Synopses & Reviews
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.
A historically rich and heady tale...fascinating. (Elle)
Tightly constructed and authentically dramatic...a powerful reconstruction of the crime. (The New York Times Book Review)
"A historically rich and heady tale...fascinating." —Elle
"Tightly constructed and authentically dramatic...a powerful reconstruction of the crime." —The New York Times Book Review
"A fascinating, complex study...Bourke uses the horrific murder as a springboard to tell a larger story about sex, religion, and politics." USA Today
When 26-year-old Bridget Cleary disappeared from her cottage in rural Ireland in 1895, the townspeople claimed she was "away with the fairies". But the real Bridget was lying in a shallow grave after being burned to death by her husband and nine of his friends and neighbors. This true story is a fascinating account of a harrowing murder that would become an international scandal. of photos.
About the Author
Angela Bourke is senior lecturer in Irish at University College, Dublin. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and the University of Minnesota and writes, lectures, and broadcasts on Irish oral tradition and literature.
Table of Contents
Family Tree: Clearys, Bolands, and Kennedys
Chronology: March-July 1895
1: Laborers, Priests, and Peelers
2: Fairies and Fairy Doctors
3: Reading, Sewing, Hens, and Houses
4: Bridget Cleary Falls Ill
5: "Take It, You Witch!"
6: "Bridgie Is Burned!"
7: "Amongst Hottentots...": The Inquest and Inquiry
8: A Funeral, Some Photographs, More Fairies
9: Two Courtrooms
10: Trial and Imprisonment
Epilogue: When Does a True Story End?
Acknowledgments and Sources