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THE COLLEEN BAWN- Ellen Hanley

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PICTURE CREDIT SECRET-IRELAND.COM

In 1819 a young girl of fifteen Ellen Hanley ( Scanlon ) was murdered by her husbands servant Stephen Sullivan and it was her husband who ordered Sullivan to carry out the murder.

They lived in County Limerick, Ireland and had been married for about six weeks when John Scanlon ordered Sullivan to take her on a boat on the River Shannon and do away with her.

His mother it seems had found him a girl of better class and the promise of  a large dowry,

at first Sullivan lost his nerve and went back to Scanlon who plied him with whiskey and it gave him dutch courage enabling him to carry out the murder.

He stripped her of her clothing and removed her wedding ring then threw her into the River Shannon.

Some weeks passed and then her body washed ashore at Moneypoint, Kilrush on the other side of the river in County Clare, Ireland.

Scanlon was arrested and thought his wealth would save him and the fact that Ellen was a commoner .

Sullivan went on the run but was eventually caught, both men were found guilty and both hanged for her murder.

 

The Colleen Bawn is an anglicized spelling of Cailin Ban which means pure/innocent girl.

 

That is the name that Ellen Hanley is now known.

 

 

 

 

 

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Young Ellen Hanley caught John Scanlon’s eye
He was determined that she’d be his wife
Their marriage was cursed and Ellen would die
On the River Shannon she lost her life.

She was a beauty but of lower class
He belonged to a wealthy family
A few weeks later grew tired of the lass
She was found in Shannon’s estuary.

His servant killed Ellen a girl so young
And from a boat threw her over the side
Both men found guilty and from gallows hung
Her dead body washed ashore with the tide.

In Clare there stands a memorial stone
The Colleen Bawn she is now better known.


