EXPERT WORKSHOP: Child Incarceration in 19th Century Dublin by Aoife O’Connor.


On 9th November 2018, Aoife O’Connor gave an enlightening talk on the ‘human eco-system’ of 19th Century Dublin. She discusses whether the Police Act, by criminalising behaviours which could be thought of as mere high jinks, created the criminal class so feared by mid-century commentators?

Between 1860 and 1891, over twelve thousand children between the ages of seven and sixteen spent time in Dublin’s prisons. Pastimes such as playing pitch and toss, throwing snowballs, bathing, and playing football were recast as public nuisances and crimes by the 1842 Dublin Police Act. As Dublin had no dedicated juvenile prison, children were housed among the adult population with few concessions to their age.

Aoife O Connor is known for her National Library of Ireland exhibition and book Small Lives: Photographs of Irish Childhood 1850-1970. Her Masters thesis was entitled ‘The Children of Dublin’s Prisons 1859-1891, Containment and Confinement in the City’. Aoife is Head of Data Development at Findmypast and The British Newspaper Archive.


For those who were not able to make it, we have made the talk available as a podcast.

We would like to thank Aoife O’Connor for her time and a fascinating talk on child incarceration in 19th Century Dublin. 

Discover your family history.

Hire Us