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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Reis's Chambers, The 1916 Rising, the Execution of Francis Hynes and Charles Reis - Part One

5.30p.m. Friday August 11th 1882
Green Street Special Court, Dublin

Mr. John Walton, a respected solicitor from Ennis, County Clare sat down on the wooden bench after informing Mr. Justice Andrew Lawson that he had concluded the case for the defence. The judge smiled yet again, reached under his red robes and then took out his pocket watch at the end of the silver ornamental chain and opened the lid.
            ‘Members of the Jury it is late and I am instructing the Sub-Sheriff to take you for the night to a Dublin hotel perhaps I can recommend the Gresham, I have dined there often myself and it would be in keeping with the standard of gentleman serving on today’s jury’

The court rose to its feet, the Judge left and the prisoner taken down to the cells underground. The twelve men of the jury filed out and into a sparsely decorated jury room. The men patiently waited for a couple of minutes when the door opened and James Campbell, the Sub Sheriff under the Dublin City’s High Sheriff Edmund Gray MP, entered the room.
            ‘Honourable Gentlemen I am charged with your protection and to provide repose and refreshments for tonight at the direction of His Honour. I can offer you the fine facilities at The European Hotel or the Imperial Hotel’
            ‘But Mr. Justice Lawson recommended the Gresham’ interjected the jury foreman, forty year old businessman and merchant William George Barrett of Kingstown*.
(* Kingstown is now Dun Laoghaire)

A number of the men spoke against staying at the Imperial Hotel as they believed that it was frequented by the rebellious nationalists and supporters of the Charles Stewart Parnell Roman Catholic dominated Irish Party. They suggested as did Mr. Justice Lawson the Gresham Hotel on Upper Sackville Street* or the Shelbourne Hotel located on St. Stephen’s Green. Some of the jurors even suggested that they would rather spent the night in the court house as was with previous juries than go to the Imperial Hotel. But with the introduction of the Prevention of Crime Act and the moving of cases such as murder cases from the assizes in the country outside Dublin, juries were being afforded better treatment in a belief that they would be more conducive to giving the prosecution the desired result. After some heated discussion, Campbell ended the chatter.
            ‘Alright Gentlemen of the Jury as you have rejected the European, I will be taking you to the Imperial.’
The Imperial Hotel was located on Sackville Street and the European Hotel was located on Bolton Street.
(* Upper Sackville Street is now O’Connell Street)

The twelve unhappy men were transported by horse drawn coaches accompanied by Mr. Campbell, two bailiffs John Williams and George Strong and four Dublin Metropolitan Police constables James Caffrey, James Donnelly, Robert Young and Michael Carey. Also with the protection detail was James Campbell Junior son of the Sub Sheriff although not officially court appointed. The coaches traveled along the River Liffey quays as far as Carlisle Bridge* and turned right down Sackville Street passed the recently completed statue of the Emancipator Daniel O’Connell. The coaches stopped in front of the Imperial Hotel that overshadowed all of the buildings on that side of the street. Opposite the hotel was the fa├žade of the General Post Office and between the two on the central meridian named Gardiner's Mall was the impressive one hundred and thirty four feet high Nelson’s Column granite and stone structure. The twelve men and their escorts entered. The men many of them wearing black frock coats, while others wore three piece suits topped with tall hats and walking sticks entered the lobby and waited to be taken to the floor that was assigned to them although there was no room assignments.
(*Carlisle Bridge is now called O’Connell Bridge)

The Imperial Hotel itself was located on the upper floors over McSwiney’s and Delaney’s Mart*, one of the first purpose built shopping malls in Europe opened in 1853 in time for the Dublin Exhibition. It was an impressive four storey structure modern for its day. In 1882 the Hotel was operated by William Lawlor. When James Campbell arrived at the hotel reception he spoke to the manager whom he had dealt with in the recent past. He told the manager that a floor should be cleared for them and that food should be provided for the jury and their protection. He also informed the manager that drink could be served in moderation. This would be good business for the hotel.
(*McSwiney’s and Delany’s Mart is today Cleary’s Department Store)

The jurors were taken to the third floor where all the rooms had been cleared but for two guests William O’Brien and Elizabeth Carberry. It was just after six p.m. and after freshening up, the jurors traveled back down one flight of stairs to a dining room to have pre-dinner drinks.

