MARGARET and Tom Egan: Tom was murdered on Sunday, October 24, 1920, in reprisal for the killing of Frank Shawe-Taylor.

Bloody deeds at Cashla in 1920

By Mairead O’Brien
TWO men were brutally murdered in Cashla, Athenry in 1920. Set against a backdrop of land agitation and Black and Tan atrocities, the cold-blooded shootings of Frank Shawe-Taylor and my husband’s great-grandfather Tom Egan sent shockwaves throughout the county. Land was the motive for Frank’s murder — he had it, and others wanted it, but it is not clear why Tom was killed. It was accepted locally that his death was a reprisal for the earlier murder of Shawe-Taylor, although it was known that he was not involved in it.
Frank was the youngest of the three children of Walter Shawe-Taylor and Elizabeth Persse. He was born in 1869 at Castle Taylor in Ardrahan where his ancestors had lived since the 1660s. He was a successful farmer, an auctioneer, a valuer and a land agent. In 1892, he acquired grazing lands in Athenry — 588 acres in Castlelambert and over 611 acres in Moor. Local farmers resented this as they had hoped to buy and farm the land themselves.
Up to the year 1900, it was difficult for a small farmer to increase the size of his holding. In 1901 an intensive campaign of land agitation was launched in East Galway by the United Irish League. Frank, like many other graziers, was subjected to boycotts, damage to property, assaults on employees, death threats and was under police protection.
Read the full feature in this week's edition of The Tuam Herald