City Crime & Violence, 18th Century Kilkenny

Even though Kilkenny was a charming and well-to-do city in the 18th century, it was also a world of savage punishments and sudden violence! The spectacle of public execution was frequent enough, though most of those found guilty were commuted or transported out of the country.

In 1778, Eland Mossom was sentenced to death where he was hanged for murder. Whipping through the streets was frequently inflicted on women. Honor Burke was whipped from the Parade to the Watergate for stealing 3 ½ yards of flannel; two women were whipped for stealing a blue petticoat. John Fennel was whipped for a very minor crime of stealing cabbage plants.

In 1768, a cartload of beggars was whipped to the Watergate and expelled from the city. The city also had its brothels and these could be raided when a Mayor of high moral standards came to office. Anthony Blunt became Mayor in 1770 and he was determined to whip the town into morality. He became known as Whirligig Blount for the spinning cage he erected between the pillars of the Tholsel, where minor offenders could be exposed to public ridicule and spun around by those who would a wicked sense of humour!

He also rounded up prostitutes and put them in milk churns and carted them around the city with a placard on their heads to testify to their sinful occupation. They were also whipped at different intervals.

Some of the crimes and punishments:

Sheep Stealing – One year in prison

Pig Stealing – 6 months in prison & seven years of transportation

Passing of forged bank notes – 14 years of transportation

Stealing a piece of cloth – 7 years of transportation

Highwaymen – death penalty

It is great to city Kilkenny has become a much more civilised city these days and a great place to visit where you will ceol, caint agus craic!!!