given, and the credit the report has received renders it probable that a collision, attended with unpleasant consequences, has occurred. The above article was originally printed in the Cork Examiner of Monday 1/10/1848 The illustrated lecture for Thursday 4th December 2014 at 8 p.m. in Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal (Blarney Secondary School) is titled; ‘The Heritage Bridges of County Cork’. This includes some from around the Blarney area. The speakers are Ms. Elena O’Brien Turk and Ms. Lisa Levis Carey. Everyone is welcome to attend this excellent lecture. Enquiries to Brian Gabriel 087 2153216.

Historical