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dawn hewitt

im very interested in the story of bridget cleary,and have written and researshed a lot of material for a paper i have to present,i cannot seem to find any further info on Michael cleary(husband)once he docked in montreal...did he change his name,remarry,die???could you help?thanks


Dawn -- you're not the only one interested in the end of Michael Cleary's story. The authors of the two books don't say. A Canadian reviewer of Bourke's book wondered, "Did he live out the rest of his life on Montreal, and end up buried in Mount Royal Cemetery? Or does he lie in a churchyard in some quiet rural Quebec village?"
Unless he had descendants, and they care to tell the story, it might be lost to time.


The daughter of a friend in Ireland, Ms. Shauna Farrell, has landed a leading role in a production of "Are You The Wife Of Micael Clery." Being unfamiliar with the title, I looked it up on the internet to gain information.


I came across the story of Bridget Cleary when a documentary about it was recently shown on tv. It sparked my interest and since then I've tried to gain more information about it via the net.


Just watching a documentary on Irish television about this case. I missed the first bit so looked it up and saw your site. Extremely interesting and horrifying case, and also included interviews with the then current resident of the house that it occured in (still used as a residential property). As for Michael Cleary, he served 15 years out of a 20 year sentence and after his release emmigrated to Canada where he lived out the rest of his life - at least that's what the documentary stated at the end. Hope that helps?


see this page


I seen a documentry o RTE last night,and found it very interesting.I do belive there is still more to this "story" and am also intrested in Micheal Cleary and have found your information usefull.

lisa O'Sullivan

I watched a documentary on the burning of Bridget Cleary last on RTE Irsih network.

I found it very disturbing that such a thing could happen in Ireland.

Interesting but very very sad

lisa O'Sullivan

I watched a documentary on the burning of Bridget Cleary last on RTE Irsih network.

I found it very disturbing that such a thing could happen in Ireland.

Interesting but very very sad


" Would some Clews visitor kindly advise where you're hearing about the case?"

Last night I saw a programme on the history channel (Sky TV) called "The Burning of Bridget Cleary" and I felt it created far more questions than it answered, so I came here in search of some way to understand the unthinkable.

Susan Belcher

I am an amateur crime historian, and a teacher of criminal and forensic psychology. I found a reference to Bridget Cleary in a couple of old books about witch hunts and the yorkshire witch. These were only passing mentions, so I decided to google the case to see what happened, after all you can't teach something you don't know!


there was a program called "The Burning of Bridget Cleary" on the Crime and Investigation channel (237) today in the UK at 1:00 am.


documentry on crime and investigation channel on cable tv "the burning of bridget cleary" would be interesting to know what became of michael cleary.

Ita McDonnell

I came across a reference to poor Bridget in Cultural Studies 15(1) 2001, 33-57 written by Clair Wills. What an extordinary story.

Ita McDonnell

I came across a reference to poor Bridget in Cultural Studies 15(1) 2001, 33-57 written by Clair Wills. What an extordinary story.


Ms. Shauna Farrell, a delightful,lovely and very talented young lady whom I first met when she was about 2 years old, played Bridget Cleary in a play.

carole gill

There was a documentary on the case some months ago on the Crime and Investigation channel in the U.K., that's when I first heard about this frightening case. I see comments above with regard that.
I was shocked frankly.
I did read the excellent book, "The Burning of Bridget Cleary."
I don't think I will ever have the same warm cuddly feeling about fairy rings glowing at night on hills and all sorts of magical things happening.
Ignorance is always dangerous in my mind.
Never more so than in the case of the most unfortunate Bridget Leary.
Michael Cleary was so terribly ignorant, that I came away thinking he actually didn't begin to understand remotely the gravity of what he did (with others).
Ireland was horrified by the case--and it should in no way reflect badly on the people at that time.
This was an isolated place with very uneducated people. they actually, I believe, didn't know any better.
And I suppose that is what horrifies me the most about the case.

Lou Baldino

We are carrying the rememberance of Bridget Cleary through the music of our celtic band "Burning Bridget Cleary". The focal part of the band are 2 accomplished teenage fiddlers from Pa.,Rose and Genna.We had the pleasure to visit Bridget Cleary's cottage,aka "the fairy cottage", when we visited Ireland last year. Feel free to check out our website at and

Vincent Neville

I found a very interesting link,which, though it doesn't mention the case gives a history of Gender and the Insanity Defence in 19th Century Ireland

I am inclined to believe that the fairy theory was a cover up or a defence strategy. Most of their neighbours were literate and could read and write and would probably have been prosperous in a Little House in the Prairie way.

Vincent Neville

I posted a bit too quickly.

Here is a link to the Census of 1911 for the immediate area where the Clearys lived. By the standards of the time it was well off but it also notes the occupations and whether the residents could read and write. Most of the adults could. So they neither appear isolated or badly educated.


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