Marcus Costello had good reason to remember Dungannon - in January 1831, he narrowly escaped with his life when he paid a flying visit to the town!
His ‘Mission to the North’ - a mission to convince the Orange party that Repeal of the Act of Union would be beneficial - had begun with his being chased out of Cookstown. Cookstown, Dungannon, Armagh, Belfast.
Perhaps Costello was hardly surprised by the anger he aroused for he ought to have known the territory; he was a native of the Loup, educated at Coagh, who entered Trinity College, and began his career as an ambitious barrister in Dublin.
In the decade 1830 to 1840, he was a household name in Ireland as President of the Dublin Trades Political Union, the terror of Dublin Castle, sometime prisoner in Kilmainham Jail, and relentless scourge of establishment politicians. Daniel O’Connell, ‘the uncrowned King of Ireland’ distrusted his fellow-lawyer and political colleague to such an extent that he engineered his total removal from Irish public life.
Costello’s political career ended with him sipping wine under the orange groves in Gibraltar. The story of his life reads like a romantic novel. And the ultimate resting place of his bones seems unknown.
In Ranfurly House, at 7.30 pm, on Friday, January 19, Aidan Fee will attempt to rediscover
Counsellor Marcus Costello aka Mark Cushely.