Captain Boycott lived in Lough Mask House about
4 miles north of Cong. In 1880 Charles Boycott retired as
a Captain with the English army. He acted as the agent and
for Lord Erne on his estate on the shores of Lough Corrib
as Erne lived in Sligo. It was Charles Stuart Parnell who
advised the farmers of the time not to use force as retaliation
for the acts of the Landlords and their agents instead he
introduced a system of organised ostracisation of overbearing
Landlords. The scheme was first initiated at Lough Mask.
Boycott was extremely unpopular with his tenants at he time.
He insisted on military discipline from the tenants. It was
on a day towards the end of September 1880 that the isolation
and alienation of the Captain Boycott began. Employees deserted
their posts, harvesters ceased work in the fields, grooms
and boys deserted the stables and finally the domestic staff
left the house. In turn local tradesmen and other business
people form the area shun the Captain and the local postman
refused to deliver post to the house. In general most if not
all the local people refused to have any social contact with
In reprisal Lord Erne mobilised a team of about
forty Ulster Orangemen to the area and the English government
provided the necessary protection through Her Majesty's Huzzars,
cavalry and artillery as escorts. The ritualistic daily monotonous
tasks, which were always performed by the local tenants and
employees now were daunting tasks that required military protection.
The soldiers from England were treated horridly by Boycott
and were left to fend for themselves on army rations through
the severe winter of that year while the orange contingent
were put up in Lough Mask House and treated very well. Eventually
the army sympathised and associated themselves with the tenants.
In the end Boycott had no other choice but to give way. However
in the midst of all the happenings during one evening Charles
Boycott upped and left, absconding Lough Mask House and all
in residence there and departed the country never to be seen
The work of the local peasantry still stands to this day in
the form of the term boycotting and is now widely used in
the English language.