Government census taking began in the early nineteenth century in Ireland. The first, and partial, census was carried out in 1813. This was followed in 1821 with the first complete countrywide census on 28 May. A new census was taken every 10 years after this date, up to 1911. The census for 1921 was never carried out because of the disarray caused by the War of Independence. Censuses for what is now the Republic of Ireland began in 1926.
The aim of the census was to understand the size and make-up of the Irish population to better inform government policy. As a consequence the range of questions asked, and information gathered, in each of the census returns 1821-1911 varied. In general they got progressively more detailed as new issues were felt important enough to analyse statistically.
The majority of Irish census returns from the nineteenth century were destroyed. The 1861-91 census returns were officially destroyed in their entirety, partly because of paper shortages at the outbreak of the World War in 1914. Earlier returns (1813-51) were mostly destroyed with the destruction of the Public Record Office at the outset of the Civil War in 1922.
But the statistical results from all these census returns were compiled into tables and printed for circulation among civil servants and politicians. From 1851 to 1911 these statistical tables and accompanying analysis were printed in a volume for each county for each year. It is these county reports that are reproduced here on CD-ROM or digital download.
Initially these tables recorded the numbers, ages and gender of the population by townland, civil parish and barony. These figures are important as they describe the changing circumstances of each district in Ireland and provide contextual information for family and social history. The reports usually list the change in population over the previous 10 years, so at a glance you can see the impact of the Famine in the 1851 reports. From 1871 the information gathered increased dramatically, and tables of statistics concerning "conjugal condition" (i.e. marital status), occupation, location of birth, disability, religious profession, education, emigration and foreigners appear.
The reports are far more than dry statistical tables. With this information the experience and composition of a townland can be tracked over the decades. Families and individuals were part of a wider townland community, and knowing that history can help researchers assess the social environment of a family. This provides essential background and context for any family history.
This collection of official census reports for County Leitrim includes the following years: 1851, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911. Together these reports come to 463 pages.
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The Irish Statistical Survey was carried out under the direction of the Royal Dublin Society. Each county was surveyed with the aim of determining the 'actual state, capabilities and defects of agriculture, manufactures and rural economy'. In practice the surveys contained a vast quantity of local information on almost every aspect of the county surveyed. Because these studies were carried out under central direction the quality of the information provided is good, and given their early date, they remain an invaluable source for the study of each county. They record many details about conditions in pre-Famine Ireland, including social and economic conditions, the growth of population and poverty, education, religion, history, the Irish language and local customs.
McParlan's study of Leitrim paints a very bleak and desperate picture of the county, a county that had its population exhausted by banishment, expatriation, misery and death. Those remaining were crippled by ignorance, despondency and suffering. The landlords, it is argued, would simply pursue their own agenda and that, in order for Leitrim and its people to be able to improve their circumstances, government intervention would be required.
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The Royal Commission on Labour commissioned the reports into the conditions of the Agricultural Labourer in the Poor Law Unions of Ireland, which were carried out primarily in the 1890s. The reports mirrored a survey that was carried out in England previous to the Irish reports. The results, particularly for many of the Poor Law Unions in the West of Ireland were shocking. They painted a picture that had changed little since the famine for the agricultural labourer. The report covered the issues of Supply of Labour, the Conditions of Engagement, Wages and Earning, Cottage Accommodation, Gardens, Benefit Societies, Trade Unions, General Relations and General Conditions.
The areas covered in this particular report are the Poor Law Unions of Cookstown (Co. Tyrone), Ballyshannon (Counties Donegal, Fermanagh and Leitrim), Ardee (Counties Louth and Meath), Downpatrick (Co. Down), Clones (Counties Monaghan and Fermanagh), Letterkenny (Co. Donegal), Limavady (Co. Derry), Ballymena (Co. Antrim), Castleblayney (Counties Armagh and Monaghan), Dromore West (Co. Donegal) and Ballymahon (Counties Longford and Westmeath). Because of the geographical spread covered the results vary with Limavady, Downpatrick, Ballymeena and Cookstown classed as good; Ballymahon, Ballyshannon and Dromore West as poor. In some cases the cottages were little more than mud cabins, which may have had up to 8 people living in them. However, this can be contrasted with areas that give very "favourable accounts". Each report is accompanied by detailed statistical returns as well as comments by several of the leading gentlemen of the area. Information was also collected from the labourers themselves, and often their condition is described in some detail, giving their name, address and other personal details. Common themes throughout the reports are the decreasing number of labourers owing to emigration and the lack of winter work. In cases where the conditions were poor much of the blame was placed on the laziness and lack of thrift of the labourers.
This report is fascinating insight into a class of Irish life that was slowly disappearing which is already evident from the evidence supplied. The large area covered makes it particularly interesting, as the differing standards are all too easy to observe. This report offers a vital insight into the social and economic conditions of the country as it approached the 20th century.
This is one of earliest full commercial directories of Ireland, and includes over 220 urban centres throughout the island. Organised by Province, and then town, it lists all the principal office holders, gentry, professionals, tradesmen, hotels, schools, public institutions, churches, and even pubs for each town in Ireland. There is a description of each Province and town as well. This was Pigot's much-expanded second edition (the previous version dated 1820) and is now extremely rare.
This title includes the Introductory sections, and the Connaught section only.
Lewis gives details about every parish, town and village in Ireland, including numbers of inhabitants, the economy, history, topography, religion and parish structures, administration and courts, schools, and much more. He also gives the names of the principal inhabitants (generally landlords, merchants and professionals).
This Dictionary is in four parts:
· Preface & Subscribers
· Volume 1: A-G
· Volume 2: H-Z
· Volume 3: Maps
The Maps are in full colour, making this source one of the most important for research on Ireland.
This superb book includes a full commercial directory for the entire country. Organised by Province, and then town, it lists all the principal office holders, gentry, professionals, trades, hotels, schools, public institutions, churches, and even pubs for each town in Ireland. Slater took over Pigot's important publication of commercial directories of Ireland, and this was the first instalment. It has almost twice as much detail as its predecessor (published in 1824), and is now an extremely rare item.
For those familiar with the study of Irish history and in particular Irish genealogy, directories such as Slater's are a vital research tool. Each town and village contained in the Directory is introduced by its geographical location in relation to its nearest railway station together with population statistics derived from the 1861 Census of Ireland as well as a brief geographical and topographical description. The Directory provides the names and addresses of the principal private residents, together with those engaged in commercial and agricultural activity as well as the presence and location of religious, commercial and public institutions.
This publication reproduces just the Province of Connaught section of Slater's 1870 Royal National Directory of Ireland. This directory is one of only nine national directories for Ireland published prior to 1900 and an essential research tool for the study of Irish genealogy and history.
This superb book includes a full commercial directory for the entire country. Organised by Province, and then town, it lists all the principal office holders, gentry, professionals, trades, hotels, schools, public institutions, churches, and even pubs for each town in Ireland.
This is the third edition of Slaters, for the year 1881, and contains 1,580 pages of information including a large-scale map of Ireland.
This publication reproduces just the Province of Connaught section of Slater's 1894 Royal National Directory of Ireland. This directory is one of only nine national directories for Ireland published prior to 1900. Apart from the fulsome coverage given-over to Ireland's four major cities, Slater's also provides information on the principal private and commercial residents (including farmers) of the larger towns and villages. As a fully searchable CD-Rom, the publication of Slater's Royal National Directory of Ireland is an essential research aid that must grace the shelves of anybody interested in the people and institutions of Ireland.
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