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13 August 1998 Edition

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Spectacular monuments unveiled

Hundreds of people turned out for the unveiling ceremony of two spectacular terrazzo monuments to commemorate those who died in the struggle for Irish freedom.

The first memorial, a re-dedication of the Bobby Sands memorial in Twinbrook, also included the names of those other IRA Volunteers from the area who died in the struggle.

After a wreath-laying ceremony Gerry Adams addressed the crowd. He spoke of the links between those fighting for Irish freedom today and the United Irishmen of 200 years ago.

After the Twinbrook unveiling the crowd marched to the site of the second monument at Poleglass which was dedicated to the United Irish movement, but particularly remembering the Teeling family who lived in the area and who lost their lands and business because of their involvement with the United Irishmen.

Joe Cahill unveiled the second monument.

Special thanks must go to the Teeling Group whose efforts, hard work and commitment has seen this project of the two monuments through to its successful conclusion.


The Teeling family


Under Colin Mountain, to the south of the road leading from Belfast, the low-lying meadow that was once the Bleaching Green of Luke Teeling, linen merchant of Lisburn, is known as Teeling's Green.

Further up the mountain is Brian's Well where King Brian of the Cattle Countings passed on his journey north to Craobh Tulcha, now Crew Hill near Glenavy, and stopped to drink of its water.

The old highway, along which Brian Boru passed to Muckamore, Glenavy and Antrim, may still be traced.

Luke Teeling was a Catholic. His sons Charles and Bartholomew were United Irishmen. As a Catholic the Penal Laws meant the elder Teeling couldn't vote. The notorious Lord Castlereagh, however, pledged himself to political reform in the Catholic interest if returned to Parliament and won the support of the Teelings.

On being elected Castlereagh pretended the warmest friendship for the family. But one morning in 1796 Luke, while riding through Lisburn with his son Charles, was joined by Castlereagh who, with a show of courtesy, rode with them. When they reached the house of his relative, the Marquis of Hertford, Castlereagh manoeuvred his horse and trapped Charles, who was taken prisoner.

``I regret,'' said Castlereagh, ``that your son cannot accompany you further. He is under arrest.''

Charles was charged with high treason and brought to Kilmainham Gaol where he was held for several years. In his ``Narrative'', written years later, Teeling says, ``the interior of our prison was of the most gloomy description and calculated as far as the extended structure would admit to gratify the feelings of the despotic mind in the solitary confinement of the prisoner. Pen, ink and paper were prohibited and all intercourse with our friends was denied.''

Bartholomew was educated in Dublin by the Rev W Dubordieu, a French Protestant, and joined the United Irishmen before he was twenty. In 1796 he went to France to assist Wolfe Tone in securing a French invasion of Ireland. He held rank as Etat-Major in the French Army under Hoche and landed at Killala with General Humbert and fought at Ballinamuck and Castlebar. When the French surrendered he was given into the power of the English. Taken to prison in Dublin he was found guilty of ``high treason'', sentenced to death and hanged on 24 September 1798. He was 24.

A record of the time states, ``scarcely had his head been severed from his body when the latter was thrown into `The Croppy's Hole', a place prepared for the purpose of burying all the Irishmen who were executed''.

On his release Charles Teeling established a bleach green at The Naul, County Meath where he employed Jemmy Hope of Templepatrick. During Hope's stay at The Naul a foreman of Teeling's, McCarroll, gave information to the Yeomen, declaring him to be a Unitedman. Hope fled to Dublin where, with the assistance of Teeling, he set up a haberdasher's in The Coombe.

After `98, Luke Teeling opened a linen shop in Mill Street, Belfast two doors from Marquis Street.

Next door lived a Mrs Murdoch, a leader among the women of the Orange Party. Brown Square and district were ultra-loyal while Millfield and Mill Street were National.

At his linen shop Mr Teeling lived quietly, but in disturbances, often raised by the Orange mobs, his house and shop were sacked, and most of his goods and household effects stolen. Once, after a raid, Teeling's window curtains were seen on the windows next door, and his cuckoo clock was heard in the house. Later Mrs Murdoch saw Teeling passing as the clock chimed. She insultingly shouted after him ``Thank you, Croppy.''

The woman's husband, George, was a hearth-tax collector. Edward John Newell, the notorious informer, lived with them. He was the son of Scottish parents born in Downpatrick in 1771. In the secret list of the blood-money paid by the English Government Newell is named as receiving thousands of pounds for making false accusations which led to the deaths of many innocent people.

Newell also informed on Charles Teeling.

Newell was shot at the ``Holestone'' in the neighbourhood of Doagh, and his grave, it is said, can still be pointed out near Templepatrick.

 

 

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