"Between 1841 and 1853, nearly 250 women were transported from Ireland to Van Diemen's Land on the other side of the world for committing arson... The arsonists were poor and actively sought to change their circumstances and improve their conditions. This book looks at the Irish experience of the arsonists, when and where they were tried and their motivation in committing arson. The book follows them to Van Diemen's Land and explores their colonial experience, when they were under sentence and when they were free. The story of the Irish arsonists is a remarkable one, challenging the idea that Irish convict women were passive victims, particularly during the years of the Great Famine. Using original records, this study reveals the reality of convict life together with the legacy left by these women in Tasmania and beyond."--Back cover.