Politics and the Irish Working Class

Fintan Lane and Donal Ó Drisceoil (eds), Politics and the Irish Working Class, 1830–1945 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)  


This is the first-ever collection of scholarly essays on the history of the Irish working class. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the involvement of Irish workers in political life during a period of significant turmoil and profound historical change. Fourteen historians
and political scientists examine the engagement of Irish workers in key political movements and moments that have helped shape modern Ireland. Survey essays on labour and politics, women workers, rural labourers and James Connolly are complemented by case studies that range from the co-operative movement of 1830s Belfast to the grassroots socialism of 1940s Dublin. A recurrent theme is the failure of class-based politics to become a feature of Irish political life.

By concentrating specifically on the intersection of politics and the working class, this book not only broadens the focus of Irish labour history, but redresses an imbalance in Irish political history and adds to the international historiography of the working class.

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‘…this edited volume is a welcome addition to Irish working-class historiography. It goes some way to tighten the accepted reasons for the lack of left-right politics in Ireland, north and south, while offering glimpses of when this development may have broken through the barriers of religion, nationalism and ownership of the land…The reading of Politics and the Irish Working Class, 1830-1945 prompts the reader to delve further, and the range and wealth of sources contained within illustrate plenty of scope for further research.’ – Kieran McGovern, Reviews in History


‘A welcome and important contribution to Irish working class history. It has taken far too long for a volume such as this to appear and the editors, contributors and publishers are to be congratulated on the publication of such an interesting and scholarly collection. It is a collection that will prove useful to experienced scholars and students alike and many of the chapters provide a large amount of useful references.’ - Irish Economic and Social History


‘Sets the benchmark high for future labour history.’ - Peter Collins in History Ireland (2006)