Sunday 10 April 2011

Census Day Tales from 1911: the Bundoran Farce

Excerpt from a letter to the Editor, Freeman's Journal, April 15th 1911:


Dear Mr Editor,

In your issue of the 4th inst. there appears under the "Census reports" a reference made to the "unique way of making up the population in certain Northern seaside resorts" for the purpose of getting Urban Councils in these places.....
For months past it was widely circulated that the people of Dundoran were co-operating with the Great Northern Railway company to bring in a large number of people for the purpose of showing an increased population in this town while the Census was being taken, and acccording to a report in the "Enniskillen Impartial Reporter" of March 16th, the people who got vouchers for free railway travelling were to have been boarded and lodged free by the people of Dundoran.

Well, the railway company kept their part of the contract, and every perosn got in free; but what a farce it turned out to be when it came to the residents of Bundoran to do their share free. Hundreds of people from Dublin, Dundalk, Clones and intermediate stations when they landed in Bundoran on Saturday night were quietly informed that they had to pay.

Now, I would ask any reader of this paper is that decent treatment to do such an act and place many respectable young men and women in such a humiliating position, many who had travelled long distances, under such bogus reports and invitations? It is about time such scandalous work as this should be put down by the strong arm of the law, and I hope some way will be devised to prevent the residents of Bundroan reaping any reward from the attendance of their victimised visitors in this town during the first three days of the present month.

I can give names and addresses of dozens of visitors, along with myself, who were trapped by these bogus reports and invitations and I will have their assistance legally in opposing any scheme for the improvement of this town until the people who went there are compensated for their trouble and expense.....

I am, dear Mr Editor,