From the Irish Times, Thursday, September 7th, 1876:-
Alas, no more is known about James Daly and his theatrical endeavours. It seems he never again appeared in Grafton Street in female dress, or, if he did, his disguise must have been more convincing. Personating a woman was just a misdemeanour, usually let off with a warning; if you got caught too many times, though, you might end up being prosecuted for buggery like Frederick William Parks, the ‘Fanny’ of the famous ‘Stella and Fanny’ trial involving two London youths, photo above.
I can’t find a photo of James Daly, so I can’t say whether he made a, for want of a better word, striking woman, like Mr Parks, or a convincingly pretty one, like Mr Parks’ co-accused Ernest Boulton (‘Stella’), photo below.
Despite the Parks/Boulton buggery trial having taken place to much kerfuffle in 1870, only a few years previously, the judge in Mr Daly’s case appears to have been more concerned with theft than anything else. A case of Irish tolerance or simply a refusal to recognise that a man might want to dress up in women’s clothes for reasons other than the commission of a felony… who knows?
Probably the most famous 19th century cross-dressers with an Irish connection were the American Russell brothers (pic below). As with Mr Daly, the objection to them (most famously made in the heckling campaign initiated by the wonderfully named Society for the Prevention of the Ridiculous and Perversive Interpretation of the Irish Character) was not the cross-dressing, but that – unforgivable sin – they made fun of Irishwomen - the fact that they also raised their dresses on stage and performed rear-end kicks being merely venal in comparison..
Poor James Daly, though, with his nights in the cells and his tears in the dock. I’m glad he cheered up by the end of the case. I hope he didn’t suffer too much public opprobrium as a result. The dress was probably ruined, too.