TIME Crime

The Year They Cancelled St. Patrick’s Day

Chicago's St. Patrick's Day parade
Tim Boyle—Getty Images The St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago on Mar. 11, 2000

It happened in Chicago in 1890. The reason was murder

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Today Saint Patrick’s Day is a broadly inclusive festival associated with fun, frivolity and, in Chicago, turning the river green. Chicago’s first Saint Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1843 when the city was a mere six years old and the population about 8,000. By 1890, Chicago’s population had swollen to over one million and 17 percent of the city (or almost 180,000 people) were either Irish-born or had one parent born in Ireland.

In this period, Saint Patrick’s Day was an exclusively Irish (or Irish-American) affair, celebrated with a parade, dinners and balls, but for some there was a purpose to it that went beyond mere celebration. In the 1880s, radical Irish Americans flocked to join Clan na Gael —a secret revolutionary society devoted to using force to secure Ireland’s freedom from Britain. Winning Irish independence by force was a costly enterprise and so, while time was spent plotting and planning, writing manifestos, stockpiling dynamite, and penning newspaper columns, fundraising was also a key priority for the Clan. The chief fundraising activities were picnics, balls, and fairs, and Saint Patrick’s Day was just one of the several days promoted by the United Irish Societies of Chicago (UISC), an umbrella group representing many Irish and Irish American organizations, but run by the Clan. In addition to Saint Patrick’s Day, committed Irish republicans also celebrated Robert Emmet’s birthday (March 4); the Feast of the Assumption and the anniversary of Hugh O’Neill’s victory at the Battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598 (August 15); and the anniversary of the execution of the Manchester Martyrs in 1867 (November 23).

During the 1880s, Saint Patrick’s Day was marked with enthusiasm by the Irish and thousands attended functions in halls across the city. The halls were decked out with green ribbon and concerts of Irish traditional music and rebel songs took place. Republican songs such as “The wind that shakes the barley” and “The rising of the moon” were particular favorites. Most popular of all was T. D. Sullivan’s “God Save Ireland,” written in 1867 and inspired by the last words of the Manchester Martyrs as they were led from the dock after being sentenced to death.

It was set to the tune of the American Civil War song “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp!” and by the early 1870s it was regularly referred to as the Irish national anthem. At the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in 1888, Clan member and medical doctor Patrick Cronin led the crowd in a rendition of the song so loud “that the rafters shook and the [building] seemed in serious danger of collapsing . . . and the street-car horses on Madison Street shied as they passed a block away.”

For Irish nationalists in Chicago the warmer weather associated with the August 15 celebrations meant that an annual picnic was organized. From 1876 this picnic was held at Ogden’s Grove, near the junction of North and Halsted, far from the working-class centers of south Chicago but within walking distance for many living on the north side of the city. If eating, drinking, dancing, and speeches full of fire and brimstone could defeat Britain then Irish chances of success were high. As “Mr Dooley,” the comic, fictional creation of Finley Peter Dunne, wryly observed: “There’s wan thing about th’ Irish iv this town…they give picnics that does bate all. Be hivins if Ireland cud be freed be a picnic, it ‘d not on’y be free to-day, but an impre [empire].” Thousands attended the picnics, designed in large part as a social gathering for families. Entertainment was laid on for adults and children. There was Irish dancing, alongside the “usual paraphernalia” of merry-go-rounds, fat men’s races, thin men’s races, three-legged races, girls’ sack races, long jumps and high jumps, the wheel of fortune, putting the shot and throwing the hammer, lung testers, and “try your weights.” Stalls sold food and drink and in the evening, following the inevitable political speechmaking, bands played a range of Irish and American dance tunes and the celebrations often culminated with a firework display.

The following decade, things were rather different. In Chicago, Saint Patrick’s Day 1890 came and went without any parade. No Patrick Cronin sang “God Save Ireland,” no rafters shook, no horses shied. Why were the Irish so silent that year? In a word: murder. In May 1889, Dr. Cronin had been summoned from his surgery on an emergency. A man had been injured at Patrick O’Sullivan’s icehouse in Lake View and Dr. Cronin was called to help. However, the call for aid turned out to be a ruse. Cronin was lured to an isolated cottage where he was brutally murdered and his naked and beaten body stuffed into a sewer where it was discovered several weeks later.

