Sunday, 4 March 2012


From: Clara Hoyne
Clare Roots Society will host its next talk on Thursday 15 March 2012 at the Civic Rooms, Drumbiggle at 8 pm. The title of the talk is

"Researching the Irish in mid nineteenth-century New Zealand" and will be given by Dr Ciara Breathnach, Department of History, University of Limerick.

In 1870 the Irish Times wrote: 'It may surprise those who are interested in watching the course of the waves of emigration from this country to learn that in 1867 there were resident in New Zealand 27,955 Irishmen and Irishwomen, all apparently doing well and pursuing an industrious life'. Despite free passage for women, assisted migration schemes (with very generous terms and conditions), boundless opportunities and an established Irish community, New Zealand as a migrant destination did not manage to gain widespread popularity. This paper focuses on reasons why. Direct migration schemes were initiated in the 1870s but they failed to adequately recruit. The first ship contained Cork workhouse immigrants and this had a disastrous effect on the Irish reputation in Otago. Intrinsically linked to class and sectarian issues, Dr. Breathnach's research points to the various pitfalls associated with transnational and marginal histories, especially when dealing with Catholic and Irish poor.

Dr Breathnach holds a Lectureship at the Department of History, University of Limerick, where she is also Course Director for the MA (History of Family) since 2005. Dr. Breathnach is President of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth Century Ireland, and is Principal Investigator of a current IRCHSS award. Her publications include The Congested Districts Board of Ireland, 1891-1923, Poverty and Development in the West of Ireland (Four Courts Press, Dublin and Portland, 2005); Ciara Breathnach and Catherine Lawless (eds), Visual, material and print culture in nineteenth-century Ireland (Four Courts Press, Dublin and Portland, 2010); Ciara Breathnach (guest editor), Ireland: Church, State and society 1900-1975, The History of the Family: International Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 4, 2008. Ciara Breathnach (ed.), Framing the West: images of rural Ireland 1890-1920 (Irish Academic Press, Dublin and Portland, 2007). Ciara Breathnach and Aoife Bhreatnach (eds.), Portraying Irish Travellers: histories and representations (Cambridge Scholars Press, Newcastle Upon Tyne, February 2007).

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