The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85
‘Pat Finnegan focuses on events in 19th-century south Galway, illuminating the complex factors underlying the land war … he uses the events that surround the arrest of Muldowney, and his grandfather, Pat Finnegan, to examine the operation of the judicial system in the west of Ireland in the late nineteenth century … This book is a well structured and lucid local and personal history that inserts itself into the broader historical picture. It is an interesting personal account [and] an absorbing read … an historical “whodunit”, remarkable in illuminating the tensions which made the judiciary and constabulary so anxious to make an example and secure a conviction that they sacrificed one of their own', Madeleine O'Neill, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society (2014).
‘The story of the crime, the trials, the commutation of the sentences, the imprisonment for almost 20 years and the subsequent lives of the two innocent men is a riveting one, and a valuable insight into a world that is gone forever', Tuam Herald (May 2012).
‘It reads like a detective mystery, but The case of the Craughwell Prisoners, a new book written by retired Associate Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Finnegan, is much more than that. It’s a deeply personal story about his grandfather, Pat Finnegan, who, in 1884, alongside RIC Constable Michael Muldowney, was wrongly convicted of murder', Judy Murphy, Galway City Tribune (May 2012).
‘Pat Finnegan is to be commended for visiting a forgotten aspect of the Land War in southeast Galway that exposes a grave miscarriage of justice as officialdom ignored contradictions and lies delivered as evidence in their determination to secure a conviction at any cost … This book offers an interesting insight into agrarian crime and the ends to which the government would go to get a conviction in an attempt to bring stability to the countryside. Finnegan is an empathetic author, but is careful and balanced in his arguments as he exposes the numerous flaws in the legal system as it grappled with serious agrarian crime', Brian Casey, Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 2013).
‘Many books on the Land War keep to the general picture or to the prominent political individuals involved, so it makes for an interesting change for one to focus on the “ordinary” people caught up in the sweep of events … Dr Finnegan writes with considerable detail on the story … [He] shows his strengths as a researcher as he methodically examines the trial practices at the time … The case of the two men remains a symbol for the time, with all its uncertainty and strife, and Dr Finnegan’s study of it should be a useful accompaniment to anyone interested in the era', Daniel Murray, The Irish Story (April 2013).