The Maamtrasna Murders provides a cultural history of the events and subsequent impact of the renowned Maamtrasna murders from the perspective of language change in late nineteenth-century Ireland. Professor Kelleher takes the Maamtrasna case – one that is notorious for its failure to provide interpretation and translation services for monoglot Irish speakers – and examines broader sociolinguistic issues. Uncovering archival materials not previously consulted, this work illuminates a story that has proven to be much richer, `messier’, and a more intricate social narrative than previous commentators have recognized.
The Maamtrasna Murders moves Maamtrasna’s violation of human rights from a local to a global stage. While the wrongful execution of monolingual Myles Joyce would prove to be the best-known feature of the case, the complex significance of language-use in an isolated region mirrors the dynamics that continue to influence the fates of monolingual and bilingual people today.