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Hangman Ignores Gardener's Request

On st patrick's Day in 1798, Dublin newspapers reported on the violent death of Daniel Carroll, a carter who worked for Charles Farren, deputy clerk of the pleas in the Court of the Exchequer, at Farren's house on Rathmines Road.

During the early hours of March 16th, a number of armed men entered the gate lodge of Farren's house and shot Carroll through the head and chest. It was also reported that when he was found later on, Carroll had a deep cut across his forehead believed to have been inflicted with a shovel that was found near the body.

The killers didn't flee the scene immediately but broke into Farren's house where they helped themselves to two bottles of his best claret, a bottle of Madeira and a bottle of whiskey which they drank before leaving the house some time later.

Suspicion immediately fell on Farren's gardener, a man named Kelly who had fled the scene with his wife and child just before the gang arrived. These suspicions grew when it emerged that Carroll had complained to his master that Kelly had threatened to kill him.

Alderman James, who was investigating the murder, also found that the shotgun that Farren had given to Kelly for his protection had disappeared. Kelly said that it had been stolen by the gang.

The gun was found a few days later in a ditch close to the murder scene along with a pair of blood-spattered boots belonging to Kelly. The items were uncovered when Kelly's 10-year-old son Andrew confessed to magistrates that he had hidden them there.

Some nights before the killing, Kelly went to Harold's Cross to meet a gardener named Rooney and a mason called McLaughlin. It was reported that Kelly told the two men he was having trouble with Carroll, whom he described as "an Orangeman that lived in his neighbourhood, who was very troublesome to some of his friends ... "

A few days after the murder it was reported in the Freeman's Journal that Carroll had been killed because he had refused to join a local branch of the United Irishmen, which held its meetings at Kelly's lodgings while his master was out of town.

Kelly was found guilty of the murder of Carroll and sentenced to death. Yet his execution was postponed "at the request of the people of Rathgar" who wanted to wait until the trial of four others accused of aiding and abetting Kelly in the murder was completed.

On Monday, October 29th, 1798, three men and a woman -- Laurence Rooney, Dennis O'Donnell, Thomas Beahan and Peggy McKeon -- went on trial for the crime. Beahan and McKeon were acquitted but Rooney and O'Donnell were found guilty as charged and were sentenced to be publicly hanged along with Kelly at the top of a lane leading from Rathgar to Rathfarnham Road (now Terenure Cross).

Two days later Kelly, Rooney and O'Donnell were taken from Kilmainham Gaol in a cart along South Circular Road and up through Rathmines to the place of execution.

Before the noose was placed around his neck, Kelly claimed that the killing of Carroll had been politically motivated and requested that he and his companions be allowed wear green cockades and ribbons "to show that they died in the good cause". The request was turned down.


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