Contributed by Brian Hanley
Most history courses taught in Irish universities tend to confine their studies of labour to the 1913 Lockout or as a way of explaining James Connolly and 1916. Jim Larkin may or not be mentioned again in passing later, but there remains a consensus that labour was marginal to the main story of Ireland in the 20th century. That 1919-22 were far more important years for labour than 1913, and that the labour movement was influential in terms of numbers and activity during the revolutionary era usually passes most people by. Professor Emmet O’Connor offers some thoughts on this here. (An updated edition of O’Connor’s A Labour History of Ireland is being re-published this year.)
Despite at times being seen as having a narrow focus, labour history is about more than trade union records, or strikes and lockouts, or left organisations (though it is of course about all those things). There is a growing appreciation of studies of work, family life, leisure, class (in both town and country) and ethnicity involved in labour history. These sites will give you some idea of this. As with most things on the internet, some have links that will lead you to even more interesting sites, and others have links that will lead you nowhere.
This is a very rough guide – there’s loads more and feel free to point them out!
Conor McCabe is involved with this site. Conor’s history of the roots of the economic crisis The Sins of the Father is due out this summer – put it on your reading lists).
Irish Labour History Society
It’s a great pity that Saothar, the Irish Labour History Society journal isn’t accessible online, as a lot of cutting edge research has appeared in it over the years.
Cedar Lounge Revolution
This site will be familiar to some already, but they are doing invaluable work putting this material up.
Some from outside Ireland
Most of these sites are U.S. based-they range from Universities to local history societies and trade unions.
Tags: Labour history