Mayo: Scene of great battles and conflicts

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A national movement which brought about the greatest social change ever witnessed in Ireland was initiated in Co Mayo during 1879 by Michael Davitt, James Daly and others.

Michael Davitt, a labourer whose family had moved to England, joined forces with Charles Stewart Parnell to side with the people who opposed the landlords. Their aims included an end to evictions for non-payment of rents and freedom to buy and sell land.

A new word came into the English language through an incident that occurred in Mayo. An English landlord called Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott was so cruel and unpleasant that he couldn’t get workers to do anything for him, so he brought in workers from elsewhere.

Boycott spent so much on security and protection for them that his harvest cost him a fortune and also nobody in the area would serve him in shops, or deal with him. This ostracisation became known as "boycotting" and Captain Boycott was left with no option but to leave Mayo and take his family with him to England.

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