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contents : From 1870 - 1914 : Farming

Summary: United Irish League

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In the late 1890s the failure of the potato crop in western counties such as Donegal raised fears of a new famine. These poor smallholders were organised into the United Irish League, a new protection society, by William O’Brien. Some landlords had been keen to evict these smallholders and let their lands to the livestock farmers. O’Brien’s movement fought against both the landlords and the ‘graziers’. It wanted the great grazing ranches in the west to be carved up and redistributed to the small farmers but it met with failure. One consequence of this was that the trend towards larger holdings and the disappearance of small, uneconomic holdings continued.

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