Politics and Provincial People

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This ground-breaking study is the first to systematically examine the politics and political culture of provincial Ireland. The book compares two distinct localities that provide differing perspectives on how politics and power manifested itself in provincial Ireland: Sligo in the north west and Limerick in the south west. Drawing on a wealth of previously unknown and under-utilised contemporary material, David Fleming focuses on individuals who were determined to shape the political landscape and those who were affected by their actions.

The book challenges many accepted models of how Ireland and the Irish were governed. While the propertied élite dominated many aspects of the political process, individuals and groups from the professional, mercantile, rural and other sections of society – the ‘middling orders’ – were also active in local institutions and office-holding. Their story, recounted here, reveals a far more complex set of relationships.

Politics and provincial people is a carefully constructed story of people’s motivations, ideas, and actions, and offers new insights into the complexity of their lives and the Irish political landscape.