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Pre-Famine Ireland: Social Structure Copyright © 2000 by Desmond Keenan Hard copy of book available from and

Bibliography and References


(i) References

(ii) Select Bibliography


(i) References

            The core of information contained in this book comes from about 6,000 excerpts extracted from Irish newspapers and periodicals of the period 1800 to 1850. Much of this material had never been published before. Especially illuminating were speeches made in Parliament when changes in legislation were being proposed. The proposer, often the Irish Secretary, had to explain the existing law, and the situation that made changes necessary. On all subjects at least two newspapers were consulted, and on more important points a spread of newspapers reflecting different points of view were consulted. The aim was to make the study as objective and comprehensive as possible. Especially, for this is rare in Irish history-writing, the viewpoint of the Protestants is stated fully and fairly.


            For simple factual information Saunders' Newsletter proved unrivalled. The Dublin Evening Post, edited for most of the period by the perspicacious and informed Frederick Conway, was the Whig newspaper chosen. It is possible to give only a selection of references in the text, for if all references were included the book would be unreadable. Therefore references are given when the reader's curiosity about the source of a particular piece of information might be aroused. The most frequently cited newspapers are abbreviated as follows:


DEM               Dublin Evening Mail

DEP                Dublin Evening Post

DMA               Dublin Mercantile Advertizer

EP                   Dublin Evening Packet

FJ                     The Freeman's Journal

IFG                  Irish Farmers' Gazette

IFJ                   Irish Farmers' Journal

IRG                  Irish Railway Gazette

SNL                Saunders' Newsletter.


All other newspapers and periodicals are cited in full. 

            Over six hundred entries in the Dictionary of National Biography, cited as (DNB) were consulted. The precise meaning of words such as 'police' in the early nineteenth century were carefully checked in the full edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and Supplements, cited as OED. In addition to these about two hundred other books and articles on various aspects of Irish society in the period were consulted, but many of these proved much less useful. Rarely did a book contain the precise information I was seeking, and almost without exception they were partisan in tone, giving only one side of a question. Some books both of the last and of the present century could be described as little more than nationalist propaganda. Other books, especially monographs on particular subjects like agriculture, canals, or railways were much more helpful. F.S.L. Lyons, though writing chiefly about the period after 1850 provides excellent bibliographies of published materials but without critical discrimination. I have included all books referred to in the text in the select bibliography. The comments refer only to their value as sources of factual materials.[Top] 

(ii) Select Bibliography 

Anderson, E.B., Sailing Ships of Ireland, Dublin, reprint, 1984, Some aspects of the subject only.

Arensberg, C. and Kimball, S., Family and Community in Ireland, Cambridge, Mass., 1968. Often quoted, but it is a failed attempt at functional analysis.

Arnold, B., Irish Art, London, 1977, Excellent on early nineteenth century.

Aspinall, A., Politics and the Press 1780-1850, London, 1949. Incomplete regarding Ireland, but the only work on the subject unconditionally recommended.

Bamfield, V., On the Strength, London, 1974. Various aspects of army life, especially on the role of women.

Beckett, J.C., The Making of Modern Ireland 1603-1923,   London, 1967. Good but dated. Treatment often skimpy and incomplete.

Bell, J. and Watson, M., Irish Farming 1750-1900, Edinburgh, 1986. Suffers from a folkloric rather than market analysis. Very good on some aspects.

Bellamy, D., The Wild Boglands Bellamy’s Ireland, London, 1986.

Carleton, W.,   Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, Dublin, n.d. Classic source.

Chart, D.A.,     Ireland from the Union to Catholic Emancipation 1800-1829, London, 1910. Nationalist bias.

Connell, K.H., Irish Peasant Society, Oxford, 1968. Pioneering. Little on illicit distillation before 1830.

Duffy, C, G., Young Ireland, Dublin, 1884, Full of information  about the movement but stops at 1845. One of the original nationalist writers.

Edgeworth, Maria, Castle Rackrent and The Absentee, reprint London, 1972. Classic Tory statement of the land problems.

Evans, E.E., Irish Folkways, London, 1959. Traditional folkloric approach.