The police investigation, and subsequent murder trial, captivated the press and public both in Chicago and beyond. It soon became apparent that Cronin’s murder was the result of an internal dispute within Clan na Gael and fingers were quick to point at Alexander Sullivan, the leader of the Clan. Sullivan was never charged with Cronin’s murder but the press coverage surrounding the case forced Clan na Gael and its activities into the limelight. After such public exposure, the society’s ability to act as an effective fundraiser for Irish republicanism was greatly diminished. Many Irish in Chicago had joined Clan na Gael not because they had any overriding interest in Irish nationalism, but as a way of securing a good job; they were primarily interested in what the Clan could do for them, not for what they could do for Ireland. Cronin’s murder forced them to make a political decision and large numbers walked away from involvement in any form of Irish nationalism.

Chicago’s Irish and Irish American population was divided by the Cronin murder—a split that lasted into the early years of the twentieth century —and, despite the conclusion of the murder trial in December 1889 (several of Sullivan’s supporters were convicted), there was no appetite for any celebration of all things Irish on March 17, 1890. In 1891 the Saint Patrick’s Day parade was revived but it was a subdued affair, and it was many years before Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated with the exuberance we see today.

Gillian O’Brien is a senior lecturer in History at Liverpool John Moores University and the author of “Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago” (Chicago, 2015). Follow her on Twitter @gillianmobrien or her personal blog: gillianmobrien@wordpress.com.

Read next: Nine Irish Photographers You Need to Follow

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

MONEY Odd Spending

10 Supposedly Irish Things That Aren’t Remotely Irish

Green Beer
Alex Hayden—Getty Images

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, millions will be embracing all things Irish. Wait, make that faux Irish—because many St. Patrick's "traditions" have nothing to do with Ireland or Irish culture.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, millions of Americans get their Irish on and partake in all sorts of seemingly Irish practices. They sing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and drink Guinness-infused concoctions with colorful names. Heck, some even start the day off with a bowl of magically delicious Lucky Charms because, you know, there’s a leprechaun on the box and all.

We hate to it break to you, but many St. Patrick’s Day mainstays are pure Americanized nonsense, including the following:

Shamrock Shake
Let’s hope you didn’t think this fast food favorite actually had Irish roots. The artificially green, mint-flavored McDonald’s Shamrock Shake first appeared in 1970—in the U.S., of course—and it’s been a periodic limited-time-only menu cult hit every year around St. Patrick’s Day ever since. For a brief time in the mid-1970s, McDonald’s used an obese furry green character named Uncle O’Grimacey, who looks like a mix between Grimace and Oscar the Grouch, to promote the Shamrock Shake. The 550-calorie product wasn’t available nationally until 2012, and McDonald’s Ireland lists the Shamrock Shake as “NEW” on its menu.

Killian’s Irish Red
Like a few other seemingly imported beers that are actually made in the U.S.A., Killian’s Irish Red ale has been brewed exclusively in America for decades. Coors purchased the name in 1980, and the suds are made in factories in Colorado.

Lucky Charms
Um, no. Despite this cereal’s magically delicious leprechaun mascot and his over-the-top brogue, Lucky Charms is made by the giant Minneapolis-based food manufacturer General Mills and has nothing to do with Ireland or Irish culture. The traditional Irish breakfast has sausages, pudding, eggs, browned bread, and cooked tomatoes, not colored marshmallows.

Female Leprechauns
If you run into a woman in a leprechaun costume—sexy or otherwise—on St. Patrick’s Day, be aware that she probably isn’t the genuine article. She probably has no pot ‘o gold either. Shocking, right? According to A History of Irish Fairies by Carolyn White, there is no record of lady leprechauns, which makes you wonder how these tiny figures procreate. Leprechauns are known to be quite clever, but still. Also mind-boggling: Before Friends, Jennifer Aniston’s career in Hollywood truly began with her role in the low-budget 1993 horror film Leprechaun. (She wasn’t a leprechaun though—that would be ridiculous.)

“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”
The beloved tune, memorably recorded by Bing Crosby among others, is often categorized as a traditional Irish folk song. In fact, it was written and composed by a trio of thoroughly American New Yorkers who were professional songwriters, for an extremely short-lived 1913 Broadway show called The Isle O’ Dreams.

