Children, childhood and Irish society

1500 to the present

Maria Luddy & James Smith editors

Hardback €58.50
Catalogue Price: €65.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-525-5
November 2014. 448pp.

‘Just as children grow, so has academic interest in the history of Irish children and childhood … This much anticipated collection of essays offers a rich and engaging sample of the growing body of interdisciplinary research on Irish children and childhood’, Marnie Hay, Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 2016).

‘Maria Luddy and James Smith have gathered a collection of essays by Irish, British and American experts in the field of childhood studies … This comprehensive volume aims to fill major gaps in our understanding of childhood in Ireland, and it eminently and elegantly succeeds, weaving an admirably complex and original exploration of what it has meant to be young in Ireland over the past five hundred years … Luddy and Smith deserve high praise for giving readers such a generous, thought-provoking approach to childhood in Ireland’, Kelly Matthews, Breac (April 2016).

Children, childhood and Irish society: 1500 to the present is a welcome addition to the Irish historiography of children and childhood and marks the advent of the long overdue emergence of childhood studies as an area of critical inquiry within interdisciplinary cultural studies … These essays recognize that there was more than just one type of Irish childhood … there are many gems in this collection … Each chapter is deftly written and accessible to both the scholar and interested reader … [this book] is a “blockbuster” itself and enters the arena as an exemplar approach to future studies in interdisciplinary studies on childhood’, Liz Thomas, Childhood in the past (2015).

‘Maria Luddy and James M. Smith firmly place the broad spectrum of Irish child-life front and centre of the historical discourse. With a strong emphasis on the role of culture in their lives and the cultural and literary representations of children, the book has a far broader appeal beyond the historian. The literary scholar, for example, will surely be interested in a lot that this work has to offer … One of the central objectives of this volume was to “refocus the debate” to encompass representations and experiences of childhood. To attempt a collection that embraces such an array of different themes and topics is highly ambitious and the skill of fusing these essays together into a coherent whole is surely a challenging one. Yet, this has been achieved in an impressive and well-structured publication that will serve as a core text opening new gateways and asking new questions on the history of Irish childhood for the current generation of scholars’, Conor Reidy, WHAI (April 2015). 

‘The essays presented in this volume are indicative of researchers’ increasing enthusiasm to engage with the history of children and childhood in Ireland. As such this book is an important contribution to its debates … It not only provides a valuable focus for debate within literary and historical circles, but also offers encouragement to future scholars in the history of children and childhood in Ireland’, Gaye Ashford, Irish Economic & Social History (2015). 

‘This is an eagerly awaited and valuable addition to the scholarship on children and childhood in Ireland from 1500 … this interdisciplinary volume represents the most substantive collection of essays on the topic to date … Harry Hendrick ends the volume with a significant chapter on age as a category of analysis in the history of childhood … It is a highlight of the volume and lays down the gauntlet for scholars of Irish childhood in the coming years … there is no doubt this volume will have a great impact on future scholarship, and is a fascinating glimpse at the range of scholarship currently being pursued. It is a credit to both the editors and to the authors’, Sarah-Anne Buckley, Journal of the History of Childhood & Youth (2016).