The Irish Statistical Survey was carried out under the direction of the Royal Dublin Society. Each county was surveyed with the aim of determining the 'actual state, capabilities and defects of agriculture, manufactures and rural economy'. In practice the surveys contained a vast quantity of local information on almost every aspect of the county surveyed. Because these studies were carried out under central direction the quality of the information provided is good, and given their early date, they remain an invaluable source for the study of each county. They record many details about conditions in pre-Famine Ireland, including social and economic conditions, the growth of population and poverty, education, religion, history, the Irish language and local customs. Hely Dutton's introduction contains a very stinging rebuke of the wealthy farmers and the gentry for their lack or co-operation in compiling the survey and their "gross ignorance". However, he does also note the remarkable hospitality of the people of the county, though they have yet to learn to "put the cork in the bottle". This is a vital source for anyone with an interest in the history of County Clare.
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