Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kyle Hughes and Donald MacRaild

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940650

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940650.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

‘Why, it’s like a ’98 trial’: The Irish Judiciary and the Fenian Trials, 1865–1866

‘Why, it’s like a ’98 trial’: The Irish Judiciary and the Fenian Trials, 1865–1866

(p.131) 7 ‘Why, it’s like a ’98 trial’: The Irish Judiciary and the Fenian Trials, 1865–1866
Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century

Richard A. Keogh

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on the ‘Fenian trials’ of 1865–66. It challenges us to think beyond established ‘speeches from the dock’ narratives to consider the part played by the judiciary in the theatre of the court. While names such as Kickham, Luby, Rossa, and o’Leary will roll of the tongues of many today, fewer will recall a William Keogh, or a John David Fitzgerald, the two Catholic judges who presided over the special commission that tried the Fenian accused. There was much criticism at the time that the state had ‘packed the bench’, an accusation levelled with regularity throughout the nineteenth century. The essay gives due consideration to these claims. The appointments of Keogh and Fitzgerald were clearly political it suggests, and cites John Devoy’s assessment that all judges in Ireland were rewarded for political service rather than legal acumen. However, it concludes that the judges’ precise handling of the proceedings undermined attempts by the accused to challenge the legitimacy of the court and, ultimately, the Fenian trials show how perceptions of judicial partiality evolved over time.

Keywords:   Fenianism, Speeches from the Dock, Fenian Trials, William Keogh, Irish justice, Irish lawyers

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.