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The door was unlocked and Carroll entered the cabin where he quickly snapped handcuffs on Tom Donnelly. Tom woke and Carroll told him to dress as he was now under arrest. Johannah awoke to the commotion and after entering the kitchen, went to fetch a visiting cousin from Ireland, Bridgette, to get the kitchen stove lit as it was very cold. Johannah went to help her son get dressed.

The constable then went and roused James Sr. who was sleeping near young Johnny O'Connor. Upon hearing the constable threatening more charges, he threw back the bedclothes and effectively hid young Johnny.

As James was hunting for his longcoat, Johnny, who had been using it as a makeshift pillow, handed it to him saying "Here it is." Johnny even claimed to look Constable Carroll right in the eyes.

The constable was drunk, the room was dark and to Johnny's benefit, Constable Carroll missed seeing him altogether.

Carroll kept inquiring where Jack (John) Donnelly was. James kept telling him he was out.

James went to the kitchen and asked Carroll to read the charges. It was then that Carroll let out a yell and through the back door came twenty to twenty-five men swinging clubs and looking for blood.

James was hit first, his head was split open and he collapsed by the stove.

Bridgette fled upstairs and pulled the door closed behind her.

Johnny O'Connor quickly moved out of the bed and hid underneath it seeking refuge from the vigilantes behind a dirty clothes hamper.

Although handcuffed, Tom managed to break free. He sprinted to the front door breaking the top hinges off in his effort to escape. He made it out about ten feet before some of the vigilantes waiting outside repeatedly stabbed him in the back with a pitchfork then clubbed him over the head with a shovel. His body was tossed back into the house just at the front door. Johnny O'Connor saw somebody removing the handcuffs from Tom at this point.

Johannah was ruthlessly beaten to the floor just beside the door to the kitchen from the living room. She was not beheaded nor violated with a poker as some have said.

The Donnelly's small dog was clubbed and beheaded and the head kicked near the stove.

Johnny O'Connor heard someone ask "Where's the girl?" A group of men went upstairs and in a very short time came down. Bridgette, the visiting cousin was dead. Some reports claim she was gang raped or that after she was killed, she was dragged downstairs. These, apparently are not true.


The New Donnelly Headstone

The men started to splash coal oil throughout the home. Tom Donnelly at this point apparently moaned and moved a bit. His scalp was soon laid open with an axe like move of a shovel. Again, he was not beheaded or castrated as some believe although it is possible that his facial bones were crushed by the men.

Their work apparently done, the fire was set on beds soaked with coal oil. Under one of the burning beds, little Johnny O'Connor still hid and watched the men leave through the back door.

He hid as long as he could then got out from under the bed and vainly tried to staunch the flames. He said later that he believed that Tom and Johannah were still breathing at this time. When his fire-fighting efforts proved futile, he knew he had to run outside. The front door, he realized, would probably lead to a clubbing then death so he tried the kitchen door. Johannah's body blocked the door and in trying to get past her, he stepped on her and she groaned.

Adrenaline pumping, he managed to force the door and leaving it ajar, he thought about running to nearby John Whalen's house. Unfortunately, the vigilantes were in sight of the home discussing their plan to go into the hamlet of Whalen and murder William Donnelly.

He instead ran to Ann and Pat Whalen's home nearby and told them of the carnage. The couple gave Johnny some shoes and clothes to wear as he was still in his night clothes and rushed over to their son John's home. There was John, outside watching the fire and standing beside him was one of the Feeheley brothers.

The four adults went to the homestead which by now was a blazing inferno. Peering as best he could in through the front door hanging by its one good hinge, they could see one body just inside the door. Pat Whelan was almost hit with glass and other shrapnel as he knelt to peer into James' bedroom just in time for the senior Donnelly's muzzle-loading shotgun to explode.

They went to the back door left ajar by Johnny and saw all the other bodies (save Bridgette's) that were in various areas of the kitchen.

The vigilantes moved down the road towards Whalen and William's rented barn. The idea was to burn the barn and beat up Will's stallion. When he came out to investigate, they would club him to death.

They got to the barn and started whipping the poor animal (who, incidentally, survived,) and set the barn on fire. Nobody came from the house.

The group then moved up to the house and rapped on the door calling out "Will, open up! there's a fire!" John Connelly was staying in the home to take his kin to the court. He, instead of William opened the door and received a rifle blast that went through his lower abdomen and lodged in the kitchen wall. He fell back telling Will he'd been shot. John collapsed in Norah's (William's wife) arms and expired.

Norah's brother was one of the vigilantes. He hated William Donnelly for marrying his sister. Will, after John had been shot heard Norah's brother, Jack Kennedy saying "Brother-in-law rests easy now!"

With their full night's work done, the vigilantes made for home.

In the morning, Johnny O'Connor and William Donnelley went to London to tell the magistrates the tale.

Constable Carroll and five other men were brought to justice for the murders. The first jury was "hung" and could not come to a clear decision. The second, eleven months after the massacre, found James Carroll not guilty. He and the other five men were released. For a solid fortnight, there was celebrations in Lucan.