Bridget <I>Boland</I> Cleary


Bridget Boland Cleary Famous memorial

Fethard, County Tipperary, Ireland
Death 16 Mar 1895 (aged 28)
County Tipperary, Ireland
Burial Cloneen, County Tipperary, Ireland
Plot outside the wall
Memorial ID 21034944 View Source

Folk Figure. Born the youngest child and only daughter of Patrick and Bridget Boland in County Tipperary, Ireland. She attended Convent School in Drangan before being apprenticed to a dressmaker. In August 1887, she married a cooper, Michael Cleary, after which she worked successfully as a dressmaker and egg seller. The couple remained childless and she was known as an unusually independent woman. After her mother died in 1894, Bridget developed a habit of visiting the so-called fairy forts in the district. Local superstition named such places as haunts of the fey folk. Bridget fell ill on March 6, 1895. Her headache, fever, and congestion were named as bronchitis by a local doctor, but family memebers thought that her lasstitude indicated a case of fairy stroke - in other words, her husband became convinced her spirit had been stolen by the fairies. For nine days, Bridget was on fairy trial, family and neighbors confined her to her house, doused her with urine and hen's dung, forced fed her herbs and potions, and threatened her with fire brands in an effort to force the presumed fairy to release the real Bridget. In the predawn hours of March 16, Bridget was dressed in her best clothes and taken before the hearth where her husband doused her with lamp oil and burned her to death. Bridget's body was then wrapped in a sheet and buried it in a shallow grave in a bog dike little more than 1000 yeards from their cottage. The body was discovered five days later and a coroner's inquest was held. Nine of Bridget's family members were arrested on charged of murder. The trial became a political bludgeon with which different parties attempted to kill Home Rule for Ireland, embarass prominent churchmen, or denigrate a whole population as superstitious primitives. In the end, Michael Cleary was convicted of manslaughter and served fifteen years of his twenty year sentence at hard labor. Patrick Boland served six months hard labor, her cousins and uncle also served sentences between three to five years. Bridget's body, unclaimed by her incarcerated kin, and untouched by the church, apparently unwilling to associate themselves with a scandal so steeped in superstition, was quietly buried one evening by two constables just outside the churchyard wall at the Drangan and Cloneen Parish Church, in an unmarked grave beside her mother's.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Iola
  • Added: 20 Aug 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21034944
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bridget Boland Cleary (19 Feb 1867–16 Mar 1895), Find a Grave Memorial ID 21034944, citing Cloneen Old Graveyard, Cloneen, County Tipperary, Ireland ; Maintained by Find a Grave .