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    Flax Cultivation in Ireland: The Development and Demise of a Regional Staple.

    Smyth, W.J. (2012) Flax Cultivation in Ireland: The Development and Demise of a Regional Staple. In: Anniversary Essays: Forty Years of Geography in Maynooth. National University of Ireland Maynooth, pp. 158-178. ISBN 9780992746605

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    Throughout much of his writings tom Jones Hughes has returned again and again to the theme of Irish regionalism. Notwithstanding his acknowledgement of the role of cultural, and indeed ethnic, factors in the identification of patterns, he has most frequently employed economic variables in a search for regional indicators. His classic cartographic portrayal of the extend of eighteenth and nineteenth century landlord improvements was based on a detailed interpretation of the Griffith Valuation, and analyses of agricultural statistics provided him with the configuration of major regions of economic specialisation in post-Famine rural Ireland. Even his more recent writings have placed considerable emphasis upon economic data, as witness his mapping of farms with a valuation of one hundred pounds or more. While the ultimate goal of all this analysis has been to identify and measure the nature, scale and intensity of spatial differentiation within this island, and while he would probably recoil from being labelled an economic geographer, it is nonetheless apparent that Tom Jones Hughes’s writings suggest a strong interest in regional economies, their landscapes and their socio-cultural manifestations. This essay seeks to identify the agricultural background of probably the most distinctive regional economy to have matured in nineteenth century Ireland, the linen industry of the northern half of the country. Specifically, this essay will explore the regional dimension of flax cultivation and its immediate proto-industrial offshoot, scutch milling. The secondary stages of textile production – the spinning, weaving and bleaching processes – do not form part of the present study.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: First published in Smyth, W.J., Whelan, K., Hughes, T.J. (1988) Common ground: essays on the historical geography of Ireland presented to T. Jones Hughes. Cork: Cork University, pp. 234-252
    Keywords: Flax Cultivation; Ireland; Regional Staple; Anniversary Essays; Geography; Maynooth;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 5589
    Depositing User: IR Editor
    Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 17:42
    Publisher: National University of Ireland Maynooth
    Refereed: Yes

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