The last witch trial on the island of Ireland

The last witch trial on the island of Ireland

A plaque commemorating nine people convicted of witchcraft more than 300 years ago has been unveiled at the Gobbins Visitor Centre.

The Islandmagee witch trial took place in 1711 and is believed to have been the last witch trial to take place anywhere on the island of Ireland. 

Eight women were put on trial and subsequently found guilty of exercising witchcraft on the body of another local, Mary Dunbar. 

The women were tried under the Irish 1586 Witchcraft Act and found guilty by a jury at County Antrim’s Criminal Assize Court held in Carrickfergus on 31 March 1711. They were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and to be pilloried four times on market day for six hours.

They were: Janet Carson, Janet Latimer, Janet Main, Janet Millar, Margaret Mitchell, Catherine McCalmond, Janet Liston and Elizabeth Sellor.

A Dublin Newspaper reported on 24 April 1711 that Mary died of unknown causes shortly after the trial.

The last suspect, William Sellor, father to Elizabeth Sellor and husband to Janet Liston, was found guilty of Mary’s bewitchment at the same court on 11 September 1711. 


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.