Black Velvet
Don’t order this fancy cocktail concoction at a pub in Ireland if you want to make friends. Half Guinness Stout and half champagne, the black velvet was invented in the mid-nineteenth century not in Dublin or anywhere in Ireland but in London—as a tribute to the British royals no less. Specifically, the black velvet was created as an appropriately dark, mournful way to honor Prince Albert’s passing away in 1861. Oh, and that late ’80s hit song “Black Velvet”? It doesn’t have anything to do with Ireland either; it was written by Canadians and performed by Alannah Myles, also Canadian.

Irish Car Bomb
Car bombs were one of the weapons of choice used for decades during the Troubles of Northern Ireland, when thousands were killed. The term would never be used in Ireland as punchline, or as the provocative name of a cocktail, as it is in American bars, where a “car bomb” is a shot of Irish whiskey and Irish cream that’s dropped into a half-filled glass of Guinness.

Bennigan’s, Beef O’Brady’s, Tilted Kilt
None of these Irish- or Celtic-themed American bar-and-grill chains have origins in Ireland or are authentic to Irish pubs and cuisine. These restaurant concepts were born in Georgia, Florida, and Las Vegas, respectively, and none has locations in Ireland.

“St. Patty’s Day”
It’s still commonplace for the shortened version of the holiday to be spelled this way in America. However, spelling it so can get some people seriously fired up because in Ireland, “Patty” is short for Patricia, not Patrick. The true Irish spelling of “Patrick” is Pádraig, so the only way to shorten it is Paddy. One Irishman living in Canada went so far as to create the website PaddyNotPatty.com to hammer home that it should always be PADDY. How upset do the authentically Irish get when they see “Patty” used in place of Patrick? “It’s “like nails on a chalkboard,” the site explains. “It gnaws at them. It riles them up. It makes them want to fight… you know, more than usual.”

Green Beer
The Irish don’t bother with this foolish malarkey. As one Irish ex-pat living in America explained it when being interrogated about real St. Patrick’s Day customs back home, “If you dyed beer green in Ireland, they’d punch you.”

TIME On Our Radar

Nine Irish Photographers You Need to Follow

The country is emerging as a photography powerhouse

It is said, often with tongue firmly in cheek, that while Ireland produces literature and theater that punches well above its weight, the nation rarely makes it to the ring when it comes to the visual arts. In polite Dublin circles, explanations are occasionally wheeled out: as a traditionally oral, storytelling culture, the word usually gets precedence over the image; that as the country emerged from British rule, it shirked some forms of visual experimentation, seeing them as bourgeois.

Others have challenged this apparent orthodoxy — like writer Justin Carville — pointing to the country’s rich, if sometimes forgotten, homegrown visual and photographic history — one that exists outside images of green hills etched in the minds of tourists.

“There is definitely a massive, well-informed arts scene here in terms of artists and curators,” says Angel Luis Gonzalez Fernandez, founder and director of the annual Photo Ireland festival. “But photography, perhaps, has been considered the little sister of the arts until recently.”

“Things are changing quickly,” he adds. “Since the 1980s, photographers here have helped develop university programs in photography, which has, in turn, helped generate young practitioners. Now there is a more dynamic scene — it’s almost like a kind of harvest period.”

Indeed, photographers such as Richard Mosse — who received widespread acclaim for his powerful infrared work from the Democratic Republic of Congo — have thrust Irish photography onto the global stage. With that in mind, and to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, TIME presents its choice of the most exciting Irish photographers working today.

Ross McDonnell (Dublin, 1979) As anti-government protests escalated in Kiev, Ukraine in early 2014, Dubliner Ross McDonnell was on the front line producing stirring documentary photography. His view through a smashed bus window in the capital gave readers a sublime, otherworldly view of the unrest and was later chosen by TIME as one of the top 10 photographs of 2014. McDonnell, who also works as a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker, produces rich, cinema-like still images while seeming to direct photographically inspired video.

Kim Haughton (Dublin, 1974) A multi-award winning photographer, Dublin-born Haughton’s work is at once sparse and textured. Her Shadowlands series documented the nation’s ghost estates — housing subdivisions left unfinished after the country’s economic crash in 2008 — and became a visual byword for its post-boom years. An image from the series was chosen by the Guardian as one of only 11 representing history of Europe from 1945 to 2011 and TIME recently featured her haunting work documenting the sites where child abuse took place throughout the country.

