Population, providence and empire

The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland

By Sarah Roddy

Population, providence and empire

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9019-6
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: December 2014
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Society & social sciences / Migration, immigration & emigration, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Modern History, History, Ireland, European history, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration


Over seven million people left Ireland over the course of the nineteenth century. This book is the first to put that huge population change in its religious context, by asking how the Irish Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian churches responded to mass emigration. Did they facilitate it, object to it, or limit it? Were the three Irish churches themelves changed by this demographic upheaval?

Focusing on the effects of emigration on Ireland rather than its diaspora, and merging two of the most important phenomena in the story of modern Ireland - mass emigration and religious change - this study offers new insights into both nineteenth-century Irish history and historical migration studies in general. Its five thematic chapters lead to a conclusion that, on balance, emigration determined the churches' fates to a far greater extent than the churches determined emigrants' fates.


1. Talk of population: the clergy and emigration in principle
2. The emigrant's friend?: the clergy and emigration in practice
3. 'Scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd': the pastoral responses of the Irish churches to emigration
4. The battlefield against popery: emigration and sectarian rivalry
5. The spiritual empire at home: emigration and the spread of Irish religious influence
Select bibliography


Sarah Roddy is Lecturer in Irish History in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester

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