the 'pig' Dublin's 'Jack the Ripper' ?
While the area known as "The Liberties" was always
regarded as part of the real old Dublin, there was a time
in the 18th century when it had its own dark story to tell.
Most of the older generation have read or heard of the London
murders committed by an unknown murderer called "Jack
the Ripper" who killed several women in that city.
While the police eventually discovered that all the women
killed were "Ladies of the Night" or to put it
another way, prostitutes, the murders caused a panic in
the city for a while and then stopped. It was never known
who the 'Ripper' really was although several were suspected.
Now we will return to the story of the Liberties and Dublin.
A woman had been found murdered and after a short time the
police found who the alleged murderer was and he was brought
to trial and sentenced to death. The man's name was Olocher
and he cheated the hangman when he committed suicide in
the prison. This caused uproar in the prison with the authorities
questioning the prison officials on how it happened.
Within a few days, the prison staff had another worry on
their minds. One of the sentry posts, a little removed from
the main prison, had a sentry on duty every night and imagine
the shock when he was found lying unconscious on the ground.
He had been badly mauled and when he recovered his senses
he told his listeners that he had been attacked by a big
black pig. At first, no one believed his story but when
he was stripped in the prison hospital, his wounds were
so horrible that some began to believe him.
The prison staff was now on full alert and set to make sure
nothing else happened but they had another shock coming.
About a week after the happening to the first sentry, another
sentry detailed for duty at the same lonely post was missing
when his relief came to replace him. A search was at once
organised and the man's clothes were discovered at the rear
of the sentry box. His rifle was standing with the butt
on the ground and his clothes, uniform, tunic, trousers
and shirt were piled beside it. The news of the second strange
happening in the prison spread quickly and now a fear of
the night spread through the Liberties and well it might
for woman after woman who was foolish enough to go out on
their own were attacked night after night.
The fear that haunted the Liberties soon spread to other
parts of the city and it was noticed that it was always
young women who were attacked. The name used by people for
the attacker changed to 'The Dolocher'. This name came from
the things which had happened in the prison after Olocher
who had a reputation for attacks on women along with other
crimes committed suicide. (The prison, which was known as
'the Black Dog Prison" at the time stood on Thomas
Street, not far from Brown's Castle).
Some of the girls who were attacked told that their attacker
had the face of a pig. By this time Dublin was deserted
city at night time, a city that trembled with fear as the
long winter nights shrouded the unlighted streets of the
Liberties and other parts of Dublin. Eventually, the long
nights ended and with the coming of late spring and summer,
the attacks ended. As the longs days and short nights began
to end with the coming of late autumn, people hoped and
prayed the evil monster that had prowled there last winter
would not return. The nights of November saw their hopes
dashed as on a foggy night another young woman was attacked
and her cries for help were heard and the attacker fled.
But the girl's story was that her attacker was "the
The fear that had been over the people the previous year
returned and some families barred their doors at night time.
A couple of weeks passed and a couple more women were attacked
and then the weather took a hand. It was a late November
evening but fine, and a blacksmith from the edge of the
Liberties decided to take a walk to his favourite tavern
in Thomas Street for a drink and a chat with his friends.
Time passed quickly and the blacksmith decided it was time
to go home. When he came out of the tavern, he discovered
it was raining and as he had brought no coat with him, he
returned to the tavern owner for the loan of something to
keep the rain off him. The tavern owner gave him a long
hooded cloak belonging to his wife. The blacksmith set off
to walk home through the dark streets and alleyways of the
Liberties. He had just reached the end of a dark alleyway
when a figure sprang at him and attempted to punch him to
the ground. In a flash, he realised that his attacker was
the black pig, while the black pig realised that this was
no frail woman as he had thought because he was wearing
a cloak. In a few minutes, the blacksmith had his attacker
on the ground and then he pulled off the skin of a black
pig's head the man was wearing. By this time, three or four
men had arrived on the scene and thinking that it was another
attack on a woman had come as quickly as they could. They
were in no way gentle with him as they dragged him to his
feet and brought him to a police station. It was there the
next morning that the man was identified. He was the soldier
who had gone missing from his post in the prison.
Courtesy of Willie White and The Carlow Nationalist