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Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century$
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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

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Arson in Modern Ireland: Fire and Protest before the Famine

Arson in Modern Ireland: Fire and Protest before the Famine

(p.211) 11 Arson in Modern Ireland: Fire and Protest before the Famine
Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century

Gemma Clark

Liverpool University Press

This analysis of arson details the use of incendiarism as a protest tool in the decades before the Famine. The pre-Famine period witnessed several outbreaks of agrarian unrest. Deliberately setting fire to property and crops was one obvious manifestation of agrarianism, and a particularly effective one given its destructiveness. Yet there is more to arson than its immediate destructive outcomes, this essay points out. It was a means by which to intimidate those who failed to comply with communal demands and bring them back into line. Arson in an Irish context rarely resulted in death and this essay says much about the very nature of crime and violence in nineteenth-century Ireland where violent crimes against property, rather than against the person, accounted for the majority of prosecutions.

Keywords:   Arson, Agrarianism, Rural disorder, Pre-Famine Ireland

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