Lissane and Knockaneane, Ennis County Clare

For a number of years John Doolaghty had worked as a herdsman for the Hynes family on their seventy acre farm but in post famine Ireland and at the height of Land League efforts to get a fair deal in rents paid by native Irish to Landlords, the Hynes family struggled to keep their farm financially viable. In 1878, the Hynes family rented out the grazing parts of their farm to James Lynch of Lissane. Head of the family John Hynes, a solicitor in Ennis in an attempt to keep the family from being evicted resorted to criminal activities and after being suspected of forgery fled the country leaving his wife and sons to look after the homestead. In 1880 the Hynes family were evicted from their farm and it was sold to James Lynch.

Francis Hynes took particular offence to this loss of the homestead even though he would not have been the beneficiary of the land as it would have gone to his married brother William and especially when he discovered that John Doolaghty had decided to stay on the farm as a herdsman for the new owner. Francis Hynes was a twenty three year old, six foot three fit young man who felt hard done by when Doolaghty would not agree to a boycott of the James Lynch farm. On February 4th 1881, young Hynes was bound over to the peace by the local Resident Magistrate Captain Hugh McTernan when he was accused of intimidating and attempting to bribe the Doolaghty family. These events followed a meeting in the town of Ennis addressed by the Nationalist MP Charles Stewart Parnell.

On taking over the farm James Lynch whose fortune was someone else’s misfortune had driven twenty three cattle onto the land and the Hynes brothers arrived and drove the cattle onto the road and threatened to take them further if there was no settlement with Doolaghty with regards to him quitting the employ of James Lynch. James Lynch although now in receipt of the farm had no quarrel with the Hynes family as they had proved honest and fair in their dealings with him in the previous years and they had prior to that been good neighbours.

Despite being bound over to the peace, Francis Hynes was suspected of being in a party that attacked the Doolaghty home and fired bullets into a cabinet shattering a number of plates. On another occasion, the grass on Lynch’s farm was cut in the middle of the night and stolen and in October 1881 shots were fired at Lynch himself as he herded some cattle through a field.

On Sunday July 9th 1882, John Doolaghty and his wife Elizabeth known locally as Eliza left their home and attended Mass in Ennis. After Mass, Eliza went to visit the local convent while John set off on the walk home on that bright summer’s day.

 7p.m. August 11th 1882
Dining Room, Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street.

Having made the arrangements with the manager and given details of where the invoice should sent, Campbell left for his own home on Rutland Place to have his dinner leaving John Williams and his son in charge of the members of the Jury.

The jury chosen for this case were forty year old William G Barrett a Distiller and mineral water merchant from Kingstown* who was chosen as the jury foreman. Forty five year old Royal Bank, Smithfield branch bank manager Richard Barbor from Rathmines and member of the Church of Ireland. The oldest member of the jury selected was Richard Carey of Lansdowne Road a retired gentlemen who professed to be a Protestant. Church of Ireland members William Gibson of Ormond Quay, fifty one year old plumber William Macklin of Kingstown and James Maconchy of Rathgar. Also selected was Dominic Street based Land Agent resident of Rathgar Edward C Hamilton. He was thirty five years old and a member of the Church of Ireland congregation.  Twenty eight year old Ephraim Phillips was a draper and hosier of Grafton Street a Methodist who would later become a rates collector in the city. John Beatty, forty one years old and a carpet manufacturer with a shop on Grafton Street and a Presbyterian. He was the co-founder of ‘Millar and Beatty, Carpet and Oil Cloth Warehouse’ who also had an office at Number Five Grafton Street. Grave E. Seabright, fifty four of Pembroke Road, Church of Ireland and William Wardropp of Great Brunswick Street* a Presbyterian. Wardropp was involved in building materials and construction sales who resided at Hamilton House on Ailesbury Road. The twelfth and final member of the jury was Scottish born Charles L Reis a jeweler on Grafton Street who was of the Jewish faith.

Charles Lionel Reis was born in Liverpool in July 1849 eldest son of Jonas and Elizabeth Reis. He married his first cousin Elizabeth in 1872 but she would pass away in 1915 after producing nine children, eight of whom survived. In June 1916 he married Christine McKay in Glasgow. In the 1870, Reis came arrived in Ireland having opened stores in Glasgow, Sheffield and Birmingham. He opened his first Dublin store on Westmoreland Street before moving to 115 Grafton Street and opening a second store at 6 Lower Sackville Street which would be vacated for the Dublin Bread Company and Reis’s moving to the corner of Lower Abbey Street. Reis’s company would also open a shop at 85 Patrick Street, Cork City. Reis’s business was destroyed in Dublin and he would pass away in Glasgow in 1927. For the duration of his time in Dublin, Reis lived at 1 Ailesbury Road in the affluent leafy suburbs of Ballsbridge and Mount Merrion.

