Islandmagee witch trial

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Islandmagee witch trial took place in 1710–1711 on Islandmagee in what is today Northern Ireland. It is believed to have been the last witch trial to take place in Ireland.[1]

The trial was caused by a phenomenon of poltergeists and possession in the house of a Mrs Haltridge. In 1710, Mrs Haltridge had been affected by poltergeists. She had been unable to get any sleep, clothes had been thrown around the house, and a boy had shown himself to her, and vanished. One night, she was heard screaming that she was being attacked with a knife, and was later found dead. In 1711, Mrs Haltridge the Younger, daughter-in-law of the deceased Mrs Haltridge, was visited by one Mary Dunbar.[1] Dunbar was also tormented by the poltergeists, an apron with "witches' knots" was found, and Dunbar claimed to be attacked by women in her bed. She named the women, and eight women were arrested and put on trial for having caused the phenomena with witchcraft.[1] They were found guilty of witchcraft and condemned to one year imprisonment and four times pillorying.

Records of what happened to Mary Dunbar or those convicted of witchcraft may have been lost when the Public Records Office in question was burned down during the Irish Civil War.[1]

A memorial to the eight women convicted was proposed by the author Martina Devlin. However the memorial was objected to by TUV councillor Jack McKee who believed the plaque could become a "shrine to paganism" and furthermore stated that he wasn't convinced the women weren't guilty and that he believed the proposal to be "anti-god".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Cashin, Declan (26 May 2011). "The witches of Antrim". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  2. ^ McDonald, Henry (5 February 2015). "Christian councillor objects to Islandmagee 'witches' plaque". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-08.