Precarious childhood in post-independence Ireland

By Moira Maguire

Precarious childhood in post-independence Ireland


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8774-5
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: June 2012
  • BIC Category: Ireland, European history, Age groups: children, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Children's Studies, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Society & social sciences / Child welfare, Humanities / British & Irish history, History


This fascinating study reveals the desperate plight of the poor, illegitimate, and abused children in an Irish society that claimed to cherish and hold them sacred, but in fact marginalized and ignored them. It examines closely the history of childhood in post-independence Ireland, and breaks new ground in examining the role of the state in caring for its most vulnerable citizens.

Maguire gives voice to those children who formed a significant proportion of the Irish population, but have been ignored in the historical record. More importantly, she uses their experiences as lenses through which to re-evaluate Catholic influence in post-independence Irish society.

An essential and timely work, this book offers a different interpretation of the relationships between the Catholic Church, the political establishment, and Irish people; important for those interested in the history of family and childhood as well as twentieth-century Irish social history.


1. Poverty, family dysfunction, and State provision for neglected children
2. Cherished equally? "Outdoor" provision for illegitimate children
3. Cherished equally? Institutional provision for illegitimate children
4. Legislating care and protection: The Carrigan Committee, the age of consent, and adoption
5. The abused child?
6. Sanctity of child life? Official responses to infanticide
7. Desperate act or wilful choice? Infanticide and unwanted children


Moira J. Maguire is Associate Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Precarious childhood in post-independence Ireland

By Moira Maguire

Paperback £15.99 / $23.95

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

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