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Ulster Since 1600Politics, Economy, and Society$
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Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583119.001.0001

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The Rural Economy, 1780–1914

The Rural Economy, 1780–1914

(p.160) 10 The Rural Economy, 1780–1914
Ulster Since 1600

Liam Kennedy

Peter M. Solar

Oxford University Press

Environmental features such as soil, climate and location distinguished Ulster from other regions in Ireland. Mixed farming predominated during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the later nineteenth century a shift towards livestock gathered momentum. What is especially distinctive about the Ulster rural economy, however, was the interpenetration of rural industry and agriculture. These twin economic bases of commercial linen and food production helped cushion northern households against the inevitable fluctuations in prices and incomes associated with the developing market economy. Even the massive famines of the 1740s and the 1840s had a lesser impact in Ulster. By 1914, the complex social structure of rural Ulster circa 1800 — composed of landlords, middlemen, tenant farmers, farmer-weavers, cottier-weavers and labourers — had given rise to a very different social formation. The major forces for change may be found in factory-based industrialization, changes in international food markets, and the effectiveness of modern agrarian radicalism.

Keywords:   environment, climate, rural economy, prices, incomes, landlords, tenants, cottiers, labourers, weavers

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