One of the local hate figures in Nenagh was Patrick Clarke, 55, described as a gentleman landowner. In 1845 he asked a tenant, a Mrs. Hayes, to vacate her farmhouse, while at the same time offering help to re-house her. But in the rebellious atmosphere in the region, his fate was sealed the moment he asked her to quit.
A conspiracy was formed, headed by Patrick Rice and Patrick Hayes, whose mother was the tenant in question. During the afternoon of October 31st, 1845, Mr. Clarke was out walking in Nenagh when he was shot in the head by a man who fired at point-blank range. The landowner died instantly.
No one ever revealed the name of the gunman, but Rice and Hayes were both found guilty of conspiracy to murder, and joined William Fogarty (see above) on the scaffold outside Nenagh Prison on Friday, June 19th, 1846. Curiously, although three men were about to be hanged, no charge of murder had been brought against any of them.
It was a blisteringly hot day, and describing the atmosphere in Nenagh in the hours leading up to the triple execution, the Tipperary Vindicator reported: As 12 oclock approached a deathlike stillness pervaded the entire town. Few stirred abroad except those who were present in front of the scaffold.
At 1 oclock a body of the 72nd Highlanders was drawn up in front of the prison. The streets were filled with the loud lamentations of some female relatives of the prisoner Hayes, who were present as three coffins passed up towards the gaol some minutes before the unfortunate men made their appearance in front of the scaffold.
It took only a few seconds, the report said, to launch them into eternity. It concluded: Their struggles were very brief, nor did they seem to suffer much. The assembled multitude, for the greater part, then withdrew, while the bodies remained suspended, a revolting spectacle in a Christian land.