For a time back in the 1990s a bronze statue in North Cork became the most ‘fined’ man in Ireland. John Mandeville of the Square, Mitchelstown became a favourite alias for motorists pulled over for dangerous driving.

When the authorities realised one too many instances of dangerous driving was attributed to a statue in Mitchelstown, they soon cracked down on drivers using the assumed identity of John Mandeville.

On April 23, a letter from the real John Mandeville will come up at Fonsie Mealy’s Centenary auction at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin.

Mandeville’s letter to his friend Dr George Sigerson, details the harsh prison regime he had to endure in Tullamore Jail, a place he was sent to for his part in organising tenants in Munster to protest against evictions.

Mandeville was born in Carrick-on-Suir on June 24 ,1849. He farmed 100 acres at Clonkilla, a mile west of Mitchelstown and, along with the North Cork MP William O’Brien, he organised campaigns for fairer rent and fixity of tenure.

Full story on this week’s Print & Digital Edition