John Twiss Story for BBC One Screening Next Month

John Twiss Documentary Filming at Hughes Bar 20-12-2017
Pictured during the filming for the John Twiss documentary at Hughes’ Bar in Cordal were: Seán Hughes, proprietor; Helen O’Connor, Firies; Johnnie Roche, Castleisland; Tim Fairclough, production runner and Denis Sayers, Kilflynn. ©Photograph: John Reidy

There was always a strong and unwavering conviction in these parts that the unfortunate John Twiss was completely innocent of what became infamous as The Glenlara Murder.

This was the beating to death of a bailiff, James Donovan, in that part of North Cork on April 21st. 1894.

Trial and Hanging

The trial and eventual hanging of John Twiss in January and February of 1895 were surrounded by some of the worst examples of skulduggery and miscarriages of justice ever seen in Ireland.

There is a fair presumption of innocence for poor old John Twiss in the title of the recently filmed documentary on his life and death.

Chalkboard Production

The film was shot in locations in Castleisland, in Twiss’s native Cordal and in relevant parts of Cork by the independent Chalkboard Television Production Company for the BBC.

The ‘Twiss programme’ will be aired next month as part of a series titled My Grand-dad Was Innocent and it is sure to generate a renewed interest in the age old story.

Twiss, it seems, was unfortunate on several grounds. Mostly in that several ‘Moonlighter trials’ had collapsed around that time and that there were obviously those intent on nailing him because of his strong Moonlighter stance.

Browne’s and Hughes’s Bars

The crew filmed in Browne’s Bar in Castleisland and at Hughes’ Bar in Cordal just before Christmas and featured Eamon Breen and Johnnie Roche along with relatives of John Twiss, Helen O’Connor, Firies and Denis Sayers, Kilflynn.

Reconstructions were filmed in the company’s studios in the UK.

The story of John Twiss was picked up in the UK from the recently launched and Castleisland based Michael O’Donohoe Memorial Heritage Project website.

The cover of the book, They Hanged John Twiss, which is available on loan from the local library in Castleisland.
The cover of the book, They Hanged John Twiss, which is available on loan from the local library in Castleisland.

Book at the Library

Anyone wishing to find out more about the fascinating events around the John Twiss hanging can get a book on loan from the Castleisland Library.

They Hanged John Twiss was published in 1982 by the late Pat Lynch a journalist with The Corkman.

BBC One commissioned Chalkboard TV for the historical crime series My Grandad Was Innocent.

Historical Murders

Set for broadcast on BBC One in early 2018, the series follows two criminal barristers who investigate historical murders when the convicted individual was penalized yet pleaded innocent.

The two also enlist living members of the convicted individual’s family to reconsider the crime and the evidence.

The running order of the series is yet to be released and we’ll keep you posted when it is.

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