Of the twelve members of the jury three did not drink whether by choice or belief, Ephraim Phillips, Richard Carey and William Macklin. The group gathered in the dining room and pre dinner drinks were delivered but it was not just the jury having a drink but all their guards would be consuming alcoholic beverages. It was the first opportunity for the gentlemen to get to know each other socially. They formed into small groups, some talking about their business, others about their personal lives and others discussing the case.

The pre-dinner drinks consisted of the following,
William Barrett         Glass of Sherry
Richard Barbor        Glass of Wine
William Gibson         A half glass of Gin and Bitters
James Maconchy     Glass of Sherry
Charles L. Reis        A half glass of Gin and Bitters
Grave Seabright       A half glass of Sherry
William Wardropp   A half Glass of Gin and Bitters

None of the other members of the Jury had a drink before dinner. But the jury were not the only ones having drinks before dinner. The men of the protection detail were also drinking as they took it in turns of three to eat while the others watched the jury members. The drinks served to the protection detail were as follows
John Williams               A half glass of Whiskey
George Strong              A Glass of Whiskey
James Caffrey               A half Glass of Whiskey
James Donnelly             A half glass of Whiskey
Robert Young               A half glass of Whiskey
Michael Carey              A half glass of Whiskey

The conversation was light hearted and warm as they sat around the table and sipped their drinks as they prepared for the evening meal. Most of the men were business men and discussion often veered towards their various occupations and perhaps what they could do for each other once the trial was over.

2.30pm July 9th 1882
The Road at Knockaneane

John Doolaghty attired in his Sunday best tweed suit was walking along the country road home when he met local man Cornelius McCormack who walked and chatted with him between Rossleven Cross and Guaria Cross where they parted and John Doolaghty continued alone along the road home. Suddenly from the bushes jumped a gunman in front of a startled Doolaghty and fired a gun at closed range into his face with the shot damaging much of the left side of his face and some shot penetrating his left eye and penetrating his brain. He collapsed on the road. Doctor Daxon, a doctor at the Clare County Asylum was first on the scene driving on his way home and moments later from the opposite direction came local butcher Michael Considine. They attempted to treat the wounds of the injured man at the side of the road. Shortly after 2.30p.m. Eliza was making her way home when she met a young man running along the road fetching water who informed her that he husband had been shot. She hurried along to the scene of the crime and knelt beside her injured husband cradling his bloodied her in her lap.

She immediately demanded that a priest be summoned. At 3.20p.m. Doctor Daxon left to fetch local curate Reverend J. Loughnane who returned with him and had obtained a flask of whiskey which he brought with him from the rectory. With some water Eliza wiped the blood from her husbands face and a small amount of whiskey was placed on the lips of the injured man but he had problems swallowing. She later recounted to the investigating magistrate that she asked her husband who shot him and she said that he had said ‘Francy’.

Reverend Loughnane began to give the dying man the last rights. He said in court that the man seemed to follow the act of contrition but that he was struggling in and out of consciousness. The priest believed under oath that the man was in a coma. After delivering the priest Doctor Daxon left again for Ennis and informed the local police of the incident. A large force of policemen headed for the scene of the crime.

First on the scene was Constable Richard Doyle followed shortly after at 4.30p.m. by Captain Hugh McTernan RM, sub Inspector Croghran and police surgeon Doctor William Cullinan. According to early reports when Constable Doyle arrived they moved the injured man into the nearly National School of the road and out of the elements and that is where the injured man was when Captain McTernan arrived. But in a number of court appearances the Captain would under oath claim that the injured man was still by the side of the road and that he ordered the constables to break in the door of the school only to fetch a pen and paper for a dying declaration. McTernan said that he asked who Doolaghty who had shot him and that he replied ‘Francy Hynes’ and that he asked ‘was it Francy Hynes who shot you?’ and Doolaghty replied  ‘yes’ this despite both Doctor Daxon and Reverend Loughnane stating that Doolaghty was both incoherent and unconscious.  McTernan swore that he wrote a dying declaration on a piece of paper for Doolaghty. “I John Doolaghty believing that I am dying, declare that Francis Hynes killed me by firing shots at me” and that when he repeated the declaration and showed it to Doolaghty that he replied ‘yes’.

The injured man was then taken home where he was tended to by Dr. Cullinan and his family. He succumbed to his wounds and died on Monday night at 10.15p.m.

