Felo de Se, Gallows Sites in Dublin
Updated: Jan 20, 2020
This busy intersection on Dublin's Northside at the junction of Clonliffe road and Ballybough hides a truly dark and tragic secret. The site in picture with hoardings was a burial plot, nothing has ever been built on it. Buried here were executed thieves and highway men but mainly suicides. That is those found guilty of Felo de se. In English common law, up to the 1800's the "crime" of Felo de Se (meaning Felony against one’s self), set forth the penalties for those who committed suicide. Under that law, all of a person’s moveable property was forfeited to the Crown, their body was removed to waste lands – unconsecrated ground, near a crossroads, and buried with a stake through the heart. It’s unclear when this law was introduced into Ireland but it was recorded in the 17/18/19th Centuries. The Long Meadow at Islandbridge and the Crossroads (shown here) are two well known sites in Dublin. The good news is that plans are afoot to renovate and mark the Clonliffe road tragic spot.