The Irish land agent, 1830–60

The case of King's County

Ciarán Reilly

Hardback €40.50
Catalogue Price: €45.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-510-1
June 2014. 192pp; ills.

‘This fascinating and important book sets out to uncover the complex social, economic and religious factors behind land agency in mid-nineteenth-century Ireland, discover who these men were, and, as well as why they were universally hated, what impact this hatred and resistance had on Irish rural society during a time of change and catastrophe. This book breaks new ground in a neglected – perhaps even taboo – area of study, both in Irish and British historiography … This volume, using detailed archival reconstruction and razor sharp analysis, puts the land agent into his moral context, and the resulting picture is far from black and white’, Annie Tindley, Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 2016).

'With the possible exception of Oliver Cromwell, no more hated figure stalks Irish history and folklore than the land agent. Ciarán Reilly’s study of land agents in King’s County (modern Offaly) addresses this and is a fascinating read ... Reilly's book is an academic study but it is very readable and easily accessible to the general reader. It is well organised, the scholarship is lightly worn and the writing is clear and well presented. The book says something new and important, and Reilly has a good eye for a telling quotation or a revealing statistic ... the main strength of Reilly's book is that it deals not in stereotypes but in hard reality', John Kirkaldy, Books Ireland (January/February 2015).

‘Ciarán Reilly presents a detailed analysis of the role of the much maligned and stereotyped Land Agent in his home county of Offaly during the turbulent middle years of the nineteenth century … This detailed study may be of most interest to students of the Irish land question and to the history of County Offaly. It is well researched with very detailed appendices and bibliography. Its conclusions certainly challenge the historical stereotype of the mid-nineteenth-century land-agent’, John Leogue, The Furrow (January 2015).