Tuam Herald 13th November, 1869 p.1
The Land Question (abridged)
Gort, Sunday Night
This patriotic little town may well take credit to itself for the support which it has this day given to the cause of tenant right in this country. It afforded not only to the people on this side of the extensive county of Galway, but to thousands in the northern districts of the county Clare, an opportunity of expressing their opinions on the present unsatisfactory state of the land laws in Ireland, and of pointing out the mode in which the tenant farmers of the country desire that they should be altered. Some influential gentlemen residing in the town and neighbourhood were anxious that the people should, in the form of resolutions, express their grievances with a view to their redress by a Ministry and by a Parliament which have already manifested an anxious wish to remove those evils which have been a source of misery and discontent to the country.
The notice by which the meeting was called was given only a few days back, and yet the meeting of today was a great success, keeping in view the fact that it was not a county meeting, but was composed mostly of people within a circuit of ten miles of the town. The Athenry and Ennis Junction Railway, however, ran special trains, and brought large numbers of people from longer distances. The train which left Ennis at eleven o’clock arrived in Gort at twelve o’clock bringing people from Ennis, Crusheen and Tubber, and the train from Athenry, which arrived shortly after, carried large number of tenant farmers from that station, from Oranmore, Crughwell (sic.) and Ardrahan. The traffic arrangements were under the direction of Mr. Thomas O’Malley, the manager, and were admirably carried out by Mr William Lawlor, the efficient station master of Gort.
Many of the farmers came in on horseback heading bodies of 400 or 500 people. Ardrahan furnished a contingent of about 400, and the united parishes of Ballymena and Crughwell sent by rail about 300 persons, who were accompanied by the Rev. Francis Arthur, P.P. and the Rev. M O’Flanagan, C.C. This body on entering the unfurled their banner, which had inscribed on it the mottoes, “Fixity of Tenure” and “Tenant Right,” and the Rev. M. Nagle, P.P., Kilbeaconty, accompanied a body of his parishioners, numbering, perhaps, five hundred. The Rev. John Barry, P.P., Behagh, and the Rev. Michael Killeen, C.C., accompanied about 800 from their parish, with banners bearing the words, “Fixity of Tenure” and “Tenant Right.” Numbers also came from Corofin, Ballyvaughan, Kilkeely, New Quay, Feakle, Derrybrian, Loughrea, and Kinvara.
A very large body of tenantry came on horseback from Kinvara, accompanied by their landlord, Isaac B. Daly, and Mrs Daly, who drove in their carriage, and who were loudly cheered. By one o’clock there could not have been less than from 10,000 to 12,000 people in the town, all evidently interested in the cause which brought them together. Previous to the commencement of the proceedings a procession was formed, headed by a number of young girls, some of whom were entirely dressed in green, and these were followed by well-dressed young men carrying green banners, having inscribed on them the words, “God save Ireland,” “fixity of tenure,” “tenant right,” and “Cead mille failthe,” (sic.) and the harp in gold was on several of them. There was scarcely a person in the whole procession, which walked round the market-square, accompanied by music, who was not in some way ornamented with green.
They cheered on passing the houses which by some patriotic device attracted attention. An excellent cast of the face of O’Connell was placed in one of the windows of Forrest’s Hotel, and beneath was a saying of the Liberator’s, “He who commits a crime gives strength to the enemy.” At Glynn’s Hotel, there was a sign on a green ground, and the words “Prosperity to Ireland.” These received respectful attention on the part of the people who, as the hour approached for the commencement of the meeting, assembled in front and around the platform which was erected in the middle of the square, and was so spacious as to accommodate about one hundred and fifty persons. On the motion of Mr. L. S. Mangan, Gort, seconded by Mr. Thomas Boland, the chair was taken amidst loud applause by the Very Rev. T. Shannon, P.P., V.G.