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    Begging and Alms-Giving in Urban Ireland, 1815-1850

    McCabe, Ciaran (2014) Begging and Alms-Giving in Urban Ireland, 1815-1850. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Begging was a ubiquitous feature of pre-Famine Irish society. Mendicancy formed part of an 'economy of makeshifts', wherein the poor drew upon numerous welfare mechanisms to support themselves. The country's endemic poverty, coupled with traditional practices of alms-giving, ensured that mendicancy prevailed to a considerable extent. Beggary was never far from discussion and debate, in a period when the poor law question was arguably central to public discourse. This thesis examines contemporary efforts to define and measure mendicancy in Irish urban centres, as well as the many disparate ways in which beggars were perceived by all strands of society. The foundation of mendicity societies throughout Ireland reflected a growing concern among the urban middle classes towards the problem of street begging and in the decades before the establishment of the Poor Law system, these mendicity societies were the main cross-denominational medium through which mendicancy was approached. The five largest churches and religious societies each approached the question of beggary from different viewpoints. While certain traits in these approaches can be identified as being distinct to particular denominations, many overlaps in how Christians of different denominations perceived and responded to mendicancy were evident. Attitudes towards begging and beggars were coloured not alone by one's confessional allegiance but by social class and gender. The sheer scale of poverty and destitution during the Great Famine was without precedent and throughout Ireland, individuals and corporate entities struggled to cope with the unfathomable level of beggary. During this period of acute crisis, begging underwent transformations in how it was practiced and perceived.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Begging; Alms-Giving; Urban Ireland; 1815-1850;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 10364
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 14:42
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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