Explain Ireland from 1922 to about 1990

I am sure that one of our Irish dopers could explain,but as someone with a life long interest in the emerald isle,I have always found many acts and decisions of the Republic and incomprehensible. Social conservatism seems a given what with the RCC’s influence, however I am surprised at the seeming lack of attempts at reform or change even from the perhaps more educated upper classes. Also,the at times downright anti Industry policy seems near suicidal. politically being isolated for a generation after the end of the war.

Finally what caused a change in these policies.

So it’s an explanation ye’ll be wantin’, eh?

LeMass in around about 1960 realised previous policies were ineffective so supported outward looking economic policy that reaped plenty of benefits.

You just made me choke on my tea. Well done. Have an Internet.

As far as having an “anti-industry policy”, Ireland’s would not be very different from many of the countries in Africa and South and Southeast Asia after they earned their independence. Heavy industry and capitalist enterprise was tied to the colonial occupiers in the minds of many.

Even before Independance Ireland’s industrial region was concentrated in the hard working Protestant north.
What reason can be given for the Industrial Revolution passing Ireland by, the lack of any shipbuilding or major industrial production in a huge conurbation like Dublin… except Catholic fecklessness, sloth and lickspittle devotion to The Church and Rome ?

Is your post satirical?

I think having a Protestant English boot on their necks for nearly 400 years is a more likely proximate cause.


Can’t really blame the English for all Ireland’s post 1922 ills can we ? :eek:

Nope, you’ll have to explain to the rest of us what you’re on about.

The passing from the political scene of the generation with first-hand experience of The Troubles, and the Civil War that followed?

Well if thats the case, why did Northern Ireland, with its English, Hitlerite, jackboot on its innocent white swanlike neck develop industry, while the south in between having its maidens ravaged and its babies tortured and eaten by the Anglo Saxon sadists (Who cackled with pleasure while doing so I might add)…didn’t ?

Which also raises the question why huge numbers of Irish people continuosly through history chose to permamently emigrate to the land of the anti christ, and rapists of civilisation, AND ensure that not only were their families raised there, but their descendants, and their descendants descendants did so as well?

I think that Ireland bypassed the industrial revolution, because the IR took place in neighboring England. There was (hence) no need to have industrial development in Ireland. Add to that, the disruption of the “Potato Famine”-when half the population either died or emigrated.
Industrialization came late to Northern Ireland-the shipyards (like Harland&Wolf) didn’t come on until the 1880’s.
As for the south: it was a primarily agricultural until the 1970s.

I recommend the OP read Preventing The Future: Why Was Ireland So Poor For So Long? by Tom Garvin as this book answers most of his questions.

From the description:

There were shipyards in Belfast starting around about the last decade of the 18th century and H&W was established in the 1850s.

AK84, further to my point above about LeMass, the wikipedia entry does a good enough job explaining his policies and their impact.

Correct me I’m wrong, but it appears to say that the “previous policies” that Lemass corrected were protectionist policies that he dreamed up himself.

Emigration to England from Ireland, and from Scotland too, was crucial to the IR in England.

The life expectency in most industrialising cites was so low that from 1800 through to probably the 1870’s these populations could not maintain or expand their numbers. The lower order workers were dying out too fast. This was at a time when the populations of English cities was exploding, however this expansion only took place as a result of inward migration to the cities.

I have one book about the provision of sanition in 19thC Leeds that maintains that the average lifespan for workers was less than 20 years, for artisans this rose to 27 and for the gentry this was 44 years. The actual death rate rose from 20.7 per thousand in 1831 to 27.2 per thousand in 1841.

You can look this up in “*The Sanitation of the labouring classes”*E Chadwick 1842. This work builds upon previous reports such as that of Dr Robert Baker who carried out what was to be pioneering work in epidemiology.



This is well worth looking up if you wish to understand some of the implications of the Industrial Revolution

Even up until the the early 1900’s the survival rate for children was such that up to 33% did nt make it to their teens.

The result of this extremely high infant mortality rate and inward migration into English cities is that you will often still find districts named for the people who settled there, such as ‘Little London’, ‘Scotland Lane’, and any number of Irish counties used to name certain districts.

The tendency would be that immigrants would settle in towns where others from their home district had begun to live, so you get quite localised populations of Irish immigrants, for example in Leeds the vast majority of Irish immigrants came from County Mayo, and in other cities they would have been concentrated from various other Irish counties. The numbers of Irish and Scottish immigrants in Brtish cities was such that there was genuine fear of Fenian revolt and troops were called out in all the industrialising cities to put down any possible insurrection.

The point I am making is that there was little need for Ireland to have an Industrial Revolution, since a large chunk of its population was in England working as part of it. Victorian industrialists would send out recruiters for immigrant labour all around the UK and Ireland. Once they had built their factories at huge cost, it was much easier to move workers to them, than to move the factories to the workers. A reasonable case could be made that the industrial revolution in England would have been seriously hampered if it had not been for the tragic history of Ireland through the 19thC which prompted mass migration.


Some of this takes a lot of work to read and understand, due partly to the language and also because the original report was 3 volumes.

The report is incredibly illuminating, life for most workers was nothing like the image of landed aristocracy, or the middle class world of the Brontes but I guess the living conditions of the lower orders were not exactly something that would be likely to inspire popular books.



Far from being the exploiters of Ireland, the vast majority of English population were living and enduring conditions as bad as Ireland, I just wish the anti-English folk in Ireland would recognise that, and direct their ire toward the proper target, instead of blaming the English as a whole.

Nope, you’re right. From 1932, De Valera and Lemass had concentrated on the ill-conceived ideal of economic self reliance. It was only when Lemass became Taoiseach (PM) in 1959 that he abandoned the protectionism etc. that had been hallmarks of his attempts at economic development.

ETA: Fascinating post there casdave.

Ireland really seems to have missed out in the 1960’s and 1970’s, it was an educated country that spoke English, it could have benefited from low wages as more industry moved there. In fact, that might have been the fate of British Industry if all Ireland had stayed in the UK, with more and more Industry moving across the Irish sea. Yes I know N Ireland suffered from collapse in Industry in the 60’s and 70’s, but the Province was too small and too specialized.

Well the Irish economy did actually expand a lot in the '60s but the '70s and '80s were marked by high unemployment, stagnation, emigration etc.