THE Mayor of Londonderry Martin Reilly will launch Seán Beattie’s ‘Donegal in Transition: The impact of the Congested Districts Board’ in McGrory’s, Culdaff on Thursday (October 10).
The book explores the impact of the board - established by Arthur Balfour in 1891 when he was Chief Secretary - in Donegal.
According to the blurb: “In this accessible and lively new book, historian Seán Beattie explores the dramatic impact of the Congested Districts Board (CDB) on the economic, political and cultural life of Co. Donegal.”
It adds: “At that time the country was recovering from the effects of the Land War and a series of bitter harvests, and in an attempt to end the cycle of poverty, the CDB set out to raise living standards by promoting industrial development, investing in maritime resources, increasing agricultural output, and opening up new opportunities for women through arts and crafts.
“Perhaps its most enduring legacy was the promotion of self-help to inspire confidence in the capacity of a rural development agency to generate reform and raise living standards in one of the most neglected counties in Ulster.”
The meticulously researched work will be of great interest to anyone with an interest in local socio-economic history.
Replete with plates and tables and a list of Donegal estates purchased by the CDB it is divided into ten chapters.
These cover: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Donegal; Arthur Balfour’s Impressions of Donegal; Contrasting Perspectives; From Cottage Industries to World Trade Fairs; Troubled Waters; Making a Living From the Land; Land Purchase: Owners of the Land They Tilled; Women’s Work; At the Grass Roots: Parish Communities; and Building the Future on the Past.