Search these statistical surveys from the early 1800s to learn about the history, customs, politics, and industries of these 10 counties: Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, King’s (Offaly), Leitrim, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, and Tyrone. Discover what pre-Famine life looked like for your ancestor and what recommendations were made based upon these surveys for the improvement of each county.
At the start of the 1800s, statistical surveys were undertaken by the Royal Dublin Society, with the aim of accurately portraying the realities of life in each county, particularly concerning its history, agricultural practices, politics, customs, and religion. These reports represented the first serious effort to capture and present such data. Having been conducted under direction from the Royal Dublin Society, the reports offer solid and consistent information and, since they were created so early in the 19th century, provide significant resources to county history, including the conditions of pre-Famine Ireland.
This collection is comprised of PDF images of the statistical surveys. You can flip through an entire survey from start to finish by searching by title and sorting by image number. Then use the previous and next buttons in the image viewer to navigate through the publication.
The following titles are included in this collection, covering 10 counties in Ireland:
Statistical Survey of Cavan (1802) – Undertaken by Charles Coote, this survey covers the practices of agriculture and industry in Cavan, with suggestions offered by Coote for improvement. Coote offers criticism of the landlords for failing to effect needed change for productivity.
Statistical Survey of County Clare (1808) – Conducted by Healy Dutton, this survey offers significant information for anyone interested in researching County Clare. Dutton strongly criticized the gentry and wealthy farmers who refused to cooperate in the creation of this survey but was also quick to compliment the citizens of County Clare for their hospitality.
Statistical Survey of County Cork (1810) – Conducted by Reverend Horatio Townsend, this survey provides extensive information (including a detailed county map) for anyone researching County Cork. In his conclusion, where he comments on suggested improvements, Townsend emphasizes education of the citizenry.
Statistical Survey of County Donegal (1802) – Undertaken by James McParlan, MD, this survey offers extended insights into the causes of poverty and the poor conditions for those in rural areas. McParlan laid much of the blame on excessive whiskey production. The suffering of the poor was of significant concern to McParlan as a medical doctor. As there are few resources for researching early 19th century Donegal, this survey offers valuable information.
Statistical Survey of County Meath (1802) – Conducted by Robert Thompson, the survey covers the daily life and agriculture of pre-Famine Meath. In his research, Thompson identified only six ways in which agricultural production could be improved, particularly noting the adverse impact of absentee landlords.
Statistical Survey of the County Leitrim (1802)—This bleak account of County Leitrim, conducted by James McParlan, MD, outlines the causes of the devastated population (expatriation, banishment, etc.) and the state of the remaining crippled population. McParlan ultimately recommends government intervention to improve the county’s and its people’s circumstances.
Statistical Survey of the County of Roscommon (1832) – Isaac Weld conducted one of the last of the surveys to be published; it is also one of the most detailed. The survey is broken down to barony level and has around 80 pages of statistical tables. Weld’s impression of Roscommon is poor, describing it in terms of “wretchedness.”
Statistical Survey of the County of Tyrone (1802) – Conducted by John McEvoy, this survey provides details of the agricultural economy and daily life of pre-Famine County Tyrone. Additionally, the appendix provides information about the state of Mountjoy and the plans in place by Lord Mountjoy to improve the estate’s condition and its inhabitants.
Statistical Survey of the King’s County (1801) – Conducted by Charles Coote, who suggested several areas where improvement could be made in King’s County (County Offaly) – the draining of bogs, land reclamation, farmyard improvement, and the suffering of the poor, which Coote believed would require much effort to alleviate.
The Statistical Survey of County Mayo (1802) – James McParlan’s account provides extensive detail into the social and economic conditions of County Mayo, as well as insight into local customs. McParlan, a medical doctor, had a keen interest in the suffering of those living in poverty, which is reflected in his work.