Lorcan Finnegan (Dublin, 1979) A seasoned photographer, motion designer, editor and film director, Finnegan worked for British journalist and commentator Charlie Brooker‘s production company for several years. Now, with a love for the gnarlier side of life, he takes to the streets of Dublin with his cellphone in search of the delightfully off-beat. His popular Instagram account often sees him turn his lens on elderly men and women making their way around the city’s markets — giving us a view of the capital that most tourists, and indeed most locals, hardly ever see. Finnegan published a selection of his mobile photography in his first book GRANNYFASHION in 2014.

Rich Gilligan (Dublin, 1981) In Rituals, Gilligan captures life in Dublin’s inner city and in the expansive outer suburb of Ballymun. Famous for its soaring tower blocks, Ballymun was often seen as the jewel in the crown of failed government social housing experiments before it got a complete overhaul in the mid-to-late 2000s. Here, Gilligan masterfully documents the quotidian in these marginalized communities, his lens bringing both warmth and affection to places often avoided by the city’s po-faced middle class. Gilligan has worked as a contributing photographer for magazines like I-D and Nylon and TIME recently featured his work on homemade skateparks.

Anthony Haughey (Armagh, 1963) Haughey is perhaps one of Ireland’s best-known photographers. A lecturer and PhD supervisor in one of the country’s most prominent photography courses, his powerful, moving work deals with issues arising in conflict and border areas. His series Aftermath discusses the effects of the Northern Irish conflict on the border county of Louth in the Republic of Ireland. Excavation, a film he made in Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide, is currently on show in Limerick, Ireland.

Shannon Guerrico (Paris, 1983) Irish-Argentinian Guerrico is a fine art photographer based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work has been exhibited in Ireland, France and many other countries. She often uses existing paintings or illustrations as a jumping off point for her art, with many being photographs of illustrations which are later altered. Her body of work, which ranges from beautiful scientific-seeming still life images to intriguing portraits of what look like dissected body parts, is perhaps unified by her problematizing of the subjects before her lens: very often we are not sure what we are looking at.

Niall O’Brien (Dublin, 1979) O’Brien’s series Porn Hurts Everyone, like much of his work, is infused with a dreamy suburban languidness. Here, teenagers and twenty-somethings seem immersed in a largely parent-free world, one in which adults sometimes feature as wacky fringe elements or, in his others series, as anonymous disciplinarians. Born and educated in the Irish capital but resident in London, the photographer has an eye for Americana, which he captures with care — he often spends years curating his own projects — and with a clear respect for his subjects.

Kieran Doherty (Dover, 1968) Doherty, who spent years working as a Reuters wire photographer, has covered everything from the conflict in Northern Ireland to the immediate aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and from the Olympic Games to the Wimbledon Championships. He bagged first place in the sports stories category at World Press Photo this year for the series Ground Pass Holders — a title referring to a sort of steerage-level ticket for Wimbledon that only allows holders to walk through the alleys between the main tennis courts. The images are a warm, playful side look at an event that Doherty himself covered in a straight-up fashion for years.

Jack Caffrey (Dublin, 1977) A photo editor and photographer for the Irish Farmers Journal, Caffrey’s popular Instagram account is one of Ireland’s most captivating feeds. As beautiful as they are frank, Caffrey’s images show us an Irish capital of bold colors, big skies and quirky ephemera. Caffrey has worked as a press photographer documenting the ever changing landscape of Irish agriculture and he was recently made a contributor for BBC Worldwide’s travel section. His photography will also feature in the World Wildlife Fund Magazine Summer 2015 edition.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox

TIME Ireland

Irish PM Slams Tony Abbott for Offensive St. Patrick’s Day Video

Tony Abbott drew widespread scorn for comments such as "this is the one day of the year when it’s good to be green”

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny admits to being irked by a St. Patrick’s Day video posted by his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott, saying it perpetuates a “stage Irish perception.”

In an extremely cringeworthy clip, the Australian Prime Minister highlights his green tie, makes quips about “being green” and says how he wants to celebrate the day by drinking lots of Guinness.

“This is the one day of the year when it’s good to be green,” he says, in reference to his regressive environmental policies. “I’m sorry I can’t be there to share a Guinness or two, or maybe even three, but like you, I do rejoice in St Patrick’s Day.”

After attending a meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Kenny told reporters that he didn’t agree with Abbott’s remarks.

