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The escape of J.B. Dillon – via Kinvara – 1848

John Blake Dillon
John Blake Dillon

The Armagh Guardian 11th December, 1848  CMSIED 9311447 (abridged)

A correspondent sends the following particulars relative to the escape of Mr. J. B. Dillon from the western shores of Clare. –

“It will be in the recollection of your readers, that when six of the most prominent leaders in the late insurrection held a ‘council of war’ in the house of a farmer on the borders of Kilkenny one of the most distinguished of the party differed from the rest as to the means to be had recourse to for the achievement of Ireland’s independence. The Council, I am told, broke up without any settled plan for the guidance of the leaders and each of the party went in a different direction, distracted and almost broken-hearted.
By accident, it is stated, four of them met again at Ballingarry on the late memorable occasion, and among the number was Mr. J. B. Dillon. This young gentleman was much attached to Smith O’Brien, and was resolved to follow his fortunes, come weal or woe. He kept with him as long as he saw the least chance of success, but after the affair at Farrinrory he despaired, and resolved on an escape to some other land. He parted in sadness from his companions. The words uttered were few, but looks told the struggle in each man’s bosom.

Mr. Dillon arrayed himself in the usual costume of the clerical order, and with cloak and breviary set out for the shores of Clare.  He travelled through the Country, never evading police stations, but, on the contrary, lodging near the police barracks.  He pushed on his way through all obstacles – detectives and police – until he arrived at the mineral waters of Lisdoonvarna, where he remained for some days, mixing with the visitors, joining in their recreations,and drinking the waters occasionally ‘for the good of his health’. He passed the policemen daily – conversed with them, and preached to some in an edifying manner.  He lived in this manner for some days, until he was scented out by a keen detective, when he got a hint from some friend, took it, and broke fresh ground.

He next put up at Ballyvaughan whence he shifted himself on to Kinvara. Here he spent some days, and thence proceeded to the island of Aran, where a friendly vessel awaited, and bore him safely away from his enemies to the
shores of America.”