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Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939$
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Cormac Gráda Ó

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205982.001.0001

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Trends and Fluctuations before the Famine

Trends and Fluctuations before the Famine

(p.153) 7 Trends and Fluctuations before the Famine
Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939

Cormac Ó Gráda

Oxford University Press

Short-term fluctuations in the Irish economy before the Great Famine cannot be measured with precision, but the outlines may be gauged from a variety of contemporary data. For example, the half-yearly accounts of the Bank of Ireland help chronicle the ebbs and flows in economic activity after the mid-1780s. The bank's income rose from less than 30,000 pounds per half-year in the 1780s to more than 100,000 pounds in the 1800s. It fell off in nominal terms thereafter until the early 1820s, and the late 1830s saw a further fall. The long-run evolution in the bank's fortunes was a reflection both of macroeconomic trends and the evolving banking structure, but the numbers also reflect the severe downturns in the wake of 1815 and the Great Famine. This chapter examines trends and fluctuations in a number of economic indicators in Ireland before the Great Famine, including aggregate banknote circulation, profits accruing to agencies (or branches) of the Bank of Ireland, bankruptcies, agricultural output, agricultural exports, and conacre rents.

Keywords:   Ireland, Bank of Ireland, economy, income, profits, bankruptcies, conacre rents, exports, agricultural productivity, banknote circulation

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