A condemned man standing on the scaffold outside Carrick-on-Shannon Prison shouted to the crowd who had come to see him hang: “Let my body hang for two hours instead of the usual one, and put my head on a stake, to act as a deterrent to others who misunderstand the meaning of religion.”

Moments later, Peter Creegan, an Irish republican who had spent three months in the death cell, plunged through the gallows trap-door.

He was hanged after loyalists had come under concerted attack from republicans in County Leitrim in the late summer and autumn of 1838. The attackers conducted sustained assaults on property and murdered three loyalists in three months at Mohill. In one attack a loyalist named Shanly was bludgeoned to death with an axe. Six republicans, among them Creegan, were arrested and charged with the murder.

There was insufficient evidence to condemn three of them, and Creegan declared that the other two men, against whom there was a strong presumption of guilt, were quite innocent. He was kept in the death cell while police tried unsuccessfully to prove him wrong. Finally on Wednesday, June 12th, 1839, Creegan alone was hanged, clearly repenting the folly of religious strife.