‘A Class Quite Distinct – West of Ireland Herdsmen in the 19th Century’ offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the individuals many of whom were in the employment of landlords throughout County Galway and indeed many of whose descendants continue to live locally to this day.
West of Ireland herdsmen, according to one expert, Roger Richards, in the 1890s, formed ‘a class quite distinct from any employed in any of the English districts, being neither shepherds nor bailiffs and yet a compound of both’. Numerous in Counties Galway and Roscommon, where they were employed by landlords and large graziers, they were responsible workers, liable for damage to their employers’ stock, whether caused by ‘hogs, dogs, bogs, or thieves’, in their own phrase.
The talk describes the anachronistic working conditions of the herds, and considers the efforts of their Herds’ Associations through which they defended their position against employers and tenants’ movements during the land war and after. It was delivered by Dr. John Cunningham of NUI Galway.
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 16.46MB - Duration: 1:11:48 m (32 kbps 44100 Hz)
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