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Methodist Historical Society of Ireland – Annual Lecture

Methodist Historical Society of Ireland – Annual Lecture

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Date(s) - 18/10/2019
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Belfast South Methodist Church and Agape Centre, 236-266 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 6GF, UK

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Lecturer: Dr Marie Coleman,

Senior Lecturer, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast,

Subject: Demographic change in Longford’s Methodist population, 1869-1926

The decline by one-third of the non-Roman Catholic population of the twenty-six southern Irish counties recorded between the last pre-independence census of population in 1911 and the first conducted in the Free State in 1926 constitutes one of the most significant demographic changes in modern Irish history. Historians have debated the reasons for this and have largely arrived at a consensus that ‘most of the net population loss … may be explained by … factors such as the departure of the British-born military personnel, “normal” or “economic” migration, low or negative natural increase, and a top-heavy age-structure’. Nevertheless, debate remains as to which of these factors was the more significant, with some favouring the explanation of voluntary migration and others focusing on the loss of numbers through declining birth and marriage rates. All agree that the context of revolutionary violence, in particular between the years 1920 to 1923, was a contributory factor but that there is little evidence to sustain emotive claims of depopulation having been caused by a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing by republicans.

Marie Coleman is a graduate of University College Dublin. She has worked previously in the National Library of Ireland, Royal Irish Academy (on the Dictionary of Irish Biography), the University of Limerick, University College Dublin (where she held a Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2001-3) and the National University of Ireland, Galway. She joined Queen’s in September 2004. She is a committee-member of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland, secretary of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy’s National Committee for Historical Sciences.



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