Irish History Podcast


Women on Trial - The Alice Morton Divorce Case of 1920

Until 1981 a woman was considered the property of her husband under Irish law. A husband could even sue another man for damaging his property if he had an affair with his wife. Referred to as 'criminal conversation’ these trials were demeaning and humiliating for the women involved. 'Women on trial looks' looks at the story of Alice Morton.

When her marriage fell apart in 1919, she found herself at the centre of a sensational divorce and criminal conversation trial. When this developed into an early 20th century sex scandal, Alice went on the run rather than be subjected to such humiliation.

The episode follows Alice's story as she evaded private detectives, and a court system stacked against her.

Sound: Kate Dunlea

Additional Narrations: Aidan Crowe and Therese Murray

Read more about criminal conversation trials:

Adultery in the Courts: Criminal Conversation in Ireland by Niamh Howlin

Ireland’s criminal conversations by Diane Urquhart

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