“O'Donnell the Avenger”


Phoenix Park defendants are convicted by informer Carey's testimony. O'Donnell kills Carey on the ship Melrose Castle bound for Africa. O'Donnell is tried for the murder, convicted and executed. "As a martyr for his native land quite bravely he did die"


Zimmermann p. 62: "The Phoenix Park murders and their judicial sequels struck the popular imagination and were a gold-mine for ballad-writers: some thirty songs were issued on this subject, which was the last great cause to be so extensively commented upon in broadside ballads." - BS

Historical references

  • Chronology of the Phoenix Park murders (source: primarily Zimmermann, pp. 62, 63, 281-286.)
  • May 6, 1882 - Chief Secretary Lord Frederick Cavendish and the Under Secretary Thomas Henry Burke are murdered by a group calling themselves "The Invincible Society."
  • January 1883 - twenty seven men are arrested.
  • James Carey, one of the leaders in the murders, turns Queen's evidence.
  • Six men are condemned to death, four are executed (Joseph Brady is hanged May 14, 1883; Daniel Curley is hanged on May 18, 1883), others are "sentenced to penal servitude," and Carey is freed and goes to South Africa.
  • July 29, 1883 - Patrick O'Donnell kills Carey on board the "Melrose Castle" sailing from Cape Town to Durban.
  • Dec 1883 - Patrick O'Donnell is convicted of the murder of James Carey and executed in London (per Leach-Labrador)

Cross references

  • cf. "The Phoenix Park Tragedy" (subject: the Phoenix Park murders) and references there


  1. O'Conor, pp. 27-28, "O'Donnell, the Avenger" (1 text)
  2. BI, OCon027


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1901 (O'Conor)
Found in: Ireland