The Empress of Ennis

DSCN4246Or, how the man of the house is no more. (Based on absolutely no facts what so ever)

He opened the galley hatch and pushed her out toward the ledge. And with a splash that no one expected, the Empress of Ennis landed with a kurplunk into the River Fergus. No one believed it possible that someone of such import could be dunked into the disgusting waters of this river. But based on legend and tradition, it was happening. It was said if you were a thief, a nasty drunk, or even a nagging wife, you could be charged and sentenced by a judge, and in the case of a nag – by your very own husband. Now I cannot imagine such a sentencing in today’s world but this was a common practice at the time in Ennis (circa 1645-1730).DSCN4010

And the river was not exactly pristine if you consider that it is where the washing of clothes took place and the discharging of human waste, not to mention any industry of the time. Of course this was several centuries before disinfection, reverse osmosis, UV treatment. And yes, way way before the Clean Water Act of the USA.

So as our Walking Tour Guide described in great excoriating detail; the husband of the town’s most beloved Empress had been smoking one too many stinking cigars (in her view) and as the Town’s great benefactor and tea partisan, she put her foot down demanding that he stop. He refused!


This set her into a rage and in turn her husband went to the local judge of the time and insisted she be dunked. And although well respected by the town’s people, the judge obliged. Shortly thereafter a small crowd grew and before long more than half the town was present as she floated down along the river. DSCN4219Some cheered, some winced. A few a blocks down around the bend she floated before being retrieved by friends of her spinning circle.

The headline in the local paper that week was not kind and simply stated “OMG, E Dunk Geeprs”, unfortunately we have no idea what it means to this day. Experts are split, but the majority suspect it means something to the effect that, “No one is above the law”.

Even so, she may have gotten the last laugh as her husband was never seen again.


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