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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 21 October, 2014

Can you believe these Clare sisters were photographed 127 years ago?

The O’Halloran girls fought off an attempted eviction from their home in Bodyke.

INCREDIBLE THOUGH IT might seem, this photograph tweeted out by the National Library of Ireland today was taken in 1887.

It shows the O’Halloran sisters from Bodyke, Co Clare, who came out fighting when their homestead was threatened with eviction.

The whole dramatic episode was captured in a newspaper report from 15 June 1887, as related by a brother of the girls, Frank O’Halloran, and has been published online by ClareLibrary.ie.

The NLI found this crystal-clear photo of the girls in the Lawrence Collection. The detail in the photograph is astonishing – from the freckles and keen eyes of the girl wearing a small posy of flowers at her collar to the direct and challenging stare of her sister standing beside her in a delicate lace blouse.

The sisters were named Annie, Sarah and Honoria and – as their brother Frank tells it – they were to the fore of the defence of the family home.

Frank tells how the sisters threw cans of scalding water to ward off bailiffs who tried to attack the corner of the house with picks and axes. Frank and his brother also fought off the would-be evictors. His sister Honoria emerges as a particularly courageous figure.

She managed to grab the “sword-bayonet” of one of the policemen who was trying to come through a window. Frank helped her to fight off that policeman, and says:

My sister was then in full possession of a rifle, bayonet and all, and sure she did use it. She rushed to the window and scattered the police outside right and left, and cleared the ladder outside, which was crowded.

Read what happened next to the family on ClareLibrary.ie. Thanks to the National Library of Ireland for sharing this brilliant photograph. Makes you wonder which one was Honoria, doesn’t it?

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