Chapter

The Rural Economy, 1780–1914

Liam Kennedy and Peter M. Solar

in Ulster Since 1600

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199583119
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744822 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583119.003.0011
The Rural Economy, 1780–1914

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Environmental features such as soil, climate and location distinguished Ulster from other regions in Ireland. Mixed farming predominated during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the later nineteenth century a shift towards livestock gathered momentum. What is especially distinctive about the Ulster rural economy, however, was the interpenetration of rural industry and agriculture. These twin economic bases of commercial linen and food production helped cushion northern households against the inevitable fluctuations in prices and incomes associated with the developing market economy. Even the massive famines of the 1740s and the 1840s had a lesser impact in Ulster. By 1914, the complex social structure of rural Ulster circa 1800 — composed of landlords, middlemen, tenant farmers, farmer-weavers, cottier-weavers and labourers — had given rise to a very different social formation. The major forces for change may be found in factory-based industrialization, changes in international food markets, and the effectiveness of modern agrarian radicalism.

Keywords: environment; climate; rural economy; prices; incomes; landlords; tenants; cottiers; labourers; weavers

Chapter.  8769 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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