Lusks Obelisk and Fr Tyrell

Rev Peter James Tyrell had been a priest nearly 30 years when he took over as Parish Priest of Lusk in 1841. He studied at the Irish College in Paris leaving France in 1823 moving on to Stratford London for a time before being advised to return to his native land due to ill health. After a spell at Harolds Cross, Georges Hill and as curate of St Audeons he moved to Lusk
He was described by Daniel O’Connell’s son, John, as a timid and retiring man whose piety, kindliness and humanity won him affectionate reverence amongst all classes of his parishioners.
In the mid to late 1840’s Ireland was in the grips of a Famine. Appalled by what he saw around him this retiring man felt compelled to do something to alleviate the destitution of the people, joining Daniel O’Connell’s Repeal Association.
On October 7th O’Connell was to have made a speech at a huge gathering of his supporters in Clontarf. Previous meetings had been attracting up to a million people and the London parliament decided to ban it.
It was written by the Prime Minister of Britain and Ireland, Sir Robert Peel, who called the proposed meeting for the restoration of the Irish Parliament, abolished in 1801, “an attempt to overthrow the constitution of the British Empire as by law established”
Two warships, the Rhathemus and the Dee, steamed into Dublin Harbour, carrying around 3,000 British troops from the 24th and 34th regiments to ensure the mass rally in favour of Repeal of the Union did not take place.
O’Connell who advocated non violence cancelled the meeting at the last minute and Fr Tyrrell and others spent the day dispersing people to avoid, as O’Connell put it “The slaughter of the people”. He made a speech himself to a crowd in which he said
“ It was said that formerly the priests led the people, but now the people are leading the priests”
Consequently, Tyrrell, O’Connell and five others were arrested and charged with conspiracy. They became known as the Repeal Martyrs. He had been suffering poor health and was wetted badly while dispersing the crowd,not given appropriate care while in custody, developed erysipelas, an infection and died shortly after. The last words which fell from his lips were “the law, the law, the, law.”
His death caused outrage around the country. His funeral was a huge event reported all over Ireland and Britain. Nearly 1,000 attended while the ancient bell in the old monastery tolled as the procession passed. His pallbearers included John O’Connell ( Daniels O’Connell’s son) and Sir Charles Gavin Duffy, journalist, poet and politician who went on to become the premier of Victoria in Australia. He was laid to rest in Lusk.
Think of him when you pass the Obelisk and keep his story and memory alive.

Would you like us to add your transport service?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on google
Close Search Window