Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century

BookCrime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century

Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century

Society for the Study of Nineteenth Century Ireland, 2


October 31st, 2017

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The study of crime and violence in all its multifarious forms remains one of the most productive areas of enquiry for Irish historians. Considered an inordinately violent and unruly society by many contemporaries, nineteenth-century Ireland was notorious for sectarian unrest, agrarian disorder, alcohol-fuelled casual fighting, the seditious activities of various illegal underground organisations, as well as a host of other ‘outrages’. The image of an Ireland in an almost perpetual state of tumult during the nineteenth century, however, is a false one, invariably pedalled by partisan observers with a particular political or religious agenda to satisfy. Modern historical scholarship has corrected many lingering assumptions about the extent and character of Irish violence, but much work remains to be done. This important collection of essays, based on original research delivered at one of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland’s most successful annual conferences, draws together some of Ireland’s leading historians as well emerging talents to examine a broad range of topics under the banner of crime and violence. Irish secret societies, agrarian disorder, security and the law, sectarian violence, and a host of similar topics benefit from innovative methodological perspectives and advanced historical scholarship. List of contributors: Kyle Hughes, Donald M. MacRaild, Michael Huggins, Terence M. Dunne, Jess Lumsden Fisher, John McGrath, Richard J. Butler, Colin W. Reid, Richard A. Keogh, Ciara Breathnach, Laurence M. Geary, Ian d’Alton, Daragh Curran, Gemma Clark, Patrick Maume, Teresa O’Donnell and Virginia Crossman.

'An important and valuable collection.'
Dr. Richard Mc Mahon, Assistant Professor of History, Trinity College Dublin

'A thought-provoking collection by scholars who you sense really care about the topics they study.'
Books Ireland


'An insightful, thought-provoking and valuable addition to the existing historiography of crime and violence in nineteenth-century Ireland.’
Regina Donlon, Irish Literary Supplement

'Delivers a detailed texture of crime, crime control, and everyday life... their attention to local, everyday contexts promotes an understanding of crime, criminals, and justice rooted in historical empathy for their subjects. That approach makes for good history.'
William Meier, Victorian Studies

'While it is impossible in a short review to do full justice to the many essays in this volume... This is an important addition to the study of crime and violence in Ireland in the nineteenth century and is highly recommended to scholars and students who are interested in the subject.'
Brian Griffin, Irish Studies Review

Author Information

Kyle Hughes is Lecturer in British History at Ulster University. Donald MacRaild is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at London Metropolitan University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations7
List of Contributors9
Introduction: Crime, Violence, and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century; Themes and Perspectives13
Section 1: Secret Societies and Collective Violence31
1. Whiteboys and Ribbonmen: What’s in a Name?33
2. The Law of Captain Rock50
3. ‘Night Marauders’ and ‘Deluded Wretches’: Public Discourses on Ribbonism in Pre-Famine Ireland65
4. Organised Labour in Limerick City, 1819–1821: Violence and the Struggle for Legitimacy79
Section 2: The Law and its Responses97
5. Cork’s Courthouses, the Landed Elite, and the Rockite Rebellion: Architectural Responses to Agrarian Violence, 1820–182799
6. Constitutional Rhetoric as Legal Defence: Irish Lawyers and the Languages of Political Dissent in 1848124
7. ‘Why, it’s like a ’98 trial’: The Irish Judiciary and the Fenian Trials, 1865–1866143
8. Crime and Punishment: Whiteboyism and the Law in Late Nineteenth-Century Ireland161
Section 3: Sectarianism and Vioence185
9. From Bandon … to Bandon: Sectarian Violence in Cork during the Nineteenth Century187
10. ‘Loyal to the Crown but not the Crown’s Government’: The Challenge to Policing Posed by the Orange Order in 1830s Ulster205
Section 4: Manifestations of Crime and Violence221
11. Arson in Modern Ireland: Fire and Protest before the Famine223
12. The Head Pacificator and Captain Rock: Sedition, Suicide and Honest Tom Steele239
13. ‘Skin the Goat’s Curse on James Carey’: Narrating the Story of the Phoenix Park Murders through Contemporary Broadside Ballads255
14. Attitudes and Responses to Vagrancy in Ireland in the Long Nineteenth Century276