Irish primary education in the early nineteenth century
This beautifully designed book reviews Irish primary education at a time of momentous change. Following a rich contextual introduction, the authors use the data from the 1824 British parliamentary Inquiry to carry out a statistical analysis of the Irish schools system, drawing on the first and second reports (1825-6) of the Inquiry and on the Irish census of 1821. The 1824 Inquiry was one of the most detailed and comprehensive completed by a European state in the 19th century. It made way for the introduction of Ireland’s first national school system.
This book handles themes such as the geographical pattern of male/female and Catholic/Protestant school attendance at that time; the scale of payments by parents and the extent to which factors such as gender, geography, religion, and urbanisation influenced school-going patterns. Context is given on little-documented aspects of Irish educational history such as ‘hedge schools’ - secret, makeshift schools operating during the Penal Law period. Thorough appendices are presented on the number of children at school, their gender, religion and school fees. Illustrations, photographs and freshly drawn maps are published throughout the text to illuminate the complex data set.
Former taoiseach (premier) of Ireland Garret FitzGerald was researching and editing this work at the time of his death in 2011. The project was taken over by his son, economist John FitzGerald, and other close collaborators.