The Right Coast

September 15, 2004
Phoenix Park Murders
By Maimon Schwarzschild

No scalpels whatsoever: just knives, deployed in conventional stabbing-murder fashion. The Phoenix Park murders in Dublin were committed on May 6, 1882, by members of the "Invincibles", a small Fenian splinter group. The murderers' real target had been Thomas Henry Burke, Permanent Undersecretary in the Irish Office, himself an Irish Catholic, hence a traitor in the eyes of the Invincibles. The Chief Secretary, Burke's boss, Lord Frederick Cavendish, was walking with Burke when the killers struck, and he was murdered as well. The killings horrified Victorian Dublin: supporters of Home Rule, in general, certainly did not want to be associated with terrorism.