Like lots of Irish immigrants in America, James Byrne used to send home half his wages. In his case the money was meant for his brother Patrick to buy a farm for the family. But when Byrne went back home to Coolgrange in Kilkenny he found that Patrick had squandered the lot.

There was a terrible row which came to a head on the night of November 3rd, 1908, when Byrne picked up a shotgun and shot his brother dead.

A month later he was charged at Carrick-on-Shannon Assizes with manslaughter on the grounds of provocation. He was sentenced to 12 years.