While the period from 1913 to 1923 was one of the most turbulent periods in Irish history, many people lived ordinary lives that were in the main unaffected by the political events of the day. The tenement slums of Dublin were infamous throughout Europe, but life in rural Ireland was mainly one of poverty and struggle also. There was no meaningful industrial base in Mayo and most people eked out a meagre living on poor land. In the towns unemployment was high and emigration to the UK and US was an ongoing fact of life. This section shows vignettes from ordinary life in Ireland during this most turbulent of decades.
Images courtesy of Kieran Downes, album donated to Mayo Library.
Ireland in 1913: Social Conditions
by Caitriona Clear, NUIG
Percy French (1854-1920) published his famous song about the West Clare railway, ‘Are You Right There Michael’, in 1902, and its commentary about substandard rolling stock and philosophical engine drivers and guards, could probably have been written about any of the ‘light railways’ built west of a line from Derry to Cork, from the late 1880s. Built by the British government to boost the economy and, it was hoped, to ‘kill Home Rule with kindness’, these railways despite their many flaws, changed Irish life forever………
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News Round Up (Extracts from CenturyIreland.ie)
14 March 1914
27 July 1913
28 March 1914