James “Skin-the-Goat” Fitzharris

James “Skin-the-Goat” Fitzharris

County Wexford, Ireland
Death 7 Sep 1910 (aged 66)
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Burial Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Plot UH 159, St. Brigid's
Memorial ID 47934898 · View Source
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A Dublin cab driver.
One of "The Invincibles".

Born at Ballybeg, Horetown, Co. Wexford, where his father was an employee at the Sinnott estate. It is alleged that James was dismissed following the disruption of a foxhunt. He came to Dublin where he worked as a labourer for a small-time building contractor and city councillor, James Carey. He later became a cab driver.
In 1881, Carey swore him into The Irish National Invincibles, a secret society whose aim was to assassinate leading members of the British administration in Ireland.
On the afternoon of 6th May, 1882, The Invincibles murdered Lord Frederick Cavendish, the newly appointed chief secretary for Ireland, and Thomas Henry Burke, permanent under secretary, whilst they were walking to the Vice-Regal Lodge in the Phoenix Park. Cavendish's wife was a niece of the wife of the then English Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Fitzharris had driven Carey and two of the assassins to the Phoenix Park, where he waited with Michael Kavanagh who was also a cabbie, whilst the murders were carried out. The nine members of the assassination squad were subsequently driven back into the city by circuitous routes.
It took the police over eight months to begin to solve the murders. In January 1883, Carey was arrested and along with sixteen others, including Fitzharris, was charged with conspiracy to murder public officials. In February 1883, Carey and Kavanagh turned "Queen's Evidence", betraying all the details of the involvement of their colleagues in the plot, and testified against them.
Joseph Brady who killed Burke, Thomas Caffrey, Daniel Curley, Michael Fagan, and Tim Kelly who killed Cavendish, were found guilty of the murders and subsequently executed in Kilmainham Gaol.
Fitzharris was found not guilty of the murder, but in a retrial in May 1883 he was convicted of being an accessory to murder and conspiracy, and sentenced to penal servitude for life. His lengthy sentence and refusal to inform on his colleagues won him public admiration and sympathy. He was released in August 1899, and toured America. The American immigration service deported him in June 1900, acting on information supplied by the authorities in Dublin Castle.
He was a well-known personality in Dublin, being commemorated in the folklore of the city, and is noted in several episodes in James Joyce's "Ulysses".
He died in The South Dublin Union Workhouse, and his funeral took place from St. James's Church, James's Street, Dublin, to Glasnevin Cemetery, where he was buried beside his wife Catherine (Kate) who died in 1898.

His Death Certificate notes the cause of his death as "Bronchitis", and stated that he was 78 years old.

Below is part of "Monto", a Dublin folksong.

"When Carey told on Skin-the-Goat,
O'Donnell caught him on the boat,
he wished he'd never been afloat,
the filty shite.
T'wasn't very sensible,
to tell on The Invincibles,
they stood up for their principles,
day and night."

See the entry in Wikipedia
The Invincibles

For the memorial of Thomas Henry Burke who is also buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, hit on the following link,
Thomas Henry Burke

For the memorial of Frederick Cavendish, hit on the following link,
Frederick Charles Cavendish

A "virtual cemetery" for all those involved in The Invincibles has been created.
Irish National Invincibles

Family Members


First plaque.

In memory of
Skin The Goat
1833 - 1910


Second plaque.

In memory of
served 15 years
penal servitude
[the next two lines, written in Irish,
are worn away and unclear]

Erected by the National
Graves Association


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees



  • Created by: John
  • Added: 9 Feb 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 47934898
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James “Skin-the-Goat” Fitzharris (4 Oct 1843–7 Sep 1910), Find a Grave Memorial no. 47934898, citing Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland ; Maintained by John (contributor 47032041) .