Men, Women and Children in Ireland, 1500-1730

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Based on original research in archives in Ireland and England, the chapter aims to explore the quotidian lives of men, women and children in early modern Ireland. By comparison with English historiography, Irish social history is very under-developed. There is a good reason for this. The burning of the Public Record of Ireland in 1922 destroyed court records and other documents that would enable historians to build a picture of everyday life in sixteenth and seventeenth century Ireland. This article argues that sufficient documentation survives to enable us to reconstruct some aspects of social relations in early modern Ireland. Applying methodologies developed by English social historians, the article examines the history of the family including childbirth, childhood, youth and marital relations. A key theme is to analyse the way in which customs and practices from Gaelic society merged with those of new English and Scottish settlers in early modern Ireland. Gaelic families adopted the English system of primogeniture while the new British arrivals favoured the development of extended family networks over the nuclear family which historians have documented prevailed in early modern England.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge History of Ireland, vol. 2
EditorsJane Ohlmeyer
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 06 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameCambridge History of Ireland
PublisherCambridge University Press

Bibliographical note

Based on extensive primary research


  • social history
  • gender history
  • history of marriage


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