Transitions and Transformations
Edited By Marguerite Corporaal, Christopher Cusack and Ruud van den Beuken
2 Remembering Wildgoose Lodge: Gothic Stories Recalled and Retold (Tracy Fahey)
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2 Remembering Wildgoose Lodge: Gothic Stories Recalled and Retold
The 1816 burning of Wildgoose Lodge in Reaghstown, Co. Louth is a well-known yet complex atrocity story of Irish agrarian conflict. This traumatic incident, which triggered a wave of murder, retaliation, informing and executions, is well documented by a fairly contemporaneous account by James Anton of 1846; later journal articles by Paterson and Casey; a newspaper feature by Kiely and historical monographs on the subject by Murray and Dooley.1 The shocking nature of the burning and its aftermath resonated powerfully in nineteenth-century Reaghstown. Between 1816 and 1819, eight people were burned alive in the conflagration in the Lodge: Edward Lynch, his daughter Bridget, her husband Thomas Rooney, their five-month-old son Peter, and three young servants, Biddy Richards, James Rispin and Ann Cassidy. Eighteen men were executed, of whom twelve were gibbeted in roadside trees in the locality until 1819; and several alleged informers were subsequently murdered in the neighbourhood. This event and its repercussions are famously retold by William Carleton in his short ← 41 | 42 → story of 1830, ‘Confessions of a Reformed Ribbonman’, later retitled and republished in 1933 as ‘Wildgoose Lodge’.2
The story of Wildgoose Lodge occupies a paradoxical position in terms of national and local memory. It is a story that looms large in regional cultural memory through stories told in family homes, yet these stories are not shared publicly. Although the story is nationally known, principally through...
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