History is written by the victors and this is particularly the case when it comes to witchcraft. The term has benign connotations today. It evokes Halloween costumes and old crones casting spells. These harmless tropes mask a murderous history.

Since the late Middle Ages tens of thousands of people have been executed for witchcraft in Europe and North America. Had these supposed witches had the chance to shape history the term witch would carry a very different meaning.

While the majority of trials and executions took place in Germany, Britain and New England, this playlist details two famous Irish cases which reveal a very different history than we are often told.

Alice Kyteler was accused of witchcraft in the 1320s while Bridget Cleary faced similar accusations in the 1890s. While they are separated by nearly 500 years there are striking similarities between the cases.

Both women were accused by people unsettled by a changing world, anxious about the future and resentful towards powerful women who would not conform to societal norms.

In this playlist you can hear podcasts on both Alice and Bridget, who accused them and how these accusations had deadly consequences. While their cases are separated by nearly six centuries, Kyteler and Cleary shared more in common than you might expect. We can only imagine what meaning the term witch might have had they had the chance to influence their own history.

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