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Wealth and Poverty

Newly digitised Census 1911 documents by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) tell the story of wealth and poverty at that time

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Wealth and poverty by county

The wealthiest counties were in the east of the country, while poorer counties tended to be located on the western seaboard (See Figure 2.1).

Map of the Island of Ireland which has valuation per person (in pounds) from the Census of Ireland, 1911 graded for each county using a range of four different colours.

Table 2.1: Population and Wealth by county as measured by Valuation per Person, 1911

Wealthiest DEDs

Out of the 20 wealthiest DEDs, 17 were in Leinster. Eight of the top 20 wealthiest DEDs were in Meath, the highest number for any county. The remaining 12 DEDs in the top 20 were in Kildare (three), Queens County (two), Westmeath (two) and one each in Belfast City, Cork, Dublin City, Dublin County and Roscommon (See Table 2.2).

Table 2.2: Twenty wealthiest DEDs

Group of well-dressed people standing at the front of a two-story house circa 1913. The house looks to be made of concrete. It has a slate roof and sash windows. There are seven well-dressed people in the group including two children and possibly a maid.

Poorest DEDs

Out of the 20 poorest DEDs, 11 were in Connaught while there were none from Munster. Donegal had eight DEDs out of the 20 poorest DEDs, the highest amount for any county (See Table 2.3).

Table 2.3: Twenty poorest DEDs

Woman and three children standing in front of stone wall at entrance to thatched cottage circa 1900. The smallest child is barefoot and wearing a dress.

Comparing the Wealthiest (Culmullin) and Poorest (Annagary) DEDs

Culmullin DED in Meath was identified as the wealthiest DED in 1911 with a valuation per person of £20.97. Culmullin had a land area of 9,036 acres with 129 houses in 1911, of which 115 were inhabited (See Table 2.4).

 Annagary DED in Donegal was identified as the poorest DED in 1911 with a valuation per person at £0.23. Annagary had a land area of 9,731 acres with 694 houses, of which 639 were inhabited (See Table 2.4).

Table 2.4: Comparison of Culmullin and Annagary from Census of Ireland, 1911 reports (Table VI)

In the Census of Ireland, 1911, the Gaisford household were recorded as living in Culmullin DED, Meath. The Gaisford household consisted of five people – a married couple (Douglas and Elizabeth Gaisford) and three servants (Sarah Browne, Fanny Ashell and Emily McIlray). Their house had 21 rooms along with 13 outhouses and farmsteadings. Douglas Gaisford is also listed as the landholder for three other houses on associated returns. The Census returns for the other three houses contain occupation descriptions such as gardener, coachman, or general labourer – presumably for persons employed by the Gaisford household.

The original Census Form A for the Gaisford household can be found here on the National Archives website. 

The Form B. 1. House and Building Return contains a description of the Gaisford’s property (house 1) and can be found here on the National Archives website.

 Three well-dressed children at front of house entrance circa 1904. Two children are standing, and the smallest child is between them sitting in a toy horse and carriage. There is a large front door in the background and the walls of the house have ivy growing on them.

In the Census of Ireland, 1911, the Duffy household were recorded as living in Annagary DED, Donegal. The Duffy household consisted of 11 people with the head of family, Grace Duffy, listed as a farmer’s wife. There were nine children aged from 18 down to one year old and a grandmother aged 73. Their house contained just two rooms along with one outhouse or farmsteading. This household Census return records the roof of this house as being of ‘Thatch, wood or other perishable material’ while the walls were of ‘stone, brick or concrete’.

The original Census Form A for the Duffy household can be found here on the National Archives website.

The Form B. 1. House and Building Return contains a description of the Duffy’s property (house 23) and can be found here on the National Archives website.

Old woman and two boys standing at doorway of thatched cottage circa 1900. The two boys are barefoot, and the smallest boy is wearing a dress. The old woman is wearing a large shawl.