- The culture, history and people of Ireland and the Irish

Prev | Next | Contents | Main Page


  1. I speak from personal knowledge when I say that the leaders of Irish industry and commerce are fully alive to the practical consideration which they have now to devote to the new conditions by which they are surrounded. They recognise that the intensified foreign competition which harasses them is due chiefly to German education and American enterprise. They are deep in the consideration of the form which technical education should take to meet their peculiar needs; and I am confident that Ulster will make a sound and useful contribution to the solution of the commercial and industrial problems which confront the manufacturers of the United Kingdom.

  2. That such a knowledge is still required, though the need is becoming less urgent, is shown by an incident which illustrates the pathos of the Irish exodus. A poor woman once asked me to help her son to emigrate to America, and I agreed to pay his passage. Early in the negotiations, finding that she was somewhat vague as to her boy's prospects, I asked her whether he wanted to go to North or South America. This detail she seemed to consider immaterial. "Ach, glory be to God, I lave that to yer honner. Why wouldn't I?" Had I shipped him to Peru she would have been quite satisfied. Why wouldn't she?

  3. Yet another view which seems to uproot most agrarian ideas in Ireland has been put forward by Dr. O'Gara in The Green Republic (Fisher Unwin, 1902). His main conclusion is that the present disastrous state of our rural economy is due to our treating land as an object of property and not of industry. He advocates the cultivation of the land by syndicates holding farms of 20,000 acres and tilling them by the lavish application of modern machinery as the only way to meet American competition. His book is able and suggestive, but it is perhaps, a work of supererogation to discuss a theory the whole moral of which is the expediency of absolutely divorcing the functions of the proprietor and the manager of land at a time when the consensus of opinion in Ireland is in favour of uniting them, and in view of the fact that under the new Land Act the future of the country seems inevitably to lie for a long time in the hands of a peasant proprietary.

  4. The reader may wonder why I touch so lightly upon a fact of such profound significance as the Irishman's acceptance of self-help as a condition precedent of State aid in the development of agriculture and industry. But such a cursory treatment, in the early chapters, of this and of other equally important aspects of the Irish situation is necessitated by the plan I have adopted. I am attempting to give in the first part of the book a philosophic insight into the chief Irish problems, and then, in the second part of the book, to present the facts which appear to me to illustrate these problems in process of solution.

  5. The best expert agricultural opinion tells me that under present conditions a family cannot live in any decent standard of comfort--such as I hope to see prevail in Ireland--on less than 30 acres of Irish land, taking the bad land with the good.

  6. It is, of course, unnecessary for me to dwell upon the part played by the home in the standard of living, especially amongst a rural community. But it may not be irrelevant to note that M. Desmolins, who, in his remarkable book, A quoi tient la superiorité des Anglo-saxons? hands over the future of civilisation to the Anglo-Saxons, ascribes to the English rural home much of the success of the race.

  7. Speed's Chronicle, quoted in Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1611-14, p. xix.

Prev | Next | Contents | Main Page


This is a website about Irish history and culture.