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    Politics and Society in Westmeath, 1815-35

    Kenny, John (2015) Politics and Society in Westmeath, 1815-35. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The purpose of this thesis is to trace and evaluate the course of governance and law enforcement in Westmeath from the end of the European wars to the accession of Queen Victoria. Politics in the county took a new and highly volatile direction. The Roman Catholic bishops and clergy were a major influence on the new middle classes. The Church of Ireland, never more than a shadow organisation, was in retreat from its civil responsibilities. The conflicts arising from the religious rivalries of the period form a significant part of the thesis. The rapid growth of the population of the county was the defining factor in the agrarian warfare of the period. The brutal competition for land at any price, the colonisation of the marginal hill and bog land, the uncontrolled sub-division of small holdings, the dearth of industrial employment, were all central factors in the argument that W estmeath did not possess the social or economic structure to enable the county to modernise itself Violent disorder, fuelled by alcohol, was an integral component of life in Westmeath. The influence and activities of local secret societies must form a central theme of any work on the period. The conclusion drawn is that while such organisations did exist, their aims and objectives were concentrated on local agrarian issues. They had no central command or control. The violence of the countryside and the overspill of chaos into the towns was, I argue, grounded firmly in the socio-economic conditions resulting from an evil land system and a weak administration which would take the rest of the century to resolve.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Politics; Society; Westmeath; 1815-35;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 6343
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2015 09:31
      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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