Dan Foley and Maurice ‘Moss’ Moore were neighbours and friends in Reamore, about 26 kilometres from Listowel Town, County Kerry, Ireland. Moore was 12 years younger, a bachelor living alone with two dogs for company; Foley lived with his wife and her brother. Their houses were separated by just 90 metres. As farmers with small holdings in a tight-knit community, they worked together cutting turf and harvesting hay. The pair would meet daily at the local creamery and also played cards with each other in the evenings with other friends.
Dan Foley worried his cattle were wandering away from his house towards the bog, and concerned about welfare of his livestock on such ground, he put down a boundary fence along the sliver of land between his land and Moore’s. However, Moore felt the fence was encroaching on his land so he decided to moved it. Foley, likewise, moved it straight back to where he had first placed it. Moore eventually took a court action so the fence would be moved back indefinitely. The feud between former friends lasted from mid-1957 to late-1958. Their case was to be heard in a Tralee district courtroom in December 1958.
Foley, it was claimed, said to a neighbour there would only be one man around for the case.
On Thursday, November 6th, 1958, Moore disappeared after a night playing cards in a neighbour’s house.
Locals soon reported to the gardaí that Moore wasn’t just missing, but that he had been murdered by someone, and they suspected who it was.
By 1965, Irish playwright John B Keane had his stage premiere of ‘The Field’ in 1965 – directed by Barry Cassin and starring Ray McAnally as The Bull McCabe. The Listowel playwright drew inspiration for the play from the unsolved murder case of Moss Moore. The fallout from the cold case still resonates more than 60 years later in Irish culture.
This is our Radio Espial Special – The Unsolved Murder of Moss Moore – with extracts from ‘The Real Field’, a documentary made and narrated by Billy Keane.
[Please note that I have not included all parts of the original Billy Keane documentary because I wanted this special to focus more on the events of the murder itself than the included reflections, cinematic extracts, and discussions of the later stage play and film adaptions.]