The ‘slum condition’ in nineteenth-century Dublin is a well-documented feature of the city’s past. As a result, much is now known of the overcrowded tenements and their poverty stricken inhabitants. However, yet another community existed in Dublin at this time, which also suffered the indignation of poverty and disease, yet little is known of their plight. These were Dublin’s rural poor, an agricultural community populating the townlands and villages of the wider county beyond the municipality. This pamphlet, while addressing the vital issue of public health in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Dublin, instead chooses the territorial boundaries of the South Dublin Poor Law Union as its geographical unit of study. Areas covered in detail include the parishes of Rathfarnham, Clondalkin, Tallaght and Crumlin. While a lot of the place-names are still familiar to today’s reader, many more have since disappeared. As a study in local history it is concerned primarily with the lives of the local inhabitants of this area, and more specifically, with the impact on these lives of local government politics. Its primary objective therefore, is to explore from both an administrative and social perspective, the trials and tribulations involved in implementing within this union, the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878.
About the Author
Frank Cullen currently works as editorial assistant with the Irish Historic Towns Atlas project in the Royal Irish Academy. He completed his PhD in history (NUI Maynooth, 2005) with a thesis titled ‘Local government and the management of urban space: a comparative study of Belfast and Dublin, 1830 – 1922’.