A selection of 130 year old historic photographs of the ten men accused of the Maamtrasna Murders, including two pictures of Myles Joyce, have been discovered and are published now for the first time.
A former (British) army officer, Capt. J.J. Dunne collected the photographs: he was injured in the Zulu Wars in Africa (prior to the Maamtrasna murders) and continued his subsequent career as an prison warden. He died in 1910. The National Library of Ireland received the album from his grandson (named as Lieutenant Col. Armstrong) and their provenance is not in doubt. The photographs are now being put into the public domain here courtesy of the National Library: reproduction rights rest with the Library.
Native Irish speaker Myles Joyce was unjustly executed for his alleged part in the ‘Maamtrasna murders’ in 1882 following a court case in English. The tragic Maamtrasna case in general, was described by the eminent historian Robert Kee - who died on Friday last - as “one of the most blatant miscarriages of justice in British legal history”.
|One of the pictures of Myles Joyce|
Copies of the newly discovered photographs of Myles Joyce were presented by An Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin to the Mayor of Galway City, Councillor Terry O’Flaherty and the Galway County Mayor, Councillor Thomas Welby at Galway City Museum on Tuesday, 15 January 2013.
The historic photographs were “in safe hands but hidden from public view” according to an Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin who’s office jointly organised the Myles Joyce/Maamtrasna commemoration last month in collaboration with Galway City Museum and Conradh na Gaeilge. “They add poignancy and highlight the personal tragedies of the Maamtrasna case” he said. A copy of the prison roll-book page which includes personal information on all of the Maamtrasna men has also emerged.
The existence of the historic photographs was brought to the attention of the organisers of the commemorative event in Galway by Mr Padraig Canny, a Joyce Country resident with an interest in local history who attend the commemorative event in Galway.
The event on Saturday, 15th December, attended by President Michael D. Higgins, recalled the unjust execution of Myles Joyce 130 years ago for his alleged part in the ‘Maamtrasna murders’ and aimed to highlight the issue of language rights in the courts.