On the Spencer visit of 1884

Jack Lane had written an article on Earl Spencer’s visit of 1884 which puts into question validity of the article written by the Irish Times (as added her last weekend). He has kindly allowed us to publish it on millstreet.ie.

The nationalist and Land League leader, William O’Brien M.P., used to refer to the Irish Times as the “Liarish Times.” He had good reason to do so as it was an inveterate opponent of national independence and the land struggle and consistently distorted and denigrated the aims and activities of both movements.

A classic example of this was its report of the visit of the Lord Lieutenant, Earl Spencer, to Millstreet on 7 September 1884. The Earl was an ancestor of Lady Diana. He unexpectedly visited the town and was accompanied by mounted and armed Hussars. The town had developed a reputation as a hotbed in the land war but this was only because the activities of the Land League had been highlighted by the local Parish Priest who uniquely among his peers was an inveterate opponent and used the media and the Unionist media in particular to promote his opposition over a number of years. He was articulate and well connected and also participated in various Government commissions to further his views. Millstreet was not much different from elsewhere but his media outpourings made it appear so and it gained a reputation for what was called lawlessness and the Irish Times report, naturally enough, lays this on with a trowel which is only to be expected from that quarter. Spencer had a reputation as a committed enforcer of coercion and executions were a regular feature of his regime. He visited Millstreet and other areas in the South to show ‘who was boss.’

But the extraordinary aspect of the Irish Times report is the downright distortion of the facts of the visit…

The full article is well worth a read and can be read and is available to read as a comment to the article on Spencer’s visit.

It is not unexpected that newspapers reports would be biased. People in charge of newspapers like everyone else have political views and some have used their titles to further their own ideals.

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