clones Aghafin House

“On Tuesday night a raid by disguised and armed men on the premises of Mr. John Beresford Madden, and his sister, ...

...Miss Madden, Aghafin House had a sequel in the serious wounding by a rifle shot of Miss Madden during the time the raid was in progress. On this night a large number of raids for arms were carried out on the houses of Unionists in Co. Monaghan, and amongst the houses visited was that of the above named gentleman, and his sister. Mr. Madden for a considerable time past has not been in robust health, and he might be regarded as the principal person in charge of the place, which has been long known as Roslea Manor. About 1.30 a.m. on the morning of the 1st inst. a party of raiders visited the house and having gained an entrance, proceeded to search for arms, and while doing so they reached the room where Mr. Madden slept, and which was secured from the inside. The raiders demanded that the room should be opened but there was some delay and commotion. Mr. Madden who from the inside seemed to realise what was up fired a shot as alleged from the inside to frighten off the intruders. Several shots were then fired by the raiders. During what occurred Miss Madden received a bullet wound in the abdomen which passed out through the back. One version is that it came from a rifle fired through the door by her brother, and another that it was fired by the raiders, whom it is said formed a barricade on the stair case or landing by boxes before leaving the house. Miss Madden received the wound in any case and on the following day Wednesday, had the bullet extracted by Dr. James Campbell Hall, Monaghan, who found her condition very serious. It is said the raiders before decamping seized and carried away a few shotguns and ammunition, and a service rifle. The affair has caused a great deal of consternation in the district, and much sympathy is felt for Miss Madden, who is a lady who enjoyed a large measure of wide popularity and is highly esteemed by her neighbours.

Investigations by the police and military are proceeding, but up to the present no arrests have been made. Reports were current on Wednesday evening last that Miss Madden had succumbed to her injuries, but such were at that time untrue.

A later message says that the condition of Miss Madden at the time of writing (Thursday) was very serious and little hopes are entertained for her recovery.

The official report says that early on Wednesday morning, raiders came to a house in Aghafin and covered an old maiden lady, aged 65, with revolvers. She was subsequently shot in the stomach. Her brother, a cripple, 70 years of age, resisted the raiders and shot one of them, who was carried down stairs. A number of the raiders escaped from an upstairs window.”

Rumours that a raider wounded at Aghafin House was brought to the house of Francis Murray in the neighbouring townland of Lisoarty, circulated in the area which resulted in the following incident as reported in the same issue of the Northern Standard.

“Dastardly Clones Outrage.

An old man named Francis Murray, an Army pensioner, and his two daughters had a miraculous escape from being burned to death near Aghafin, Clones.

A number of individuals fastened the door on the outside, and then set the house, which has a thatched roof, on fire, with the apparent object of burning the occupants along with the house.

One of Murray’s daughters seized a hatchet and smashed the door sufficiently so as to allow her father, who is a very old man, and her other sister to get clear of the encircling flames, which in a very short time destroyed the house.”

The following day a well attended meeting of Unionists was held in the Orange Hall, Clones and the following resolutions were passed.

(1) “That this meeting of Clones Unionists desire to express their sympathy with those persons whose homes have been raided and their lives and property endangered and condemn all such outrages as being unlawful, provocative, and calculated to seriously imperil the peace of the district and stir up strife and ill-will.”

(2) “This meeting of Clones Unionists express their strong condemnation of the burning of the house in Lisoarty occupied by Mr. Frank Murray, and their disapproval of conduct of this description, and that the secretary convey to Mr. Murray a copy of this resolution.”

Miss Isabel C. Madden survived her ordeal and lived another twenty years and died at Aghafin House in March 1942. The Murray family moved to Coraghy, Clones and in 1923, Mary Ellen Murray married Garda Sergeant William Francis ‘Billy’ McMahon, Phoenix Park, Dublin who was a member of the noted Clones family of building contractors. (Info: Sean Slowey)