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Snakes in Ireland.

From Ireland comes the news that snakes have appeared in tha.t country. It seems that about £five years ago a showman named Wilson come from America with a show of living ' wild animals. He landed his show at Queenstown, and gave exhibitions up through Ireland with more or less success. But one night, at the little town of Amraugh,.in Tipperary, Mr Wilson got vory drunk and attempted to clean out his own show. The constabulary force sought to interfere, and (whether as a means of seff-defence or in a spirit of Jvumour,J know not)Mr Wilson turned all the wild animals loose. Of course this created a terrible, uproar, and for a week the neighborhood was in a state of wild excitement. The, wild beasts were duly either captured or killed, .but for three years no-,trace of,the den of snakes let loose on that memorable night could be found. Meanwhile Mr Wilson went to prison for two years. „ •;,, DEATH OF PIGS. . , ' Two years ago the people in the neighborhood of Amraugh began to miss poultry and pigs. Several > vagabonds fell under suspicion, were apprehended^ and locked up. But the depredations continued, ,and finally the a farmer's lad^testined that upon returning late one night from a merrymaking, he had seen the 1 evil one in the guise of a serpent making away with a pig across the field. The village priest took the lad in hand and, questioned him closely, but nothing could " shake the fellow's testimony. About this , time other people detected similar fiends in the act of like depredations, and at once arose a hue and cry that the spot was a damned one, and had been given over to the devil for his diabolical practices. Special prayers were said, and the devil was publicly denounced, but the depredations continued, and presently .from Castleraine, a town twelve. miles distant, came word that his satanic majesty begun operations in that locality, his victims in this instanceand in this place being sheep, not poultry and pigs. CHURCH.AN© POLICE. In.this dismal emergency the Bishop was most properly appealed to, for the parish priests were at their wits' end and their parishoners wjßre well-nigh frantic through fear. The Bishop promised to investigate the affair, but instead of resorting to conventional ecclesiastical methods, that holy and sagacious' man enlisted the services of two shrewd detectives from-Dublin, the intellectual' centre of Erin. The Bishop; fancied'that the devil, was doing his unholy work by proxy—not in the. guise of dragons and serpents, but' in the persons of certain lawless characters too lazy to work and I just knavish enouph to steal. The detectives, laboring under this heresy, made their investigations quietly and without holy water or wafers, and in the course of a fortnight reported to' their saintly employer that the depredations at Castleraine and Amraugh had indeed been committed by serpents, the detectives themselves having seen and watched the same upon three distinct occasions seize, kill, and carry off their prey. The serpents were described as dark of color, and fully fifteen feet in length. They killed their victims by coiling about their bodies. TURNED UP AGAIN. But it is now reported, after a lapse o two tranquil years, that snakes have suddenly appeared at and around Ballingal, an agricultural region thirty miles north of Castleraine, |the country seat of the Earl of Densloe. These snakes are of a strange species, though none have been of enormous length, breadth, thickness, voracity, and ferocity, to make a noise when moving like the clatter of dice in a box; they kill by biting, and they have created great havoc among the flocks of Ms Grace the Duke as well as in the coops and sties of the peasantry. Simultaneously serpents similar to the Amraugh and Castleraine "varmints" have, appeared still further to the eastward, and caused such a panic that the country folks are afraid to venture out of doors after nightfall.

The theory is that -in five years the reptiles let loose by the wretched Wilson during his ribald drunken frenzy have multiplied so numeronsly that a militant union of Church and State will be necestary to, restore the island to the virgin condition in which the good St Patrick left it.


The story was discredited by the clergy and the laity until, as good luck would have it, a correspondent of the " Freeman's Journal " (at Dublin) recalled' the significant, not to say portentious, circumstance that the numerous and divers of snakes which had escaped from the Wilson show about, three years previous had never heen captured. Then of a sudden, the mystery was cleared up, and bands for.. the extermination- of the monsters, wore speedily organised among the vengeful peasantry. Three of the snakes were shortly thereafter seen, pursued, and killed in the bog east of Amraugh; the largestl.; of the snakes measured four feet; in the maw of each was found a pullet. About a month thereafter a fourth snake was killed near Castleraine ; this snake upon being; cut open was found to contain many little snakes, which immediately glided into the grass and-escaped before the astonished rustics could apprehend them. Subsequently, stimulated by the advertised reward;of ..half-a-crown and a special, dispensation for r ]every snake, alive^or dead, the country people caught eleven of the smaller snakes—none measuring more than seven inches in length. Then the snakes seemed to disappear, and.' no further depredations being noted, the excitement gradually died out.— ~" Chicago News."

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Bibliographic details

Snakes in Ireland., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2445, 19 June 1890

Word Count

Snakes in Ireland. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2445, 19 June 1890

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