A history of Irish farming, 1750–1950

Jonathan Bell & Mervyn Watson

Hardback €36.00
Catalogue Price: €40.00
Out of Stock
ISBN: 978-1-84682-096-0
September 2008. 352pp; colour ills.

The book deals with changing methods of crop and livestock production during the ‘Age of Improvement’ in Ireland, and some of the ways in which they shaped rural society and the landscape. Irish agricultural improvers were part of an international exchange of ideas that led to the development of many new implements, crop varieties and breeds of livestock. However, at the level of small farm production, there was also a persistence of ancient techniques, some of which have been used since prehistoric times. These techniques were often condemned by contemporary observers, but modern research and fieldwork shows that they were most remarkable for their refinement and effectiveness.

The book shows the rationality of Irish farmers, in developing systems and techniques that fitted their resources, or lack of them, making Ireland a major agricultural producer, and overcoming huge environmental and social obstacles to ensure the survival of millions of people.

Jonathan Bell was head curator in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum between 1993 and 2006. He has published a number of books and articles on rural society, and material culture in Ireland. Mervyn Watson worked as curator of agriculture in the Ulster Folk and transport Museum, between 1994 and 2006. He has published a number of books and articles on aspects of material culture in Ireland.