From a letter, January 1630, written by the then Bishop of Ferns (under the assumed name of Turner) to his agent in Rome, Father Luke Wadding:-
“Our oratories began again to be opened… but upon St Stephen’s Day last, it befell that the pseudo-archbishop of Dublin, and the Mayor, a great Puritan, went with soldiers to the said friars’ house about noon of the day, and there defaced the altar and oratory, and were leading away two friars which they took, but the devout women that were in the oratory, together with young men that came to the cry, did so play on the mayor with stones and clubs, that they were forced to take house, and some persons were hurt.”
Riots at Christmastime involving Dubliners were not unusual, indeed part of the holiday season – throughout the 18th century there was an annual riot in Dublin when a procession of apprentices walked through the streets on Christmas Day to force the Quakers to shut their shops…
And on Stephen’s Day 1789 there was a serious incident in Abbey Street, involving a number of deaths, when magistrates acted to suppress a bull-baiting; four people, including a baker’s boy, with a hamper of bread on his shoulder, were killed on the spot, and the son of the keeper of the Liffey Street Hotel, ‘a very promising youth’ was shot through the arm twenty times; read more about it in the Lady’s Magazine, or Entertaining Journal for the Fair Sex, here.
Not to mention the fearful loss of life that occurred at Francis Street Chapel, fifty years earlier, when someone started a rumour that the gallery was about to fall. The gallery remained in place, but a large number of people were killed in the crush trying to get out the door.
Dublin at Christmas, it seems, is always the same.
For more on Dublin riots (at Christmastime and otherwise), see here.