Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Irish Agriculture: A price history

Irish Agriculture: A price history: from the mid-eighteenth century to the eve of the First World War

Liam Kennedy
Peter M. Solar
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Pages: 206
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Irish Agriculture: A price history
    Book Description:

    This monograph offers insight into the way people lived and behaved when agriculture was the mainstay of the Irish economy. Using core data it illuminates issues as diverse as production patterns, prosperity and the Great Famine, political agitation during the French wars and agrarian unrest.

    eISBN: 978-1-908996-77-0
    Subjects: Economics, History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. v-v)
  5. List of Plates
    (pp. vi-vii)
  6. Preface
    (pp. viii-ix)
  7. Chapter 1 Prices in Irish history
    (pp. 1-16)

    Prices or exchange ratios are of fundamental importance to all societies, even those with the most rudimentary economic organisation. Thus, gift relationships, forms of bartering and reciprocity all imply rates of exchange, however imprecise or opaque these arrangements may seem to modern eyes. In recent centuries market exchange has come to dominate in the Western world, yielding explicit monetary values at which goods and services are interchanged.¹ This is the type of exchange ratio presented here, the kind generated by markets. It seems quite abstract, yet it is worth reminding ourselves that human agency is ever present: underlying these price...

  8. Chapter 2 The variety of weights and measures in Irish markets
    (pp. 17-42)

    Weights and measures matter. Without commonly accepted units of measurement, regular trading in markets would be difficult in the extreme. Systems of weights and measures, by facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers, form part of the complex architecture of market systems. But these are not simply technical attributes of a functioning exchange system. The controversies and struggles surrounding the operation, persistence and reform of weights and measures shed light on the power relationships, popular mentalities and economic faultlines within a society. Thus the evolution of weights and measures can be as revealing for the concerns of the historian of popular...

  9. Chapter 3 Irish agricultural prices: north and south, 1765–1913
    (pp. 43-70)

    It is time to turn to prices. In this chapter we present price series for a wide range of agricultural commodities. What the series have in common is that they draw on newspaper reports of market prices, a source that is available (for some commodities at least) from the mid-eighteenth century to the eve of the First World War. The prices presented here are thus the ones faced by Irish farmers rather than by consumers, though of course the two are likely to move in tandem.

    Two parallel compilations of price data have been taken from the Irish newspaper reports,...

  10. Chapter 4 The prices of beef and cattle in Ireland, 1755–1913
    (pp. 71-86)

    The relative importance of the livestock sector in Irish agriculture has varied over time. In 1750, and doubtless for a millennium before, it was dominant.¹ In the half-century or so before the Famine the tillage economy had risen to challenge that dominance. In the century and a half since the Famine the age-old orientation towards pastoral production has reasserted itself. But in all time periods livestock has played a vital part in the Irish rural economy, hence the importance of tracing the price incentives facing livestock producers over time.

    In the preceding chapter we explored the fortunes of the dairying...

  11. Chapter 5 An overview of agricultural price movements in Ireland, 1765–1913
    (pp. 87-100)

    The prices for individual agricultural commodities described in the preceding chapters can be combined into indices that give a more general picture of agricultural price movements in Ireland from the 1760s to the eve of the First World War. In this chapter we present composite indices for prices in the south of Ireland from 1765 to 1913 and in the north of Ireland from 1785 to 1913. These northern and southern indices are compared with each other, and—for the period after 1850—are also compared to an Irish agricultural price index constructed from the price series assembled by the...

  12. Chapter 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 101-108)

    It is a safe bet, thinking of the hierarchy of historical topics that excites the popular imagination, that price history would not feature highly, if indeed at all. By contrast with stories of monarchies and military history, one just cannot visualise the television series in the making. Despite lacking in dramatic colour, prices and price change have exercised a pervasive, sometimes unseen influence on the life chances of millions of people. Prices, after all, bear directly on people’s material conditions of life, a subject of enduring historical and contemporary concern. From the viewpoint of the historian and the social scientist,...

  13. Appendix 1 Sources and methods for southern prices
    (pp. 109-118)
  14. Appendix 2 Sources and methods for northern prices
    (pp. 119-126)
  15. Appendix 3 Sources and methods for Dublin mutton prices
    (pp. 127-128)
  16. Appendix Tables
    (pp. 129-195)
  17. References
    (pp. 196-202)
  18. Index
    (pp. 203-206)