Edwards, R. D. and Williams, T.D., The Great Famine, Dublin, 1956. Very dated unrelated studies that do not hang together. Nationalist tendency to blame the British. Still best study available.

Fitzpatrick, W.J., The Life, Times, and Correspondence of the Rt. Rev. James Doyle, Dublin, 1861. A classic source, though rambling and nationalistic.

----       Memoirs of Richard Whateley, London, 1864. Fairminded.

Freeman, T.W., Ireland, a General and Regional Geography, London, 1960. Chiefly deals with 20th century.

Gash, N., Mr. Secretary Peel, London, 1961.

---- Peel, London, 1976. Both inadequate regarding his Irish policies.

Hague, D.B. and Christie, R.,  Lighthouses, Llandysul, Dyfed, 1975. Very good on Irish lighthouses.

Hadfield, C., Atmospheric Railways, Newton Abbot, 1967. Good account of the Irish experience.

Halevy, M., A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century vol. I, London, 1961. Describes the Irish constituencies before and after the Great Reform Bill of 1832.

Harbison, P., Potterton, H. and Sheehy, J. Irish Art and Architecture, London, 1978. Good on early nineteenth century.

Herries Davies, G. L., 'Irish thought in Science' in The Irish Mind, R. Kearney ed., Dublin, 1985.

Houlding, J. A., Fit For Service, Oxford, 1981. Much information on military organisation prior to 1800.

James, P., Population Malthus, London, 1979. The theory of over-population before the Famine.

Keenan, D., The Catholic Church in Nineteenth Century Ireland, Dublin and Towota, 1983.

-------------- Ireland 1800-1850, Xlibris, Philadelphia, 2001.

-------------- The Grail of Catholic Emancipation 1793 to 1829, Xlibris, Philadelphia, 2002.

Latimer, W.T., A History of Irish Presbyterians, Belfast, 1902.

Le Fanu, W., Seventy Years of Irish Life, London, n.d. Readable and sympathetic account of life in Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century. The author was the son of a Church of Ireland clergyman and landlord.

Lover, S., Handy Andy, Belfast, 1842. Amusing novel that describes life in an Irish county in the first half of the nineteenth century. Colourful description of an election.

Lyons, F, S.L., Ireland since the Famine, Dublin, 1973. Standard  reference work. As a source it is a ragbag of factual information. Usual nationalist fault of over-describing nationalist concerns and views while neglecting those of opponents. This is especially true of the period 1916 to 1921.

MacAnally, H.,  The Irish Militia 1793-1816, Dublin, 1949.  Limited pioneering study that needs development.

McCutcheon, W. A., 'The Newry Navigation: the Earliest Inland Canal in the British Isles', The Geographical Journal (129), 1963, 466-480. A model monograph.

Marmion, A., The Maritime Ports of Ireland, London, 1855. Nationalist fancy mixed with much information; only seaport towns described.

Mant, W.B., Memoirs of Rt. Rev. Richard Mant, Dublin, 1857.  Life of a Tory bishop which contrasts with that of Whateley.

O'Donoghue, D. J., Life of William Carleton including his autobiography, London, 1896.

Parliamentary  Inquiry 1825, Evidence on the State of Ireland, London, 1825. Excerpts from the evidence before Parliamentary Committees of Inquiry; the clearest of all the many Inquiries.

Philips, W. A., Oxford, 1933. History of the Church of Ireland, Dated but never replaced.

Roberts, M., The Whig Party 1807-1812, London, 1965. Valuable treatment of Whiggery and of the failure to displace the Tories. Essential.

Silber, K., Pestalozzi, London, 1973. Essential for any discussion of education.

Strain. R.W., Belfast and its Charitable Society, OUP, 1961. Useful information on Irish society, the poor, and the 'policing' of Belfast.

Sullivan, A.M., New Ireland, London, 1878, Nationalist, but treats the later developments of Ribbonism.

Trench, W.S., Realities of Irish Life, London, 1871. Estate management and agrarian crime from the landlord and agents' point of view.

Westmancoat, J., Newspapers, British Library Publications, London, 1985. Brief but very useful account of the production of early newspapers.



Copyright Desmond J. Keenan, B.S.Sc.; Ph.D. ;.London, U.K.