Irish History Live


Dublin Lock-out by Cathal McLaughlin

To understand the significance and course of the Dublin Lock-out it is necessary to examine, briefly, the conditions which persisted for the Dublin working-class in 1913. The living conditions of the Dublin proletariat (working-class) in the first decade of the twentieth century were extremely poor. A few examples serve to illustrate this point: About 80,000 people lived in run-down tenement accommodation with many families living in a single room. 20,000 people lived in ‘third-class housing’; defined as unfit for human habitation.[1]  This problem was greatly exacerbated by the ‘increasingly sharp division between the spacious bourgeois suburbs to the south and the central concentration of slum dwellings, especially on the north side of the River Liffey.’[2]  Thousands of people were employed in unskilled labour, with men earning £1 a week and women receiving as little as 12s. This income was barely sufficient to provide a means of subsistence.[3] 

[1] J. L. Hyland, Life and times: James Connolly (Dundalk, 1997), p. 42.

[2] R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600-1972 (London, 1988), p. 436.

[3] Hyland, Life and times, p. 42.


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This entry was written by Cathal McLaughlin. Cathal is a second-year student of History and Politics at Queen's University Belfast. His research interests include European history and the history of ideas, with a particular interest in the history of Socialism and Marxism.

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