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The Train to Drogheda -- April Fool's Day, 1844
During the final week of March, 1844, placards appeared around Dublin advertising a free train ride on April 1st to all who desired it, transporting passengers to the town of Drogheda and back. Early on the first of April a large crowd gathered at the station. As a train approached, the crowd surged forward, eager to secure their free seats. But the conductors and overseers intervened to keep the people away from the train, informing them that there was no free ride. The crowd grew displeased, and a riot broke out. "The labourers on the road supported the overseers—the victims fought for their places, and the melee was tremendous." The following day a number of people went to the police station to lodge official complaints, but the police dismissed all complaints "in honour of the day." [The London Times, Apr 6, 1844]

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.