Irish Artisans and Radical Politics, 1776-1820

BookIrish Artisans and Radical Politics, 1776-1820

Irish Artisans and Radical Politics, 1776-1820

Apprenticeship to Revolution

Reappraisals in Irish History, 19


November 1st, 2022





Irish Artisans and Radical Politics, 1776-1820: Apprenticeship to Revolution is a comparative study of the political activities of workers in three Irish cities: Dublin, Belfast and Cork. It investigates how Ireland’s journeymen and apprentices engaged in campaigns for political reform, as well as in revolutionary conspiracies, during the years 1776 to 1820.  This book marks the first ever attempt to analyse the role of Irish workers in the creation of eighteenth-century republicanism, representing the careful distillation of nearly a decade of research on the topic. It argues that Irish craftsmen truly did serve an ‘apprenticeship to revolution’. In the literal sense, the experience of the workshop provided artisans with a set of traditions which shaped how new revolutionary doctrines were received. But generations of Irish workers also served a figurative apprenticeship to successive political movements: the campaigns of Irish ‘Patriot’ MPs, the Volunteering movement of the 1770s, and the revolutionary campaigns of the United Irishmen. The book explores the role of urban workers within the 1798 Irish Rebellion and Robert Emmet’s 1803 rising and, adopting a transnational framework, places the actions of these Irish artisans within the context of British radicalism and the creation of an industrial working class.

Author Information

Timothy Murtagh is an Archival Research Fellow with the Beyond 2022 project (Trinity College Dublin/Public Records Office of Northern Ireland).

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1. Irish Cities and Popular Politics in the Eighteenth Century
2. Irish Artisans and the American Revolution 1776-1784
3. Culture and Conflict in Three Irish Cities 1785-1790
4. ‘Hibernian Sans-Culottes’: Dublin’s Radical Journeymen 1790-1795
5. Provincial Revolutionaries: Cork and Belfast in the 1790s
6. Dublin and the 1798 Rebellion
7. Counter-Revolution, Union and Emmet 1799-1803
8. Aftermath and Radical Exodus 1804-1820