True, the available data for Dublin are striking: Variants of the mortality hypothesis also need stronger quantitative buttressing. It is thus unfortunate that Lee's plea for the greater use of Irish parish register data has gone largely unheeded. Probably the poor quality and unrepresentative nature of the registers, both Catholic and Protestant, explain at least in part the reluctance of historians to use them. To complicate matters, they are generally for parishes in the east of the country, with towns dispropor- tionately represented The bulk of the Protestant registers was destroyed in the Public Record Office fire of Patrick's, Coleraine, is an important case in point.
Failing reconstitution, many registers can be used at least to check on movements in fertility and mortality in the pre-Famine period. So far the straightforward counting of baptism and burial acts has yielded a number of insights. In passing let us note that Irish social historians and anthropologists are also beginning to realize the usefulness of such sources. On the eve of the Famine over two of the fifteen million acres in agricultural use in Ireland were under potato cultivation. This was sufficient, given normal yields, to provide for an average daily adult maie intake of almost four kilos, and pro rata for others This should not blind us to other important aspects.
Until the s the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy were also expanding. Twenty years later the percentage had dropped to less than thirty, however. As elsewhere in Europe, this early industrialization relied on an abundant labour supply: In a parliamentary Select Committee could state with justice: Population growth was evidently lessening before the Famine, but at what rate? The suggestion42 that population totalled not more than 8. The Trinity census records a lower population in than the census for the same areas! Emigration, which probably averaged about four thousand a year during the eighteenth.
There are a number of possible reasons for this. One might argue that people in the western counties were poorer and thus could not afford to emigrate. For poverty was no constraint on internai migration, or seasonal migration to Britain. The Famine shocks now more for its anachronistic nature than for its toll of dead, and in its relative impact seems even moderate when compared to that of The potato failure hurt most in counties along the western seaboard and in pastoral areas where employment was not regularly available.
Overall, the fact that over three million people were on relief during the summer of , after many hundred thousand had died or emigrated, suggests that somewhat less than half of the entire population was at grave risk during the crisis When allowance is made for the likelihood that the Famine resulted in a marked drop in births, it seems that about , to , died from Famine-related causes. Connell's descriptions of post- Famine rural life are masterly, and ingenious in their use of folklore sources.
Permanent celibacy was practically double its pre-Famine level by the end of the century. The point cannot be carried too far, though. In farmers working holdings above ten statute acres four hectares were about 17 per cent of the total occupied maie population, while on the eve of World War One they were 27 per cent. But other factors must be considered too. Kennedy58 dismisses this possibility because he could not find a rise in the life expectancy of Irish farmers between and , though unreliable mortality data may be responsible for that.
Thus later marriage in rural areas at least can be seen as the resuit of rising prosperity, just as much as a precondition for it In the marital fertility rate of Irishwomen aged 25 to 34 years was over double that of their British peers Under-registration was most serious in the west. Such a trend in the death rate is simply a reflection of improving registration over time.
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Secondly, under-enumeration was greatest for western emigrants. This is partly because emigrants from the west were proportion- ately over-represented in Britain during he s and s, in itself hardly surprising given the strong tradition of seasonal migration there ; it is also likely that some of those Connacht people who embarked at Cobh in the south for America were counted as Munster rather than Connacht emigrants I am grateful to J. Poussou and David Dickson for their help. Responsibility for remaining errors is my own.
A Reassessment Dublin, The figures are taken from: Connell, The Population of Ireland Oxford, , p. Mitchell, European Historical Statistics London, , p. Some readers may find T. Williams eds , The Great Famine Dublin, , p. Dublin, March , p. C Eversley eds , Population in History: Essays in Historical Demography London, , p. The expression is the Halls' Mr. Connell, The Population of Ireland Crotty, Irish Agricultural Production: Its Volume and Strucure Cork, , p.
Carney's data base is explained and used in FJ. For contrasting views see R. According to the literature of Leslie A. Margaret Crawford and others, this essay seeks to address the following questions: How did Irish dietary change proceeded?
The population of Ireland : a survey - Persée
What did the Irish population consume and why did they consume these products? Finally, to what extent did Irish living standard altered in the decades after the Great Famine? In the pages that follow, consequently, I attempt to trace back the radical changes of Irish lifestyle in terms of food consumption in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century.
The potato always had a major importance for the Irish population. In the years before the Great Famine, the potato was almost the sole food product in Irish diets. Thus, the failure of the potato crop had a huge impact on the Irish society. While in pre-Famine times, the potato was responsible for the demographic growth cf. Hereafter, in the mid nineteenth century, this absolute reliance on the potato killed the people in Ireland. Furthermore, the authors explain: While the potato never disappeared from the Irish diet, it obviously lost its major importance and to survive the people were forced to find other foods.
In this time, the Irish diet began its makeover. Instead of the potato as the universal food, the nutrition, subsequently, became more diversified. Because of better facilities, higher wages and relatively low prices due to increased imports, the range of foods extended more and more. Anyhow, not all parts of Ireland had the same decided improvement of living conditions. Particularly in the poor counties of the west, people still were depending on the potato as a very important food product.
Even though their lives were better than those of their ancestors. This regional disparity shows that the change in potato consumption was not only a phenomenon of a different nutritional behaviour in Ireland. It was also an indicator of the expanded gap of life conditions between Irish cities and Irish countrysides.
This board was founded for the purpose of remedy the distress in counties like Galway. By supporting social works and sponsoring local businesses in the west, Belfour tried to stop emigration and to enable the poor to participate in the better living conditions like the rest of the Irish population. Belfour accomplished this purpose, as we know now, because especially the living standard of the poor improved in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The population of Ireland 1700-1900 : a survey
In the years after Belfours board, shops opened in rural areas, and the commercialisation developed throughout Ireland. The Irish diet was a mix of homemade products and purchased items. Not all parts of Ireland had equal opportunities to develop, but every area did it on its own way — some more, some less. As abovementioned, especially the large number of newly opened up shops all over the country supported the upgrade of Irish life conditions and the enlargement of the variety of goods. Indian meal was mixed with oatmeal or wheaten meal.
As well as the usage of different kinds of flour, the use of sodium bicarbonate for the making of soda bread became more famous. The bread replaced the potato as a major food product. Besides the change from potato to bread consumption, other food products were on increase.
Change marked the post-Famine Irish diet - Account for the nature and extent of this change
As the Irish diet was no more dominated by the potato, the Irish agriculture switched from tillage to pasture. The varied agriculture and nutritional behaviour of the Irish population had a huge impact on the social structure after Anyhow, Irish people ate more meat and butter, and drank more milk. While before the Famine, meat was a luxury good, only eaten on holidays or celebrations, it, subsequently, became a daily product in the decades after the Famine.
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Butter was eaten, but not from the poor, and the milk consumption showed two specific developments. In the same time, the consumption of tea was extremely high. This was a very special development, because the Irish population was still not living in wealth, but they did not hesitate to spend a lot of money for high quality tea. Tough, there were more tea drinkers in the cities than on landsides, tea was consumed everywhere.