Remembering: The Invincibles

The Invincibles are a radical splinter group of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, active during the 1880s.

In Dublin, May 6, 1882, they assassinate Lord Frederick Cavendish, British Secretary for Ireland and his undersecretary Thomas Henry Burke in Phoenix Park.

A large number of suspects are arrested. By playing off one suspect against another, Dublin Metropolitan Police gets several of them to reveal what they know. The Invincibles’ leader, James Carey, agrees to testify against the others.

Joe Brady, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey, Dan Curley and Tim Kelly are hanged in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin between May 14 and June 4, 1883. Others are sentenced to serve long prison terms.


James Carey, the informant, is shot dead on board the ‘Melrose Castle’ off Cape Town, South Africa, on July 29, 1883, by Donegal man Patrick O Donnell, for giving evidence against his former comrades.

Patrick O’Donnell is apprehended and escorted back to London, where he is convicted of murder at the Old Bailey and hanged on December 17, 1883.


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