Atlantic gateway

The port and city of Londonderry since 1700

Robert Gavin, William P. Kelly & Dolores O'Reilly

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-146-2
July 2009. 440pp; colour ills.

‘For lessons on the value of economic factors such as industrial diversification, reliable utilities, skilled workers, dependable transportation, adequate capital, and innovative local governments, delve into Atlantic Gatewaywith bold revelations of behind-the-scenes deal-making (warts and all), together with the financial wisdom that hindsight delivers, this definitive work on a pivotal economic region stands on exacting detail and exquisite research', Mary McWay Seaman, The Celtic Connection (June 2010).

‘While attachment to the city and concern for its future growth shines throughout Atlantic Gateway, this has not prejudiced the academic rigour of the three authors of the book. This work far surpasses Sholto Cooke’s local classic, The Maiden City and the Western Ocean, a history of shipping and trade between Derry and North America in the nineteenth century which was published in 1960. Atlantic Gateway is a much deeper and more holistic economic history. It traces the changing economic fortunes of Derry from the early part of the eighteenth century, when the walled town had only two hundred dwellings, to today’s city of approximately 100,000 inhabitants … This book has benefitted greatly from the extensive use of subheadings and there is scarcely a page without at least one. This makes it all the easier or readers to make their way through the wealth of historical detail that is such a feature of this fine study … Atlantic Gateway has taken the local history of a city and its hinterland to new professional heights. It will long remain the definite account of the economic history of Derry over the past three hundred years', Dr Jim Mac Laughlin, Mariner’s Mirror: International Journal for Nautical Research (October 2010).

‘There are serious gaps in Irish urban history. Robert Gavin, William P. Kelly, and Dolores O’Reilly have filled one of the most conspicuous of those gaps with their comprehensive history of the Northern Ireland port city of Londonderry – known to those who call it home as “Derry'. Atlantic Gateway: The Port and City of Londonderry since 1700 is a rich mine of detail on the interplay of personal and institutional agendas in the north of Ireland, a compact region notable as an incubator of fierce political and economic rivalries … In spite of this generally dark picture, Atlantic Gateway is not the tale of a hapless provincial city reacting to blind economic forces. The Derry portrayed by Gavin, Kelly, and O’Reilly is – for the most part – dominated by strong and sometimes flamboyant individuals', Thomas M. Truxes, Journal of British Studies (January 2011).

‘The three authors of this volume set out to take a fresh look at the economic role of north-west Ireland and in particular the port and city of Derry from 1700 to the present day … There can be no doubt that the authors have brought together a significant body of material and that the volume will serve into the future as a regular work of reference for those interested in the maiden city’s modern mercantile history. The use of previously unused archival sources from the mid-twentieth century, in particular, adds to our knowledge concerning Derry at the point at which it was crucially engaged in the battle for the Atlantic during World War II … this is a timely and significant addition to the literature on Derry and the North West and reminds us that as it moves to become United Kingdom city of culture in 2013 the city on the Foyle has for centuries relied upon the river running through it to connect inwards to its hinterland and outwards to a wider world', Patrick Fitzgerald, Familia: Ulster Genealogical Review (2010).

‘While this review was being written, the UK government awarded the title of 2013 City of Culture to Derry-Londonderry. That designation will doubtless create a surge of interest in the city, and probably a publishing boom in writing about its history and development. The authors of those new books will mine this one for long runs of statistics and a wealth of qualitative evidence about the economic history of the city and its region … the authors have put a formidable amount of archive work into the research for this book, and have done a particular service to twentieth-century historians by persuading the Northern Ireland Public Record Office to relax restrictions on material that would otherwise have been closed for decades to come', Graeme J. Milne, International Journal of Maritime History (2011).

‘Atlantic Gateway surveys economic development in the port and city of Derry/ Londonderry since 1700. Gavin, Kelly and O’Reilly deserve commendation for the book’s ambitious long-run scope, and this feature alone makes it a worthwhile addition to the literature … it is a book that university libraries should stock, but it will be of most interest to the general reader', Graham Brownlow, Irish Historical Studies (2010).

‘Gavin, Kelly and O’Reilly present an economic history of the North West that begins in the 1700s, takes the story of Derry’s port and city to the present day, and consciously draws lessons for the future … Atlantic Gateway is an important book. The authors place Derry and its hinterland firmly in an international perspective that is frequently lacking in Irish local and regional histories. The novel focus on the port gives the book a unique perspective on the history of regional development', Liam Chambers, Eighteenth-Century Ireland (2012).

‘An examination of the economic fortunes of Derry from a century after the Plantation of Ulster when, after the subsequent wars, some measure of stability and prosperity returned to the region … the book examines in detail the various trades and industries that flourished and declined in Derry, the social aspect of the economic activity and the physical growth of the city … the text of the book is enlivened with charts and illustrations', Books Ireland (Jan 2010).

‘The authors present a detailed economic history of the North West of Ireland that places the port of Londonderry (often just known as Derry) at the centre of its focus. Their narrative highlights how the region, and Derry in particular, has shifted its various economic strategies in response to changing internal and external factors from 1700 to the present, including the rise of steam-powered industry and light-railway transport, the partition of Ireland, the imposition of a wartime command economy, and corporate globalization', Reference & Research Book News (May 2010).