Economy, trade and Irish merchants at home and abroad, 1600–1988


Louis Cullen

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-319-0
April 2012. 320pp.

‘In a writing career that began in the 1950s, Louis Cullen has established himself as the pre-eminent historian of the Irish economy during the past five centuries … One of the several pleasures of the collection is his appreciation and evocation of the power of place. Thus, Humphrey O’Sullivan, a shop-keeper and school-teacher in the inland market town of Callan, who wrote a diary in Irish, and the smugglers based on the coast north of Dublin at Rush, are set expertly in their localities … Both for its challenge to the reflexive mouthing of old saws about Irish under-development and for its expert recreation of detailed episodes in the economic and social histories of Ireland, the volume reminds us of the immense contribution made by Louis Cullen to understanding the complexity of the Irish past', Toby Barnard, EHR (October 2014).

‘A rich assortment of 19 hard-to-locate conference papers, scholarly articles and lectures … The large majority of papers are based on Cullen’s pioneering original research on Irish trade and shipping, Irish merchant communities and family ties, and Irish smugglers and privateers between 1600 and 1800. Of particular interest is Cullen’s rich picture of Irish merchant clans with members trading out of both French and Irish ports, a picture based in large part on exhaustive research in French provincial archives in the 1950s-60s … these articles are a scholarly tour-de-force … valuable for economic historians researching Irish merchants and trade. Recommended', J.P. McKay, Choice (January 2013).

‘Louis Cullen is surely the foremost Irish economic historian of the last few decades … the pieces in Economy, Trade and Irish Merchants at home and abroad range very widely … all of the essays in this collection are marvellously well written and accessible … the volume as a whole also demonstrates emphatically Cullen’s mastery of a vast quantity of diverse primary materials, especially archival sources in many different countries. His knowledge of French local archives is particularly impressive … a master-class in the writing of economic and social history by one of its finest exponents', Stephen Conway, International Journal of Maritime History (Summer 2013).


‘Louis Cullen’s new book is useful and important … this work makes some of Cullen’s contributions on economic topics accessible, while introducing his thoughts and theories on economic development to a new generation of researchers … This book is a testament to the monumental researches of a great historian of Ireland over many decades [and] will prove equally useful to the established historian and the new researcher', Brian Gurrin, Irish Economic and Social History (2013).

‘This collection provides an insightful overview into the scholarship of Louis Cullen, who in his career has displayed an impressive command of a wide variety of archival sources and expertise in economic thought. These informative essays raise thought-provoking questions for future researchers in the field of Irish economic history', Eoin McLaughlin, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies (2013).

‘Irish economic historians look up to Professor L.M. Cullen as the true founding father of their subject and its leading light for nearly half a century … one of Ireland’s most formidable and truly great scholars, [his] published output is enormous and continues to grow … No Irish economic historian can match Cullen in terms of the quantity, quality and range of publications … Economy, Trade and Irish Merchants offers a mélange of Louis Cullen’s work over four decades that focuses on just some dimensions of his brilliant research career … Some essays cover “big” issues that will be of broad interest, while others focus on very specialist topics indeed … The Ireland that emerges here is more complex, more commercialized, more sophisticated', Cormac Ó Grada, Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 2012).

‘Louis Cullen is one of Ireland’s most creative, erudite and influential living historians. This book is an engaging book that performs an invaluable service by gathering together nineteen of Cullen’s essays … [it] provides an interesting overview of one historian’s evolving thinking on Ireland’s long-term economic development … His work will have a deservedly lasting impact on teaching and research', Graham Brownlow, Irish Historical Studies (November 2012).

‘Essential reading for anybody interested in the growth of the Irish mercantile class over the past three centuries … an excellent collection of essays!’ Michael Merrigan, Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (June 2012).

‘Utilises a rich array of source material … this collection provides an insightful overview into the scholarship of Louis Cullen, who in his career has displayed an impressive command of a wide variety of archival sources and expertise in economic thought. These informative essays raise thought-provoking questions for future researchers in the field of Irish economic history', Eoin McLaughlin, Scottish Historical Studies (2013).