Old World Colony
Cork and South Munster, 1630-1830
This ground-breaking study traces the fortunes of one of Ireland's wealthiest regions between 1630 and 1830. South Munster's strengths were its agricultural resources and its prime Atlantic location, and the rise of the city of Cork from insignificance to international importance was critical in the exploitation of this wealth as well as being symbolic of a new commercial order. Cork's wholesale hinterland embraced much of Kerry, Waterford and Co. Cork itself, and the study eaxamines the whole of the region. 'Old world colony' traces how rural society and farming evolved, and surveys the world of landowners and of the marginalized, of wealthy merchants and the teeming masses of the towns. It seeks to integrate what is usually set apart - social, economic and political history - in a fresh and unfamiliar panorama of material and public life across the heartlands of 'the Hidden Ireland' from the era of civil war and expropriation in the seventeenth century to the era of Catholic resurgence in the 1820s. Colonization and commerce transformed the region, but change came at a price.
Many of the problems of pre-Famine Ireland - gross income inequality and land scarcity - were precociously evident in South Munster. This study therefore sets the more familiar landmarks of the nineteenth century - agrarian conflict, structural poverty, and the collapse of food supply - in a new and more complex historical framework.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"--an engrossing read, rich in detail, wonderfully nuanced, and meticulously researched.What we have here is a brilliant recreation of the economic and social life of Munster from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century" Tom Bartlett, Professor of Modern Irish History, University College Dublin