Home Up Contents

Denis Cashman

Margaret Aylward Dr Edward Barron Philip Barron Denis Cashman Raymond Chandler Paddy Coad Patrick Comerford Donncha Ruadh Val Doonican Sean Dunne Frank Edwards Alfie Hale John M Hearne William Hobson Dr Thomas Hussey Charles Kean John Keane Edmund Leamy D. P. Moran Gen Dick Mulcahy James Nash Peter O'Connor Jas Louis O'Donnell Pádraig Ó Fainín Gilbert O'Sullivan John Redmond Edmund I Rice James Rice, Mayor Lord Roberts V. C. John Roberts Frank Ryan Thomas Sexton Archbishop Sheehan Susan Smith John Treacy Luke Wadding William V. Wallace Cardinal Wiseman Bullocks Wyse Lucien Bonaparte Wyse



Denis B. Cashman was born in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford in 1842 and he joined the Fenian movement in 1858 when he was only sixteen years old. We don't know if he was living in Waterford city by that time but the circumstantial evidence points that way. He was married in 1862 and he and his wife Catherine had three children, all boys, born in Ireland and named William, Denis and Arthur. Cashman was a solicitor's clerk with the firm of Dobbyn & Tandy in Colbeck street in Waterford city. The firm is still in business in Waterford, trading as Dobbyn, Tandy, McCoy and Collins and it is still in the original building. Cashman worked hard for the Fenian cause and sometime between 1858 and 1867 he had risen through the ranks to become the 'Centre' (Head man) of the Waterford Fenian Circle. His work for the 'cause' had brought him to the attention of the movement's leaders and he was asked to go to Dublin to work more closely with James Stephens and the Dublin 'Centres.' 

He was arrested on January 12, 1867, the very day his third child, Arthur, was born in Dublin. This child and his brother Denis were to die of measles just over a year after Cashman's arrest. Cashman was arrested under the Habeas Corpus Suspension act that had become law in February 1866, and he was charged with distributing rifles. He was brought to trial on February 19, 1867 where he pleaded guilty, was convicted of felony treason and sentenced to seven years penal servitude. He was transferred to Millbank Gaol in London where he and the other Fenian prisoners, including Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, awaited transportation to Australia. His wife Catherine approached his former employers, Dobbyn and Tandy, and they wrote to the authorities vouching for Cashman's character and asking for clemency to be exercised. Catherine also wrote, on July 13 1867, to the Lord Lieutenant where she pleaded for her husband, explaining that he was the sole support of her small family, including her new-born baby. Her plea on behalf of her husband was backed up from a surprising source; Superintendent Daniel Ryan of the Dublin Metropolitan Police wrote in his report, of July 31 1867, in favour of Cashman:

The prisoner is a man differing in many ways from the generality of those apprehended for Fenianism. He is evidently a man of respectable parents, and one whose education was attended to. He filled respectable situations in both Waterford and Dublin, and in the latter city he was clerk to Wm. Smyth, law agent for the Corporation, who held him in the highest estimation and would have gone to any amount of security for him at the time of his apprehension, incredulous that one of such excellent character, as was Cashman, could have any connection with the Conspiracy. ... It would be a positive Charity to this man and his tender family to mitigate ... the punishment inflicted on him.

After nine months in Millbank where he picked coir fibres Cashman heard that the time for his transportation had come. 

Sources: "Fenian Diary: Denis B. Cashman on board the Hougoumont, 1867-68," ed. C. W. Sullivan III, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 2001
"The Great Shame", Thomas Keneally, Vintage Press
"Springfield Republican" newspaper, editorial obituary, 1897.

Home ] Up ]

Copyright © 2006 Waterford History