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Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
Welfare Regimes under the Irish Poor Law 1850-1921


This is the home page for the Welfare Regimes under the Irish Poor Law 1850-1921 project wiki.

Directed by Professor Virginia Crossman, this three-year project commenced 1 January 2007 and ended 31 March 2010. The primary aim was to provide the first detailed analysis of poor relief in Ireland in the period from the end of the Great Famine to the establishment of the Irish Free State, thus opening up a major new area of Irish social history. To date, the Irish poor law has attracted little attention from historians. The project aimed to rectify this situation by investigating how the relief system operated in Ireland at both national and local level. Irish experiences of the poor law were examined in relation to welfare provision within the United Kingdom as a whole. At the same time, attention was paid to the way in which factors such as religion, national identity and regional economics impacted on Irish welfare practices. By analysing both general trends in relief policies and the micro-politics of relief, the project has provided a historical context for contemporary debates on the position of the poor and marginalised in Irish society.

The project was supported by three research assistants, Dr Georgina Laragy and Dr Seán Lucey based at Oxford Brookes, and Dr Olwen Purdue based at Queen's University Belfast.

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The image in the banner is a detail from a photograph of a workhouse ruin in Cahirciveen (accessed 04-05-07) reproduced with the permission of the photographer, Terry Ballard, Automation Librarian, Quinnipiac University.

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