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Rural Athenry 1821: Marking 200 years since the first census

Steve Dolan
Galway Heritage

The 1821 census, the first extant census of Ireland and Britain, is a priceless source of information on the peoples of these Islands from two centuries ago. While most of the census specifics have been lost, Athenry is fortunate in that its specifics survive. This project seeks to share the story of ‘Rural Athenry’, in a way that last year’s project on ‘Athenry Town’ did for the urban area. As then, considerable efforts have been made to focus on the families in the parish who best reflect the spectrum of rural parishioners. Due to the survival of the 1821 census, the economy and society of pre-famine Athenry can be explored in a manner not possible for other Irish towns and parishes. Analysis of the census reveal an economy heavily reliant on agriculture and flax/linen, with only modest trades & manufacturing. As we near the bi-centenary of the first census, this booklet, together with its companion edition on Athenry town, is offered as a tribute to all those in the census. There will be an online lecture [free] and booklet [€10] launch. Full proceeds will again go to Galway Autism Partnership.

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