This collection of essays seeks to provide an introduction to the involvement of workers in Irish political life between 1830 and 1945. The contributions include surveys covering the entire period and case studies that provide new perspectives on significant movements and moments in Irish political history. While the Irish working class has received increasing attention from historians in recent years, in comparison with other Western European countries, the literature remains sparse and narrowly focused on trade union, biographical and institutional studies.1 By concentrating specifically on the intersection of politics (understood in broad terms) and the working class, this volume aims not only to widen the focus of Irish labour history, but to redress an imbalance in Irish political history and add to the international historiography of the working class.


Trade Union Labour Movement Labour Party Catholic Social Teaching Class Politics 
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  1. 3.
    See Michael Mann, ‘Sources of variation in working-class movements in twentieth century Europe’, New Left Review, vol 212 (July/August 1995), pp. 14–54;Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    On the numerical decline of the rural working class, see David Fitzpatrick, ‘The disappearance of the Irish agricultural labourer, 1841–1912’, Irish Economic and Social History, vol. VII (1980), pp. 66–92.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Joseph Lee, The Modernisation of Irish Society 1848–1918 (Dublin, 1973), p. 151.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Bill Kissane, Explaining Irish Democracy (Dublin, 2002), pp. 54–5. Despite the curious use of the word ‘content’, the point is well made.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Stefano Bartolini, The Political Mobilization of the European Left, 1860–1980 (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 451–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Fintan Lane and Donal Ó Drisceoil 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fintan Lane
  • Donal Ó Drisceoil

There are no affiliations available

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