Captain John Doorly of Lullymore

The rebel commander Doorly posed quite a problem for historian. Lord Walter Fitzgerald and Sir Richard Musgrave said Commander Doorly was captured, lodged in Longford Jail and hanged, some three years after the rebellion. Mac Suibhne corrected them and pointed out he was hanged probably in Mullingar towards the end of 1798 or at the beginning of 1799. Pakenham judiciously made no mention of him while Marianne Elliott related how Michael Doorly remained at large from 1798 to 1803 when he went to Dublin to join Robert Emmet.

The confusion stems from the fact that many accounts simply mention a Captain Doorly or even just Doorly. In his book on Rathangan, Mac Suibhne pointed out there were two Doorly families in Lullymore in 1798. The family that we are interested in was that of Thady Doorly who had at least three sons John, Michael and Thaddeus or young Thady. Inscribed on the family gravestone in Rathangan are their ages and years the three senior Doorlys died - John Doorly died in 1798 aged 27; Michael in 1808 aged 36; and Thaddeus (the father) in 1821 aged 126 years. It was the slightly older (one year), John Doorly who commanded in Rathangan and he was captured at Clonard and hung in Mullingar. Since the stone was erected by his father before he died, we can assume that he died in late1798. Michael who was nicknamed The Colonel, did turn out in 1803 but must not be confused as the leader of the rebel garrison of Rathangan during the rebellion. The name Doorly however was well known, and even when talks of surrender was in the air in July, Lord Castlereagh refused such on any terms, to Doorly the Murderer of Mr. Spencer for whose Apprehension a Reward of 100 Pounds will be given.

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