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Symposium

Symposium 2008

2008 Irish Studies Symposium: November 3 & 4

Session VI: Census Research: 20th Century Ireland and the 1911 Census

A Tale of Two Cities: A Short Social History of Early Twentieth-Century Dublin
Dr. Diarmaid Ferriter, Boston College

Summary: This presentation illustrates how the Dublin Census returns of 1911 can be used by historians to bring alive the city as it was in the early 20th century.

Arguing that the city that was a mass of contradictions, this presentation looks briefly at poverty and health, living conditions, economic issues, transport, literary life, sport, leisure and entertainment and divisions of class and culture to give an overview of the many strands of the city and its 477,000 inhabitants as it moved into a decade that would witness considerable political and social upheaval. Poverty ensured that 33% of all families lived in one-roomed accommodation and the slums of Dublin were the worst in the United Kingdom, while in some parts of the city others prospered, with an expanding Catholic Middle class gaining steady prominence in the city's professional and administrative ranks.

The culture of Dublin was diverse and it was the city of James Joyce, Seán O'Casey, W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory amongst others. In the ferment of its politics, the vibrancy of its culture and the disparity in its wealth, Dublin in 1911 bore all the hallmarks of a city on the edge of enormous change.

Transcript, audio and video

Suffragettes and the 1911 Census of Ireland
Dr. William Murphy, Mater Dei Institute of Education

Summary: In Britain in 1911, the Women's Social and Political Union and other female suffrage groups organised a boycott of the census under the slogan "No Vote, No Census".

This paper will explore the efforts to mount a similar protest in Ireland. It will examine the attitudes of female suffrage campaigners and organisations in Ireland to such a protest. The difficulties facing suffragists who wished to boycott the census will be outlined and the extent of the eventual protest will be assessed. Census returns and other sources will be utilised to analyse the response of the authorities to the actions of suffragists, while the attitude of the wider public will be explored.

Transcript, audio and video

The 1911 Census and Teaching Irish Medical History
Dr. Catherine Cox, Center for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin

Summary: The teaching of medical history is a relatively new phenomenon in Irish universities. As a consequence, the perception still remains among students and some fellow academics that the study of medical study is concerned primarily with the narrative of scientific progress and biographies of medical giants. The hesitant development of the subject in Ireland and the ethical issues inherent in utilising primary sources has resulted in a serious lacuna in the provision of accessible digitised material.

The digitisation of the 1911 Census helps to redress this serious imbalance. This resource, combined with an increased focus on research-led teaching in universities, provides an excellent opportunity to actively engage undergraduate students in small research projects. These projects not only question students' narrow perception of the subject, but allow them to work with primary source material under the rubrics of individual modules and come up with their own findings.

In my use of the material, the objective is to encourage students to address some of the larger questions within the history of medicine, pertinent to the subject internationally, through Irish case studies accessible via the 1911 Census. The presentation will outline the importance of the 1911 Census in the teaching of Irish Medical History.

Using the 1911 Census of Ireland
Ms. Catriona Crowe, National Archives of Ireland

Summary: This presentation involves a demonstration of the Census of Ireland 1911 [www.census.nationalarchives.ie/] including the "Search" and "Browse" functions as well as the themes of the context pages.

Session V | LAC Demonstration


Symposium Sponsors:

Ancestry.ca [www.ancestry.ca] Logo: Ancestry.ca

National Archives of Ireland [www.nationalarchives.ie] Logo: National Archives of Ireland