Digging Potatoes at Woodsgyft: Illustrated London News, 10th December 1881
The setting of this illustration is Woodsgyft, Co. Kilkenny, where the Property Defence Association are digging the potatoes for a boycotted farmer. All through 1882 there had been Land League activity in the area, including the burning of one house to ground during the previous March. The Property Defence Association had been founded in response to the Land Acts. In Ireland its members were heavily involved in supporting boycotted landowners. A John Trant of Thurles sent a letter to The Times in January 1882, stating that he could not have survived without the help of the labourers sent by the Association. The picture shows a strong military presence protecting the workers, who were known as emergencymen. Some of them look unused to manual labour. These individuals were the targets of boycott and sometimes of violence.