ET: Patrick Dougherty

Patrick Dougherty was executed in Dublin on this day in 1782 for robbing a guy and stealing stuff worth¬†¬£15, a small fortune in those days. What followed was a riot at the scaffold, a body-snatching and a police chase — as in, first the police were doing the chasing, then they were being chased themselves by the people they’d been chasing earlier. What fun!

In the entry I quoted from a book about executions in Dublin, noting, in part: Surgeons were regarded with suspicion as their dissections prevented families and friends of deceased felons from waking their bodies.

I realize that “waking” in this instance means “holding a wake with the bodies as per the Irish tradition” but I think the author’s choice of words was unfortunate. It sounds like they were trying to wake the dead person back up.

My mom, who’s a bit of of a Hibernophile, says the reason wakes were so popular in Ireland is cause the British curtailed freedom of assembly, and a wake was one of the few events where Irish people could gather without risk of arrest.