Census of Ireland, Co. Galway 1871 Statistical Abstracts


Cat No.:   IE0029:

Printed in Dublin for Her Majesty's Stationary Office by Alexander Thom of Dublin and published in 1874, the statistical abstracts for the 1871 Census of Ireland for the county and town of Galway provides incredibly detailed and fascinating statistical material on this county.

While most genealogists and historians in Ireland will be familiar with the manuscript 1901 and 1911 Censuses of Ireland detailing households and the individuals contained therein, the statistical data that was gathered, analysed and published in tabular form is often easily overlooked.

Since the first gathering of census data in Ireland in 1821, the Government's Stationary Office has used the information gathered to help understand and formulate policy in three broad areas, namely health, housing and education.

Presented here are the tables and statistical analyses for the town and county of Galway. Extending to some 200 pages the information gathered in the 1871 Statistical Abstracts for Galway is presented in over 40 tables. The wealth of information that is available, often right down to the smallest geographical denomination, the townland, is impressive and is often used by social historians to identify trends in areas over a decennial period. The Statistical Abstracts, from the 1831 Census onwards, compare current data with that of the previous Census. In this way trends can be readily identified. The most obvious trend is that of population change. In a number of tables the 1871 Census of Ireland provides data on the number of occupied dwellings, unoccupied dwellings and population, which is broken down by age and gender for 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 Censuses of Ireland. This information highlights the levels of rural depopulation in Galway and increases in the populations of the major urban centres. These Statistical Abstracts were and are used in attempts to assess loss of life in the Great Famine and general migration levels.

Pertinent to Connaught is the information collected on Irish language usage. From the 1851 Census of Ireland onwards Census enumerators collected data on the numbers of Irish only and Irish and English speakers. The trend of decline in spoken Irish can clearly be witnessed in the 1871 Census of Ireland, even in the barony of Arran. In 1871 the number of Irish only speakers was recorded as 2,573 compared with 3,727 a decade earlier, although this has also to be seen in the context of smaller population base.

For anybody with an interest in the social and demographic history of Galway, the 1871 Census of Ireland, is to be highly recommended and provides a degree of statistical information available in no other source.

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