Heroic Dominican Outlaws: a Time to Remember
From Esker: as ‘culled’ (by Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.) from the Athenry Holy Rosary Confraternity Chronicles of late 1600’s and early 1700’s:
Latest News: Esker, September 1716:
This month, we Dominicans, hiding in the Esker area, and sheltered by the people, have almost completed the building of our new home ,in ‘Esker na Grey’, up from the bog where we were hiding for eight years, between the two nearby lakes. We’ve just moved in to it. It’s an improvement on the house over in the woods that burnt down accidentally more a year ago. What’s built now isn’t great, but it’s all we can manage, as we’re still hiding from the authorities, and we are still ‘outlaws’.
Even though the house is not quite finished, we have just received four young men who have asked to join us. One is Denis Daly from Cloanbrosk, another Charlie French of Rahassan, a third Henry Geoghegan, and finally Dominic Burke of Rahernin. The prior is Fr. Dominic Daly of Killimor, who sneaked back into Ireland from Italy a couple of years ago.
We all live in fear of arrest. The young men who are starting their Novitiate year with us are well aware of the dangers to their lives, in what they are undertaking for Christ. They can be captured, imprisoned, sent to the West Indies, or even sold off to the Barbary pirates as slaves. As far as anyone else knows, they are here as ‘farm-labourers’ – in case the authorities should find out! After their year of Novitiate with us here in Esker is finished, we will have to find ways of smuggling them out of Ireland, and get them to France or Spain to do their studies. Please keep Denis, Charlie, Henry and Dominic, and all of us, in your prayers. The people of Esker and beyond are watching out for us, and caring for us, all the time. God bless them.
Esker, September 1716.