“There has been a long-term view of a stage Irish perception. I reject that,” he said, reports the Irish Times.

He went on to say that people should enjoy St. Patrick’s Day celebrations responsibly.

“I think it’s really important that we understand that we have a national day that can be celebrated worldwide, St Patrick’s Day.”

Abbott drew widespread scorn for the video address, with members of the Irish community describing his comments as “patronizing.”

“It’s been said of us that the English made the laws, the Scots made the money and the Irish made the songs,” he said in the video.

TIME Internet

New Google Doodle Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day

Get out your green clothes and let the Guinness flow

It’s the day of the year when everything goes green — clothes, rivers and maybe even beer — St. Patrick’s Day, that wonderful, joyous and typically bacchanalian Irish holiday that Google is celebrating with a doodle of fiddling, dancing shamrocks.

The holiday, also known as the Feast of St. Patrick, commemorates a man considered a patron saint of Ireland and bringer of Christianity to the nation. According to a religious document called the Declaration, Patrick was kidnapped from Britain at age 16 by Irish pirates and taken back to the Emerald Isle as a slave. He “found God” while working as a shepherd there, and the Almighty told him to go to the coast where there would be a ship to take him home.

Upon his return, Patrick became a priest and then crossed the sea once again to convert thousands of Irishmen to Christianity. March 17, celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day, is believed to have been the day he died. He is also credited for banishing all snakes from his adopted home, chasing them into the sea after he was set upon during a 40-day fast he was enduring atop a hill.

This year’s Google Doodle is even more special, because it is the first time the company has enlisted an Irish native to create one for St. Patrick’s Day.

“I just wanted it to be simple,” Arklow-based illustrator Eamon O’Neill, who submitted four ideas after Google approached him, told the Irish Times.

TIME Ireland

Ecstasy Legal in Ireland for 48 Hours Due to Court Loophole

And magic mushrooms

The Irish legislature was scrambling Tuesday to pass an emergency measure after a loophole in a court decision legalized a host of drugs, including ecstasy and magic mushrooms.

The Irish Court of Appeal declared Tuesday morning that a section of the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act, which regulated the now-legal drugs, unconstitutional, according to the Irish Times. A new bill criminalizing the drugs, if passed, will not take effect in the country until Thursday at 12 a.m.

“All substances controlled by means of Government Orders made under section 2(2) cease to be controlled with immediate effect, and their possession ceases to be an offence,” read a statement issued by Ireland’s Department of Health. “These include ecstasy, benzodiazepines and new psychoactive substances, so-called ‘headshop drugs.'”

It is, however, still illegal to sell the drugs. Other drugs that were outlawed with earlier legislation, like cocaine, heroin and marijuana, remain banned.

[The Irish Times]

Read next: This New Drug Turns ‘Bad’ White Fat Into ‘Good’ Brown Fat

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Ireland

Irish Minister for Health Announces He’s Gay

Irish Health minister Leo Varadkar, 36, who has publicly come out as gay, pictured here on Dec. 27, 2013.
Brian Lawless—Press Association/AP Irish Health minister Leo Varadkar, 36, who has publicly come out as gay, pictured here on Dec. 27, 2013.

The country is set to hold a referedum on marriage equality in May

Just months before Ireland is due to hold a referendum on marriage equality, the country’s minister for health has come out during a radio interview. Leo Varadkar told RTÉ Radio 1, an Irish radio station, that he was gay and would be campaigning in support of same-sex marriage in the lead up to the referendum in May.

“It’s not a secret — but not something that everyone would necessarily know, but it isn’t something I’ve spoken publicly about before,” he said during the Jan. 18 interview. “I just kind of want to be honest with people. I don’t want anyone to think that I have a hidden agenda.”

He added: “I’d like the referendum to pass because I’d like to be an equal citizen in my own country, the country in which I happen to be a member of Government, and at the moment I’m not.”

Ireland decriminalized homosexuality 22 years ago and same-sex couples have been able to enter a civil partnership since 2011, but not marry.


TIME Canada

Hero of Ottawa Attack Gets Rewarded With Ambassadorship

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa
Chris Wattie—Reuters Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014.

Kevin Vickers will become the Canadian ambassador to Ireland

The sergeant-at-arms of Canada’s House of Commons who took down the gunman in the October attack is now being rewarded for his bravery with the post of Ambassador to Ireland.

