This overview of Irish labour history serves both as an introduction for the general reader and as a synopsis for the specialist. Its basic concern is to outline the course of labour history, to illustrate the different phases of its chronology and to determine the forces behind its development. It also investigates some of the most persistent questions surrounding the history of labour in Ireland including why labour marginalized in disaffected 19th-century Ireland and why nationalism presented such a problem in the 20th century? This book looks at these, and other, issues in detail. Among these are the change in emphasis from craft unions to general unions in the early 20th century, the development of trade unions in the early 20th century and the relationship between trade unionism and nationalism. In particular this book broadens the definition of labour, arguing that the traditional focus on conventional trade unions is hopelessly inadequate. Instead, this book attempts to set the history of Irish labour in the context of mainstream political and economic trends.