Violent unrest had been sweeping through Ireland for several years before open rebellion eventually broke out in 1848. It affected agricultural, industrial and political life, and it particularly affected any place where the British were in evidence.
Two years earlier, for instance, the Nenagh Guardian had reported from County Tipperary: A spirit of mutiny and insubordination has been latterly exhibiting itself among the Imperial State quarries at Killaloe the quarrymen have refused to work, and many who attempt to do so are visited with deadly vengeance.
One man, who has a large family and could not afford even if inclined to join in the conspiracy, continued to work as usual. He was attacked and beaten; his wife was also injured. Another workman at the quarries, who continued to work bravely, defended himself with a scythe, escaped, and made his way to the police station
Amid all this mayhem William Fogarty, 25, who had just arrived in Nenagh and got a job at the quarry, shot at the foreman, Michael McDonnell. The bullet missed, but Fogarty was arrested on the capital charge of shooting with intent to murder. He was hanged on Friday, June 19th, 1846, outside Nenagh Prison with two other men, whose story is told next.