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STRANGE DISCOVERY IN JAIL, A NAAS GIRL'S DISGUISE

 
Leinster Leader, March 3rd 1889
 
Strange Discovery in Jail A Naas Girl’s Disguise
 
 
 On a Saturday afternoon an extraordinary discovery was made in Kilmainham Jail. A prisoner named John Bradley, convicted in the Southern Police Court of vagrancy and sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment, was found to be a woman. On Friday evening a police constable on duty on Wellington Road saw a person who he believed to be a young man of twenty years of age wandering in the locality. He arrested the wayfarer on a charge of vagrancy, and on Saturday the accused was brought before Mr. C.L O’Donel, and sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment. On being lodged in Kilmainham prison, the prisoner refused to comply with a warder’s order to prepare for a bath, and persisted in the refusal for some time. In the end the poor creature, with tears in her eyes, pleaded that she was a woman. The warders then desisted and a female employee in the prison corroborated the prisoner’s statement. Afterwards the girl was removed to Grangegorman prison, where only females were detained. Since the discovery the prisoner gave to those in charge of her some information as to her previous life. She was born in Naas about twenty-four years ago. Her father she does not remember, and her earliest recollections are of herself (as “John Bradley”) and her mother residing in a house in New Row, off Francis-street, Dublin. Her mother supported them both by working as a laundress, and sent “her son” as the poor girl was known in the neighbourhood, to the Christian Brothers’ school in Francis-street, where she remained for several years. As far as she knew she had never been dressed as a girl, and she did not remember being called by any name other than that of “John Bradley.” This deception was at the desire of her mother, of whom she spoke in terms of deep affection, and on her death a few months ago she did not care to make a change. Since then she had been living on £10 or £12 left her by her mother, but the sum being expended, she was on Saturday last seeking on the Wellington Road some person who had been in debt to her parent, when she was placed under arrest. She had scarcely ever done any work, except that of assisting her mother, carrying water, &c, and, in consequence, when her money was done she felt quite helpless. She does not know the reason of her mother having been desirous that she should appear a boy, but she believes that some person was paying them a periodical sum, and argues that they, whoever they were, would likely prefer to pay for a boy than for a girl. On being received into Grangegorman jail the prisoner was dressed in women’s clothes, in which she seemed to be awkward and uncomfortable. She is stated by those who have seen her to have a very good address and pleasing voice. Her hair is dark, her complexion pale, and her face lighted up with a pair of expressive eyes. -
Freeman 

The strange discovery of a Naas girl's disguise is recounted by the Leinster Leader of March 1889. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.


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