Written on 28 January 2019

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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Date: 3/15/2019 10:52:00 AM
Such a well-written, historical Sonnet you composed as a tribute to this poor young girl, Tom. Congratulations on your win. Sandra
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 3/15/2019 11:29:00 AM
Thank you Sandra, even though it happened 200 years ago its quite a well known story in Ireland. Tom.
Date: 3/13/2019 1:50:00 PM
Tom, you keep coming through with excellent historical poetry! That poor girl never had a chance. She deserves a fitting tribute. Congratulations on your win on Mile 23 of my 2019 Poetry Marathon Contest! Only 4 contests to go before the final! ~Mark
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 3/13/2019 3:06:00 PM
Thank you very much Mark, it was a gruesome tale and thankfully Scanlon despite his wealth did not escape justice or the hangman. Thanks also for my placement. Tom.
Date: 3/13/2019 1:23:00 PM
Bravo, Tom. A wonderful tribute. Congrats on your well deserved win.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 3/13/2019 3:00:00 PM
Thank you very much Line, when I was in Ireland and heard the story that happened two hundred years ago, I couldn't get it out of my mind, There has been a play and even a film but no poem dedicated to Ellen so felt I had to compose one. Tom.
Date: 2/11/2019 2:47:00 PM
Just reading your reply to my comment just now. isn't it sad that what used to be so rare is now almost common place??
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 2/11/2019 2:52:00 PM
I agree Andrea, in some cultures' honour killings' are rife and we don't get to hear half of what goes on. Tom.
Date: 2/3/2019 4:24:00 PM
Wow Tom, I loved reading about her background story. How sad that she was so young and treated so ghastly. You have immortalized her with your wonderful tribute. Bravo! xxoo : )
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 2/3/2019 5:07:00 PM
Thanks Connie, I was at her memorial only two weeks ago and thought I'd write a verse in her memory, it is such a tragic story. Tom
Date: 1/31/2019 8:07:00 PM
G'day Tom … they were the days when your wealth proved your innocence, but not this time. Well written Tom - Lindsay
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 2/1/2019 2:53:00 AM
Thanks Lindsay, even a top lawyer couldn't save them, justice was served. Tom.
Date: 1/31/2019 7:58:00 PM
What a story! You told it very well! :)
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 2/1/2019 2:33:00 AM
Thanks P.S. Tom.
Date: 1/31/2019 3:49:00 PM
Hi Tom, This is such a sad and tragic tale. My heart goes out to a young that barely had a chance to live.Those two men got what that deserved. I'm glad that justice prevailed. Excellent job- Alexis
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/31/2019 3:55:00 PM
Thank you Alexis, it was tragic, Scanlon thought his family's influence would save him from the hangman, thankfully for Ellen it didn't. Tom.
Date: 1/30/2019 7:26:00 AM
Hi Tom, I love your creativity in putting forward this piece, based on a true event. This is a most intersting and sad story. A wonderful read Tom. A fave. have a wonderful wednesday. Your friend always....Mike.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/30/2019 2:00:00 PM
Thank you Mike, glad you enjoyed it . It was a tragic story indeed. Tom.
Date: 1/30/2019 5:56:00 AM
If you weren't, you should have been a history teacher, Tom. Very interesting story with a very well written poem to go with it. Nicely done! -Charlie
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/30/2019 6:04:00 AM
Thanks Charlie, its quite a famous story in Ireland even though it happened two hundred years ago, only last friday I was at the memorial before catching the ferry over to County Limerick where she came from and it was out on the river Shannon where I crossed that she was murdered. Tom
Date: 1/29/2019 11:15:00 PM
This is a very tragic story that you captured well in sonnet form, Tom.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/30/2019 2:07:00 AM
Thank you very much Carol, early even today you hear of cases like this money and greed playing a part. Tom..
Date: 1/29/2019 8:57:00 PM
I love when one brings history to life in any form, this is an amazing poem and such a well written sonnet!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/30/2019 2:03:00 AM
Thank you very much Arthur, I do love to do historical verses. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 3:07:00 PM
I find these stories interesting and see lots of true crime enactments on tv. I never heard of this one. you showed it very well through sonnet form.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 3:17:00 PM
Thank you Andrea, it was a horrific crime and it shocked all classes in Ireland, two hundred years ago it happened, autumn of 1819. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 2:49:00 PM
What an interesting story is behind your lovely sonnet, Tom. What happened to Colleen is a tragedy, but at least the perpetrators were caught and punished. Thanks also for sharing the picture; it is nice that she is remembered. Captivating, Tom! Love, Carolyn
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 2:53:00 PM
Thank you very much Carolyn, only last Friday I was at that memorial, I wanted to use a picture I took but it was too dark. It certainly was a horrific murder but justice was served. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 12:39:00 PM
What a sad and tragic end for such a young lass, Tom! Your poem comprises the eventful main points that led to her death and to that of her killer/s. Regards // paul
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 2:09:00 PM
Thank you Paul, it happened 200 years ago but it is still talked about. Funny though how recent murders are soon forgotten, it doesn't seem to shock us anymore. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 10:39:00 AM
Aw what a story Tom! At least justice was served, although I feel a little sorry for the servant - how much choice did he have I wonder?
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 12:24:00 PM
Thanks Nina, they had both served in the army, Scanlon had been an officer and Sullivan served under him so I suppose he still had that influence over him. When they were talking Scanlon to the gallows the horses transporting him stopped and wouldn't move and he was forced to walk to his execution, strange eh. Tom
Date: 1/29/2019 10:12:00 AM
tom,you did tremendous justice to this tale with this eloquent write... k am amazed!....huggs
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 12:19:00 PM
Thank you very much Nette. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 8:33:00 AM
Vintage T.C. -- another wonderful, instructive morsel of history, … kind of a twisted Rome and Juliet theme in a way. Nicely done! ~ Gershon
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 12:21:00 PM
Thank you Gershon, it certainly had a tragic ending. Sadly today that class thing goes on. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 4:55:00 AM
I'm simply crazy for these old stories. You did well, Tom. Great
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 5:05:00 AM
Thank you Victor, I was there recently and couldn't get it out of my head. Felt I had to write something. Tom.
Date: 1/29/2019 4:02:00 AM
Love how you have adapted this wonderful true story, Tom, into poetry..love it..
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 4:39:00 AM
Thank you Harry, I was there recently and after researching the story found there was no poems written about that horrific crime, books and even a film has been made. Tom.
Date: 1/28/2019 7:24:00 PM
Very well written TOM!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 4:39:00 AM
Thank you Janet. Tom.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 4:34:00 AM
Thank you Timothy. Tom.
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Janet Bingham
Date: 1/28/2019 11:52:00 PM
I enjoyed reading your poem. The content was true and written well. What a tribute to the story of the woman and also what a tribute to you who would write about something so sad and shocking. Janet Marie Bingham
Date: 1/28/2019 5:44:00 PM
a touching tribute to the colleen bawn, tom! what a tragic tale!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/29/2019 4:35:00 AM
Thank you very much Ilene, yes it shocked Ireland at the time due to the horrific injuries' she sustained, thankfully justice was served. Tom.
Date: 1/28/2019 1:43:00 PM
You gave her a voice with this lovely poem, Tom. A tragic story..the memorial a reminder for everyone. Thanks for the note about the background.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/28/2019 3:28:00 PM
Thank you Vijay, it was a tragic story that's even talked about today, I passed by her memorial last Friday when I was in Ireland. Tom.
Date: 1/28/2019 1:26:00 PM
Tom, wow, and how interesting and horrible to think things like this happen but they do, thank you for sharing ~
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/28/2019 3:26:00 PM
Thank you D.H. Sadly even today some cultures have a class system forgetting that we are all equal. Tom.
Date: 1/28/2019 1:05:00 PM
The beauty of human traits and values are always highly esteemed and immortalised, even though underrated by ugly souls and evil hearts.. A well crafted and wonderful Sonnet! A profound message worthy to be read and appreciated! Thank you so much, Tom for sharing.. my deepest regards and Blessings.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/28/2019 3:15:00 PM
Thank you very much Besma, sadly even today there is much evil in our world. I'm happy that you liked it despite that it was so tragic. Regards. Tom.
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