White Boys

Whiteboys were secret oath-bound members of small, largely Catholic, peasant bands, first organized about 1760.  The Whiteboy disturbances first broke out in Clogheen, Co. Tipperary in 1761, when groups of men assembled by night to level ditches which landlords had erected around common lands. Until then, peasants had enjoyed free grazing rights on these lands. At first they were called Levellers, but soon additional grievances about rent and tithes were added. As the movement spread, they began wearing white shirts, and were known as Buachailli Bána or Whiteboys. White shirts helped them recognise comrades in the dark.