In 1895 twenty-six-year-old Bridget Cleary disappeared from her house in rural Tipperary. At first, some said that the fairies had taken her into their stronghold in a nearby hill, from where she would emerge, riding a white horse. But then her badly burned body was found in a shallow grave. Her husband, father, aunt and four cousins were arrested and charged, while newspapers in nearby Clonmel, and then in Dublin, Cork, London and further afield attempted to make sense of what had happened.
In this lurid and fascinating episode, set in the last decade of the nineteenth century, we witness the collision of town and country, of storytelling and science, of old and new. The torture and burning of Bridget Cleary caused a sensation in 1895 which continues to reverberate more than a hundred years later.
Winner of the Irish Times Prize for Non-Fiction