July 9th 1882
Hassett's Public House, Barefield

Constable Doyle was despatched to arrest Francis Hynes whom they were informed could be found in Hassett's public house in the nearby village of Barefield. Constable Doyle said that he found the suspect eating outside the bar and that he seemed to him to be intoxicated. Francis Hynes was twenty three years old and athletic in build in his six foot three inch frame. The son a local solicitor who had himself ran foul of the law on charges of forgery. They owned a farm at Drumdoolaghty but it the tough economic times of post famine Ireland and at the height of the land leagues battle for fair rents for tenants, the family let out the grass on their farm to James Lynch in 1878 and 1879. The following year financial matters overtook the Hynes family and they were evicted from their farm in 1880 for non payment of rent. The farm was then sold to James Lynch who maintained the employment of the herdsman James Doolaghty much to the displeasure of the Hynes family. In February 1881 Francis Hynes was bound over to the peace by the local Resident Magistrate Hugh McTernan for twelve months for intimidating and attempting to bribe James Doolaghty. The intimidation included the cutting and stealing of the grass on the farm in the middle of the night and the opening of gates and allowing Lynch’s cattle to roam free on the roads.  In September 1881 a group of armed men including members of the Hynes family raided the Doolaghty family home on the farm and fired a number of shots in an attempt to get Doolaghty to boycott the employment of Lynch. Even the sound of shattering delph did not stop Doolaghty faithfully serving his master as he too had a large family to feed and needed the work. In October 1881 shots were fired at James Lynch as he herded his cattle from a field. Much of the Hynes’s frenzy was whipped up following an impassioned speech in Ennis by the leader of the Irish party Charles Stewart Parnell.

When he was searched he found some gun powder and buck shot in his pocket and a pair of dry socks. He claimed that in appearance that his boots were grey as though they had been through water and his socks seemed wet and were up over the bottom of his trousers. Hynes immediately denied any hand or part in the shooting and that he could not have done it as he was in the bar at the time of the shooting and that from the time of the shooting to the time he arrived in the pub he would not have had the time to make the four mile journey. The police claim that there was a stream between the scene of the crime and the place of arrest and that it why his boots looked wet that he made his escape through the stream.

The landlady of the house and three customers claim that Francis was drinking with them at the time of the murder. He claimed that at the time given for the murder he was entering the bar and would not have had the time to make it from the scene of the crime to the pub in the allotted time. Francis Hynes was taken to the police barracks in Ennis. 
7.30p.m. August 11th 1882

The Dining Room of the Imperial Hotel

The jury were eating dinner and another round of drinks were served while they were eating. There was sherry, whiskey and a bottle of Claret served. The drinks orders were as follows
William Barrett              A Glass of Sherry
Richard Barbor             A Glass of grog
John Beatty                  One and a half Glasses of Sherry
William Gibson             A Half Glass of Sherry
Edward Hamilton          A Glass of Whiskey
James Maconchy          Two Glasses of Sherry
Charles Reis                 Three Glasses of Claret
Graves Seabright          A half glass of Claret
William Wardropp        A Glass of Sherry and Three quarters of a glass of Whiskey
The other three jurors only had water with their dinner.

The protection detail also ordered drinks with their meals as follows
John Williams               A Glass of Whiskey
George Strong              A Glass of Whiskey
James Caffrey               A Glass of Whiskey
James Donnelly             A Bottle of stout
Robert Young               A Glass of Whiskey
Michael Carey              A Glass of Whiskey

After the plates were cleared another round of drinks were ordered by some of the jury members and Charles Reis ordered a bottle of champagne and four glasses for himself, Mr. Barrett, Mr. Maconchy and Mr. Wardropp. He tells his fellow jury members that having a bottle of champagne after his lunch was a regular occurrence if he were at home. William Gibson ordered a glass of beer and Graves Seabright had another glass of Claret. Some of the men began to smoke cigars and there was discomfort amongst some of the older members and the non smokers as the room quickly resembled a harbour fog scene. As chairman of the jury, Mr. Barrett asked the guard at the door if there was somewhere else the men who wished to smoke could go. After some discussion and a suggestion from Charles Reis, six of the jury, half of them, were escorted down one floor to the hotel’s billiard room by two constables and a bailiff. On duty in the room was the hotel’s Billiard Marker Alfred Martin.

Four jury members remained talking in the dining room and Richard Barbor and William Macklin retired to bed early at 9.45p.m. and 10p.m. respectively. Mr. Barbor spent his time after dinner reading a copy of The London Times and retired to bed when a member of his family had delivered his nightclothes to the reception of the hotel and they had been passed onto him by one of the Constables. At 9.30pm Mr. Campbell arrived in the dining room and passed the remark to Mr. Beatty that jurors now had so much liberty compared to olden days when they would have been locked up in the sparse and unaccommodating surroundings of the Green Street Courthouse.


  1. Part two coming but who is the baddie, what happens next?

  2. Part two coming but who is the baddie, what happens next?