Date(s) - 13/03/2019
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Lackagh Parish Centre


Our March lecture will take place on Wednesday 13 March at 8pm in Lackagh Parish Centre, when Dr Tony Varley of NUI Galway will speak on Land Reform and Social Revolution in the West of Ireland.

It has often been suggested that the transfer of ownership from the landlords to the tenant farmers amounted to nothing less than a ‘social revolution’ in early twentieth-century Ireland. How well this suggestion applies to the west of Ireland, where farms were often uneconomically small and land often poor, will be examined in this talk. Our discussion will begin with the questions of what is to be understood by social revolution and how social revolution came to relate to political and economic revolution in the Irish context. Some large-scale land agitations that swept across the rural west during the years of political revolution (especially in 1920) will then be briefly reviewed. Drawing on the evidence of a Harvard anthropological study of ‘family and community’ completed in rural Clare between 1932 and 1934, the final part of the talk will explore what ‘social revolution’ meant in the lived experience of western small farming families during the 1930s.

Dr Tony Varley is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Political Science & Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has co-edited A Living Countryside? The Politics of
Sustainable Development in Rural Ireland (Farnham, 2009), Integration through Subordination: The Politics of Agricultural Modernisation in Industrial Europe (Turnhout, 2013), and Land Questions in Modern Ireland (Manchester, 2016). His study on the agrarian dimension of the 1916 Rising in County Galway was published under the title ‘The Eclipsing of a Radical Agrarian Nationalist: Tom Kenny and the 1916 Rising in County Galway”, in Marie Mannion (ed.), Centenary Reflections on the 1916 Rising: County Galway Perspectives (Galway, 2016).

March Lecture – Dr Tony Varley on Land Reform and Social Revolution in the West of Ireland