Activity: Talk or presentation types › Public lecture/debate/seminar
Presentation on A History of Old Age in Early Modern Ireland. An Agenda? In this paper I presented my new research project on the history of old age in early modern Ireland, c. 1500-1820. Drawing on research on early modern England, it suggests some themes that can be explored in Ireland. In the absence of parish records, I made use of alternative sources (1641 deposition records and the transplantation certificates of forfeited landowners in the 1650s) to calculate the distribution of age profiles and to suggest that the over 60 population represented 8-10% of the population in seventeenth century Ireland. I also explore the status of the elderly in early modern society and argue that the link between military strength and political power meant that older political leaders in Gaelic as well as English society were often pushed aside by younger and physically stronger men. I suggest also that, as in England, there was no recognition of the elderly as a distinct group in society but that the establishment of the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in the late seventeenth century was the first official recognition that old soldiers, at least, merited special attention and care.