Crotty, William (DNB00)

CROTTY, WILLIAM (d. 1742), a notorious highwayman and rapparee, ‘carried on his depredations in the south of Ireland early in the eighteenth century. His name is given to a cave and a lough among the Comeragh mountains. He was regarded as a man of desperate courage and unequalled personal agility, often baffling pursuers even when mounted on fleet horses. He frequented the fair green of Kilmacthomas, and openly joined with the young men in hurling and football on Sunday evenings, danced with the girls at wakes and patterns, and was familiarly received in farmers' houses. At length a Mr. Hearn, guided by the wife of one of Crotty's partners in crime, captured him after a struggle in which Crotty was shot in the mouth—a judgment, in the estimation of the people, for his having once shot a countryman through the mouth at his own fireside. Crotty and a confederate were outside the man's cabin, and the former wagered that the ball in his pistol would pass the peasant's mouth sooner than a potato they saw him lifting to his lips’ (Webb, Compendium of Irish Biography, p. 116). Crotty was hanged at Waterford on 18 March 1742, and for some time after his head remained affixed to the gaol gateway.

[Gent. Mag. xii. 163.]

G. G.