The Burning of Bridget Cleary A True Story

Edition: Revised
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2001-07-01
Publisher(s): Penguin Books
List Price: $16.00

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In 1895, Bridget Cleary, a strong-minded and independent young woman, disappeared from her house in rural Tipperary. At first her family claimed she had been taken by fairies-but then her badly burned body was found in a shallow grave. Bridget's husband, father, aunt, and four cousins were arrested and tried for murder, creating one of the first mass media sensations in Ireland and England as people tried to make sense of what had happened. Meanwhile, Tory newspapers in Ireland and Britain seized on the scandal to discredit the cause of Home Rule, playing on lingering fears of a savage Irish peasantry. Combining historical detective work, acute social analysis, and meticulous original scholarship, Angela Bourke investigates Bridget's murder.

Author Biography

Angela Bourke is senior lecturer in Irish at University College Dublin, National University of Ireland

Table of Contents

Family Tree: Clearys, Bolands, and Kennedys xiii
Chronology: March--July 1895 xv
Laborers, Priests, and Peelers
Fairies and Fairy Doctors
Reading, Sewing, Hens, and Houses
Bridget Cleary Falls Ill
``Take It, You Witch!''
``Bridgie Is Burned!''
``Amongst Hottentots...'': The Inquest and Inquiry
A Funeral, Some Photographs, More Fairies
Two Courtrooms
Trial and Imprisonment
Epilogue: When Does a True Story End? 232(9)
Acknowledgments and Sources 241(4)
Notes 245(26)
Index 271

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