July 23rd, 1912
FROM THE ARCHIVES:The building of Peamount sanatorium in Co Dublin a hundred years ago – sponsored by the Women’s National Health Association which was headed by Lady Aberdeen, the wife of the Lord Lieutenant – prompted local protests culminating in the attack described in this report. –
ITS ERECTION has not found favour among the inhabitants of the locality; on the contrary, it has provoked a feeling of hostility, which springs from the belief that it would be the means of importing disease into the district.
It has, therefore, been condemned as an undesirable institution by some public bodies and by many individuals, who argued that, in addition to its being a source of danger to health, it is wholly unnecessary, as there is already a sanatorium established at Crooksling, only a few miles away.
There is also a strong feeling that the locality should have been consulted before the site was adopted. Despite the opposition, which found expression through the columns of the Press and otherwise, the work of erection proceeded. And in like manner the feeling of hostility became more intense.
It must have reached an acute stage on Sunday, for a number of men – about fifty – came together, for the purpose of demolishing the pavilions. They were chiefly labourers, drawn, it is said, from Celbridge and Hazlehatch districts, and were acting under the direction of two men.
They had provided themselves with the implements necessary to accomplish their purpose, viz, pickaxes, hammers, ropes, etc. Arriving about four o’clock they at once attacked one of the pavilions erected in a portion of the grounds a little to the south of Peamount House.
The presence of Mr. Woods, the foreman in charge of Messrs. Humphrey’s [the contractors] staff exercised no deterring influence on them. His remonstrance met with no response. Without replying to his observations they set about the work which a common purpose had brought them to accomplish.
Seeing that remonstrance was of no avail, Mr. Woods went to his hut for a breech-loading rifle, and with the object of frightening them he fired a number of shots – about ten altogether – into the air.
Their operations ceased for a moment after the first two shots, but they were resumed almost immediately, and Mr. Woods then discharged seven or eight shots in quick succession. In the meantime, they had succeeded to some extent in carrying out their object.
By twisting ropes around the several uprights, and then pulling with all their strength, they wrested them from their position, and as they fell on the floor of the pavilion, the roof, deprived of its support, fell with them, and the side walls were, with the exception of a small portion, also demolished.
Before quitting the grounds some of the men approached Mr. Woods in the hut, but on being warned not to come that way they turned back, and one of them said – “We will return next Sunday and serve you the same way.”