The following is an extract from the southern report of the Cork Commercial Courier of the 19th July, 1832 in relation to an anti-tithe meeting on Mount Gabriel:
Anti-Tithe Meeting at the foot of Mount Gabriel
It is no longer a figure of speech to say that the voice of the Irish people has resounded from one extremity of the end to the other in reprobation of the tithe system. A meeting of the Tithe pairs of Kilmoe, Muintervara and Schull was held on Monday, the 9th July, 1832 at the base of Mount Gabriel immediately opposite the island of Clear (Cape Clear). Although the day was wet and gloomy it only gave a sterner and loftier character to the features of the scene which was rendered particularly impressive and interesting from the vast and imposing array of pedestrians and equestrians (chequered with flags and banners of various colours and devices), which people did solitude on this occasion. The magnificence of the ocean view, which expanded indefinitely before the eye of the spectator, was considerably increased by the heavy clouds which occasionally rolled over the waste of waters. Literally girded with whirlwind and storm unredeemed by a single gleam of sunshine, and greeted by the whaling voice of the blast, led the cold dirge of some unhallowed spirits, it appeared to scowl darkly and ominously on the proceedings of the day. But the scene did not want its gay and animated features, as indeed how could it be with such an immense multitude of Irish faces and Irish towns in its immediate neighbourhood
That went in doors, windows and chimney tops of the houses and the village of Schull and surrounding country, but the very rocks were festooned and ornamented with wreaths and garlands of the most fantastic and beautiful kind. It might be said, without a figure, that the desert bloomed with joy – that the rocks exulted and the hills lifted up their voices with delight. Nor was the aid of human minstrelsy wanting on the occasion, the fiddle and bagpipe and the drum finding the expression of the most obstreperous merriment and were responded to by such a cold symphony of yells, cheers, and sympathetic flourishes of the voice as to extend the combined efforts of the “Russian horn hand” and the “bohemian brothers” and cause our ears to tingle with the glorious confusion of folk with an instrumental music.
But this expression of triumph was not, as amongst our phlegmatic fellow citizens confined to a solitary order, it engrossed the entire man, and the kindling eye, the blushed check but above all the exotic sound in the air, which simulated more to the evolution of the aeronaut, than the sluggish efforts of an earth born mortal to attempt the “empyrean” heights bore down the most striking evidence to the cordiality which hailed the downfall of the publicans and sinners by whom the country had been so long oppressed.
The languid countenance of the lowest palatine – the dark but intelligent features of the huginau, as well as the strongly marked and impassioned aspect of the Miguizien Tied pair brightened up under the influence of the general joyful. The procession of both in the neighbouring islands, with gaze streamers flapping in the breeze, was particularly interesting being conducted with considerable taste and skill. On entering the harbour at Schull they formed a line bright with the variegated hues of flags and pennants which to a distant spectator would appear to form an extreme boundary of the meeting.
The men from Muintervara who have the distinguished honour of being the first western district to have given the death blow to the system, proceeded under the conduct of Richard O’Donovan Esq of Tullagh and Timmy O’Donovan Esq of Ardahill (Kilcrohane) (this may be incorrect most likely Timothy O’Donovan, JP, O’Donovan’s Cove, Durrus) accompanied by the Reverend Messrs. Quin and Kelleher with music and decorated banners. Paddy Murphy’s celebrated steed tastefully caparisoned and bearing evidence of its branded hide of the proctor’s defeat and the people’s triumph was conscious in the procession – the Tithe pairs of Ballydehob congregated from hill and dale (Protestant and Catholic) whole lights and new lights the children of call, the descendants of the huginau joining heart and hand for the removal of a common grievance and made a very respectable appearance.
On entering the village of Schull with flaunting banners and music preceded by J. Barry and D. Welpley Esq and accompanied by the Reverend Messrs. Barry and Walsh, they were met by the Reverend Lawrence O’Sullivan P.P. of Kilmoe (Ballydehob) and the Reverend T. Barry P.P. of Bantry. Here the cavalcade presented a most attractive spectacle with its respectable numbers and made the firm earth tremble as with the voice of victory.
The men of Crookhaven, under the direction of J. Coughlan, and accompanied by the Reverend Mr. Begley were distinguished by their characteristic order and regularity. Nothing could be more gratifying than the spirit and independence manifested in their appearance and conduct about the hour of two o’clock. Richard O’Donovan Esq of Tullig (outside Ahakista) was called to the chair and the acclamations of the assembled thousands. In a brief but energetic speech he explained the object of the meeting, the mode by which they proposed to attain that object and a necessity of yielding the most implicit obedience of the laws for the purpose of securing the attainment. His address was received with reiterated enthusiastic cheers.
Messrs. Welpley, Barry and Jagoe followed in eloquent and stirring speeches, the latter a respectable Protestant gentleman of distinguishing liberality.
The Reverend Messrs. Barry, Quinn, Walsh and Begley also spoke with great ability and effect to the object of the meeting and impressed upon the minds of their auditory the justice as well as the necessity of rending a prompt and cheerful submission to the laws.