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Fr Hume of Rhode and Land League politics

Back in the heady days of the Land League struggle in Ireland, the fortunes of Edenderry and Rhode were linked through the prominence of the Home Rule club at Edenderry. The movement was supported by the local Catholic clergy, none more vocal than Fr Hume of Rhode parish. In a bid to quell the support of the Edenderry Home Rule club and in particular the influence of Fr A. Hume at Rhode Mr Verschoyle, land agent for a Mr Hornridge who owned land in Rhode parish conducted a campaign against the priest.

On 30th January a meeting of the men of Rhode and Croghan denounced the insult given to Hume by a clique of 'Orange Freemasons'(Leinster Leader, 12 Feb 1887). Bernard Ennis in the chair said it was the greatest honour on a Catholic to defend a priest. The Orange cliques were Scotch and Cromwell’s men. Hume had two communications from Verschoyle and that 'the brutal agent' had met him in Dublin in September 1886. Hume wanted Verschoyle to remove the 'emergency men' from the area (those sent to do the work of landlords who were being boycotted by local land league activists).In return Verschoyle got a man named Young from Carbury to come on a 'John Barnes car' (this meant priest hunting) to insult Fr Hume.

A case was brought against Fr Hume at Philipstown assizes for calling James Young a “drunken emergency man”, the latter was seeking £100 damages (Leinster Leader, March 19 1887).


Much was made of the affair and the insult of Fr Hume was used by the Edenderry Home Rule Club and others to justify their cause. When Hume died in December 1887 a large number of Protestants attended at the mass, proof of his popularity in the area. Capt Dames of Greenhills House, Rhode sent a beautiful wreath in the shape of the cross. He was 14 years a priest in Rhode. He was 69 years old and 47 of those were spent in the priesthood.

(Ciaran Reilly)

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