A grisly story about the torture and murder of Bridget Cleary in Tipperary in 1895, whose husband believed her to be a witch or possessed by the fairies. (First broadcast 1995)
A radio documentary on the Tipperary witch case of 1895.
Twenty-six-year-old Bridget Cleary was a bright and bubbly lady, well liked by all who met her. In March 1895, Bridget became ill. The winter had been the coldest one recorded in Ireland. But Briget's husband, Michael Cleary, became convinced she was "fairy stricken." He believed that a fairy had snatched Bridget and left a sickly changeling in her place. He was determined to drive out the changeling and get his wife back.
On March 13, Michael Kennedy and his mother, Mary Kennedy, went to visit her sick niece. They walked to Bridget's home, arriving to find the house filled with people and witnessing a horrible scene. Bridget was being held down by several men, including her husband, father and her brothers-in-law. They tried to force a concoction of herbs boiled in milk down her throat. They held her over the hearth fire and demanded to know who she was. They shouted about witches and fairies.
Thirty-six hours later, Bridget had "disappeared." The story began to circulate that she was abducted by (or had gone willingly with) the fairies inhabiting the medieval ringforts surrounding Kylenagranagh. Michael Cleary himself supported the story.
Produced and presented by Pat Feeley.
'The Burning of Bridget Cleary' was first broadcast on 5th April 1995.
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.