The Case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879-85

The Law Must Take Its Course

By Pat Finnegan

At the height of Ireland's Land War in 1881, a dispute over land led to the shooting and killing of a young man named Peter Doherty near Craughwell, Co. Galway. Intense police investigations discovered two informers whose perjured testimony before packed juries resulted in the conviction of two innocent men: Patrick Finnegan and Constable Michael Muldowney. This book features a forensic analysis of the trials that resulted in such a grave miscarriage of justice. Original research in primary sources has uncovered the role of informers, the payments made to them, and their eventual 'disposal' by the Dublin Castle authorities. Following commutation of the death sentences, each of the prisoners served a term of 20 years penal servitude and they became known as the 'Craughwell prisoners.' The experiences of the prisoners in Mountjoy and Maryborough jails are revealed from the prison files, which also contain their heartfelt pleas for release and pardon, and affirmations of their innocence. *** "Pat Finnegan is to be commended for visiting a forgotten aspect of the Land War in southeast Galway that exposes a grave miscarriange of justice... This book offers an interesting insight into agrarian crime and the ends to which the government would go to get a conviction in an attempt to bring stability to the countryside. Finnegan is an empathetic author, but is careful and balanced in his arguments as he exposes the numerous flaws in the legal system as it grappled with serious agrarian crime." - Irish Literary Supplement, Vol. 33, No. 1, Fall 2013

152 pages

Publication Date: 5/18/2012
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846823596

Available in other formats