Kevin Vickers has little experience in diplomacy outside of protecting visiting dignitaries — including members of the British royal family — but his actions so impressed Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he was deemed well equipped for the (currently vacant) job.

“I think [his actions] speak for themselves and speak to his character, and I know he will do a tremendous job as ambassador,” said Prime Minister Harper.

“As a Canadian with family on both sides hailing from Ireland,” said Vickers, “there could be no greater honor.”


TIME Ireland

The Irish Parliament Looks Set to Recognize a Palestinian State

John Harper—Getty Images Irish Parliament in Dublin

Ireland would be joining the U.K., France, Spain and other countries in extending symbolic recognition

The Irish government accepted a motion Tuesday calling for the symbolic recognition of Palestinian statehood “on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, as established in U.N. resolutions.”

On Wednesday, members of the lower house of the Oireachtas, or Irish Parliament, will continue debating the nonbinding bill, which is being put forward by the opposition, Reuters reports. A government spokesman said it would not oppose the motion.

“Recognizing the independent state of Palestine would be a symbolically important expression of Ireland’s support for the people of Palestine’s right to self determination,” said member of Parliament Dominic Hannigan, according to the Irish Examiner.

The Irish upper house passed a similar resolution in October.

Spain, the U.K. and France, have also passed symbolic votes of recognition, however some European countries have gone a step further and officially recognize a Palestinian state, with Sweden recently becoming the largest European nation to do so.

TIME portfolio

See Haunting Photos of the Sites of Child Abuse

The very ordinariness of both the context and the location of child abuse in Ireland struck photographer Kim Haughton as profoundly disturbing.

In a damning 2009 report, Ireland’s independently-run Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse – which spent nine years investigating thousands of allegations of abuse at religious-run institutions – spoke of a culture of “endemic sexual abuse” in the country’s Catholic boys’ schools and of the “deferential and submissive attitude” of the Irish state towards the religious orders who ran them.

What emerged from the investigation, and from a separate Dublin-specific inquiry concluded the same year, was that institutional child abuse was widespread and that it had occurred not only in schools, but in many places where young people were in the care of religious orders. The commissions also revealed that very often when children reported the abuse, they were largely ignored and even punished, with many of the adult perpetrators being relocated to new parishes by church officials. The state, too, had willfully turned a blind eye.

For victims like Andrew Madden – one of the first people in Ireland to have gone public about the molestation he suffered – much of the abuse happened in the living room of Father Ivan Payne’s ordinary looking house in the middle-class Dublin suburb of Glasnevin. Madden had worked weekend odd jobs for the priest, a common arrangement in many Irish towns, and like many children in the care of religious figures mentioned in the report, had been abused on a regular basis.

It was the very ordinariness of both the context and the location in Madden’s case, and in many others, that struck photographer Kim Haughton as profoundly disturbing. This was molestation that was at once hidden and woven into the fabric of everyday life. Abuse that was, in effect, ignored while happening in plain sight.

“So much of this happened in places like schools and churches, and in homes,” she tells TIME. “I consider these images of seemingly ordinary spaces as crime scenes — where the cruelest acts were carried out on vulnerable children; children that society had a responsibility to protect,” Haughton says.

And so she embarked on In Plain Sight, a project in which the sites of these abuses became the subjects of her lens. Here, the work would not be merely illustrative of the sorts of places where abuse occurred, but photographs of the actual sites where victims were molested. We see a parochial house, a local shop and a swimming pool – places that, when taken at face value, seem unremarkable.

To find the sites, she talked to abuse victims who were willing to share their stories and found out how and where the abuse occurred: “Finding people was a challenge but not as hard as listening to their experiences,” she says. “They endured so much. It is very difficult to drive away after somebody has shared profound life experiences with you.”

When revisited with the knowledge of what happened at each location, Haughton’s work seems to permeate with an uneasy stillness, the images transforming from long-silent witnesses of horror into a haunting cartography of extreme suffering. A visible record of abuse that can never be – and should never be – forgotten.

“The work, I hope, challenges us to confront these crimes in the context in which they happened,” Haughton adds, “everyday life.”

Kim Haughton is an Irish photographer based in New York. Her work has appeared in TIME, Vanity Fair, Financial Times, Business Week and The Guardian, among others.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for LightBox.

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