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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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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: 02 August 2021

‘Skin the Goat’s Curse’ on James Carey: Narrating the Story of the Phoenix Park Murders through Contemporary Broadside Ballads

‘Skin the Goat’s Curse’ on James Carey: Narrating the Story of the Phoenix Park Murders through Contemporary Broadside Ballads

Chapter:
(p.243) 13 ‘Skin the Goat’s Curse’ on James Carey: Narrating the Story of the Phoenix Park Murders through Contemporary Broadside Ballads
Source:
Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Teresa O’Donnell

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781786940650.003.0014

The death of the arch-informer James Carey is the focus of this exposition of the popular balladry that followed the Phoenix Park Murders of 1883. The broadside ballad is recognised as a key source for social commentary, and this essay shows that the murders and the subsequent assassination of Carey prompted an unprecedented flurry of street ballads. They covered all spectrums of opinion, from those critical of the brutal murders to others that celebrated the perpetrators as heroes and martyrs. Given Irish nationalism’s disdain for informers, it is little surprise that special attention was afforded to James Carey, the Fenian-turned-approver who gave evidence against his co-conspirators. This essay shows that the level of hatred and revulsion for Carey expressed in the ballads and the contrasting admiration afforded to his assassin, Patrick O’Donnell, captured the public mood during the period.

Keywords:   Ballads, Broadsides, Informers, Phoenix Park Murders, James Carey, The Invincibles

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