Bonniconlon, County Mayo, Ireland
Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland
|Known for||He was one of the Irish Rapparees (Guerrillas) of Northern Ireland|
Captain Gallagher (died 1818) was an Irish highwayman who, as one of the later Irish Rapparees (guerrillas), led a bandit group in the hills of the Irish countryside, armed with a blunderbuss, of the day, during the late 18th and early 19th century.
Born in Bonniconlon, County Mayo he lived with his aunt in Derryronane, Swinford for much of his early life and raised near the woods of Barnalyra. As he reached early adulthood, he and group of others began raiding mail coaches as well as wealthy landowners and travelers throughout eastern Mayo and parts of southern County Sligo and western County Roscommon.
His attacks on landowners were especially widely known and, in one reported incident, Gallagher and his men raided the home of an extremely unpopular landlord in Killasser and forced him to eat half a dozen eviction notices he had recently drawn up for nearly half a dozen tenant farmers before escaping with silver and other valuables.
Although successfully evading British patrols for some time, he was finally apprehended by authorities in the parish of Coolcarney (or possibly Attymass) near the foothills of the Ox Mountains while recovering from an illness at a friend's home during Christmas.
He had been informed on by a neighbor whom Gallagher had formerly helped after sending a message of Gallagher's whereabouts to the British commanding officer at Foxford. Immediately sending for reinforcements from Ballina, Castlebar and Swinford, a force of 200 redcoats were sent after Gallagher and, upon their arrival, proceeded to surround the home where the highwayman had been staying. Gallagher, by then in poor health and not wishing to endanger his host or his family, surrendered to the British. Taken back to Foxford, he was tried and convicted before being taken to Castlebar where he was executed.
Shortly before his execution, he had claimed to the British commanding officer that his treasure had been hidden under a rock in the woods of Barnalyra. After Gallagher's execution, the officer quickly led several cavalryman to Barnalyra who discovered there were thousands of rocks in the wood, upon a long search of all the rocks within the area, they reportedly only recovered a jewel hilted sword. It has been speculated that Gallagher may have been hoping to lead them to the site in the hopes his men would be able to rescue him from their hideout near the Derryronane-Curryane border although the treasure, if he owned more than the sword, was never recovered.