Archive for January 10th, 2011

Review: Shadow of the Brotherhood: the Temple Bar Shootings

10 January 2011

Contributed by Ciaran Wallace

Barry Kennerk’s book deals with the events of October 31st, 1867 when Fenians shot two policemen on Dublin’s Temple Bar. The author uses this as the starting point for an investigation into Dublin’s Victorian underworld. Like the detectives whom he describes, Kennerk delves into the secret world of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), informers, prostitutes and beggars. He goes further however, leading the reader on a fascinating journey through the city’s medical, legal and political establishment.

The central ‘whodunit?’ is followed in painstaking detail, from minute descriptions of attackers, victims and witnesses, to the lighting arrangements in the courtroom. Indeed such is the evident depth of detail that one wonders whether presenting the story as an historical novel would have done greater justice to the extensive research and the writer’s apparent flair for mood and atmosphere.

The streets come alive in many parts of the book. Dublin’s tightly-packed and gossipy citizenry follow the shooting, and ensuing investigation and trial, with enthusiastic interest. Read more