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Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland by Richard Mc Mahon

Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland

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Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland by Richard Mc Mahon

Was pre-Famine and Famine Ireland a violent society? The dominant view among a range of commentators at the time, and in the work of many historians since, is that violence was both prevalent and pervasive in the social and cultural life of the country. This book explores the validity of this perspective through the study of homicide and what it reveals about wider experiences of violence in the country at that time. The book provides a quantitative and contextual analysis of homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland. It explores the relationship between particular and prominent causes of conflict - personal, familial, economic and sectarian - and the use of lethal violence to deal with such conflicts. Throughout the book, the Irish experience is placed within a comparative framework and there is also an exploration of what the history of violence in Ireland might reveal about the wider history of interpersonal violence in Europe and beyond. The aim throughout is to challenge the view of nineteenth-century Ireland as a violent society and to offer a more complex and nuanced assessment of the part played by violence in Irish life.


'Based on extensive and thorough research, well organised and lucidly written, this book makes a major contribution to our understanding.'
Professor S. J. Connolly

... his book serves as an invaluable resource for historians interested in violence in historical societies, as well as a useful corrective to a flawed characterization of pre-Famine Ireland. * Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Volume 45, Number 3 *

About the Author

Dr Richard Mc Mahon is Research Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th November 2013


Richard Mc Mahon

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Liverpool University Press


232 pages


Social & cultural history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Violence in society



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