Murder, Mutiny & Mayhem

Murder, Mutiny & Mayhem

The Blackest-Hearted Villains from Irish History

This dramatic book explores the most obscure and unbelievable stories of the Irish who wreaked havoc from Rio de Janeiro to China – from slaves, mercenaries, drug lords and killers.

E-Book (ePub): €7.99
ISBN: 9781847175311

The Blackest-Hearted Villains from Irish History

The Irish are celebrated at home and abroad as explorers, freedom fighters and great writers and artists, but for every Tom Crean, Bernardo O'Higgins or James Joyce, there is a Hugh Gough, Antoine Walsh or Luke Ryan.

This book is about the Irish slavers, grave-robbers, duellists, conmen, drug-lords and killers who wreaked havoc around the world …


  • Beauchamp Bagenal from Carlow, an eighteenth-century duellist, hell-raiser, heart-breaker
  • Burke & Hare grave-robbers turned murderers who supplied cadavers to the medical schools of nineteenth-century Edinburgh
  • Antoine Walsh from Kilkenny who amassed huge fortunes in the French slave trade
  • Luke Ryan, a pirate & buccaneer born in Rush in 1750
  • Sir Hugh Gough, a Limerick man who commanded the British troops in the first Opium war against China
  • James ‘Sligo’ Jameson who was rumoured to have fallen into madness and cannibalism in the Congo in 1888 … and many more!
Joe O'Shea

Joe O'Shea is a journalist and broadcaster, originally from Cork but living and working in Dublin.

He has been writing for a range of national newspapers and broadcast media since he was 19-years-of age, first as a news reporter and then as a feature writer and columnist. He has also devised and presented TV programmes.

Joe has had a passion for history from a very young age. However, being raised on the stories of the great saints, missionaries, freedom fighters and politicians of the Irish diaspora, he was always fascinated by the dark side of Irish history, the Irish men and women who didn't cover themselves in glory, the thieves, traitors, pirates, pimps, mercenaries, killers, slavers and madmen.

In researching this book, he has discovered the forgotten stories of the inglorious Irish who laid waste to empires, transported countless thousands (including, in some cases, their own countrymen) into slavery and indulged in every vice and debased, evil impulse known to man. And he is a little envious.

a nineteenth century version of the Sunday World

Books Ireland

who could resist a book with a title like this? … a timely reminder that our gentle nation doesn’t always lay out a hundred thousand welcomes

Irish Voice

'imbibers of Jameson whiskey will be interested in the opening entry about a family member who was also a disturbingly devoted naturalist'

'readers who like their history told on a human scale—and with a little blood and backstabbing—will be entertained and educated'

'Natural storyteller and Dublin-based journalist O’Shea brings the past to life in 11 accounts of the “bad guys” of Irish history … fascinating'

'not for the faint-hearted but a real eye-opener'

The Mayo News

'will make a great stocking filler this Christmas'

Prudence Magazine

'if anyone wishes to maintain the delusion that we are an island of saints and scholars, they had best avoid this book'

Books Ireland

'O’Shea tells his stories with panache'

Books Ireland

'unlike many history books, it’s a brisk, enjoyable read'

Hot Press

'they definitely don’t teach this s*** in school'

Hot Press

'fascinating debut'

Hot Press

'should appeal to those interested in the less celebrated suns of Erin'

Sunday Business Post

'no shortage of ... despicable characters in this modern day penny dreadful'

Sunday Business Post

'anyone who thinks Louis Walsh is responsible for the worst Irish horrors visited upon the world should pick up a copy of Joe O’Shea’s book'

Sunday Business Post

'a fantastic cover'

Newstalk’s Moncrieff

'I absolutely love this'


'great achievement'

The Last Word

'hugely enjoyable'

Sunday World

'lifts the lid on an array of colourful misfits who caused chaos in years gone by'

Sunday World

'a fascinating new book'

Sunday World


Sunday World

'absolutely fascinating'

The Marian Finucane Show
Rights Held: World, all languages
Similar Titles: