William Charles Waddell served as coroner of north County Monaghan for over three decades. His detailed inquest reports, spanning over 31 years, not only chart the evolving role of the coroner in this crucial period in Irish history, they also highlight some of the social, economic and political contexts of the Famine crisis and the post-Famine decades in County Monaghan.
Waddell’s inquests expose abuses of power and authority during a time when the county’s political life was controlled by a landowning, conservative elite. They helped to reveal to the public the injustice and corruption at the heart of county society.
Michelle McGoff-McCann, using Waddell’s life and work as a case study, provides a unique and original social history of County Monaghan for this period. She offers innovative insights into the local impacts of famine and poverty and the role of the local elites, and shows how these extraordinary inquest reports cast new light on the nature of local community life in the turbulent nineteenth century.
About the Author: Michelle McGoff-McCann received her PhD from Queen’s University Belfast in 2019. She has been researching, writing, and speaking on the history of County Monaghan in the nineteenth century and William Charles Waddell and his casebooks for twenty-one years.