Northern Ireland news

'Bad Bridget' podcast reveals stories of criminal and 'deviant' Irish women in North America

Dr Leanne McCormick from Ulster University and Dr Elaine Farrell from Queen's University Belfast

A NEW five-episode podcast series exploring the history and stories of criminal and `deviant' Irish women in North America has been launched by Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University.

Featuring Siobhán McSweeney, who plays Sr Michael in Derry Girls, the podcast episodes look at different aspects of life for Irish women who emigrated to North America between 1838 - 1918, including alcohol, poverty, pregnancy, motherhood outside marriage and sex work.

The final episode features Irish women who were convicted of murder, one of whom, Lizzie Halliday from Co Antrim, was dubbed 'the worst woman on earth' for her crimes.

The `Bad Bridget' podcast is based on the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project of the same name, led by Dr Leanne McCormick from UU and Dr Elaine Farrell from QUB, which focuses on the `sexually deviant' woman, the bad mother and the criminal Irish woman in Boston, New York and Toronto.

Compiled over five years, the research shows that while Irish women have been largely written out of the history of their adopted lands, they were often sent across the Atlantic alone, sometimes as young as the age of 11 and the money they sent back was a key resource for Irish families.

"We hope that bringing to light untold stories of Bad Bridget's shows the diverse experiences Irish girls and women had in North America," Dr Farrell said.

Dr McCormick said it explores how gender, age, ethnicity and prejudice played a role in their stories,

The ‘Bad Bridget’ podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify here: https://www.qub.ac.uk/Research/podcasts/bad-bridget/

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