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Murder of William Blood at Applevale, Corofin

JANUARY 21, 1831.

The agrarian outrages reached the high-water mark with the brutal murder of Mr. William Blood at his home in Applevale, near Corofin on the night of January 21, 1831.

The Clare Journal of January 24, 1831 reported the circumstances in some detail:
"We have this day to record the perpetration of as deliberate and cold-blooded a murder as perhaps ever was committed. On Friday evening last between 7 and 8 o'clock, four men with their shoes off, without any disguise, entered the house by the back door of Mr. William Blood, passing through the kitchen or small room or pantry immediately near in which was a man-servant in the act of cleaning the things which had been in use at dinner. This man they instantly seized and threatened to murder if he did not lead them to the room in which his master was sitting. The man, as a matter of course, was obliged to comply… Mr. Blood seized the fire shovel with his right hand and with his left opened the door which he again instantly shut on observing the strange men. Before his left hand was from the handle of the lock, one of the men fired through the keyhole and wounded Mr. Blood's left hand. Mr. Blood retreated to a small closet from which a door gave him free access to the back yard… Five others of the party were waiting outside, one of whom knocked him down with a scythe…The head of the unfortunate gentleman presented in the morning a most frightful appearance. It was literally broken to pieces and the brains scattered about…"

William Blood was a forty seven year old bachelor and a popular magistrate. He was regarded by his tenant as a fair landlord. Moreover he belonged to a family which had been in the district for over two hundred years. His murder therefore caused great alarm among the landlord class and many of them left their homes and fled into the towns for safety. The Government, too, took serious notice and the Lord Lieutenant, after a tour of the county, suspended the 'habeas corpus' Act and flooded North Clare with constabulary. Substantial rewards were offered for information and two of the murderers were quickly apprehended. One of them, Patrick Connors, had been in Mr. Blood's employment at the time of the murder, and apparently had no higher motive for his connivance in the affair than simple robbery. They were hanged in June, 1831. Four others, including two brothers, followed them to the gallows on March 1, 1832. All the executions were carried out in public at Corofin within sight of the Blood residence at Applevale. Soon afterwards the Terry Alts became a spent force.

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