Crime in the nineteenth-century Irish home

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This article interrogates the Irish home as the scene of a crime. Using a sample of nineteenth-century textual records, namely coroners’ inquest documents, police and witness statements, judges’ reports of trials, and newspapers, it showcases how the home could become a focus of attention in court. Police (and sometimes the general public) infiltrated these domestic spaces in their search for clues; they often interfered with domestic materiality, or confiscated objects or fragments therefrom. In court, maps, plans and models illustrated the physical space and layout of the home for those who had not crossed the threshold. Witness testimonies accounting for the crime inadvertently reveal how the homes looked, some of their contents, and the nature of relationships between occupants and neighbours. These Irish homes were typically ordinary domestic spaces but as this article shows, the crime brought the intimate space to a more public arena. It also demonstrates how the home could both protect or expose a suspect.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalWomen's History Review
Early online date11 Nov 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 11 Nov 2022


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