This is the first in what will be a series of occasional brief notes on Ireland’s trade from the 1680s up until the 1820s. It uses the sources of CUST15 and trade ledgers from the 1680s which are currently being digitised. The idea behind this note is to take a random year and detail what Ireland’s external trade was at that point in time, thus show just what can be done with the digitised data. Other notes may look at other years, explore trends in individual ports or look at the trends for a particular commodity or market over the 140 years.
What was happening in 1754?
To provide something of a context for the patterns of trade in 1754 this section will give a quick overview of what was happening in Ireland in that year. In terms of external trade the total value of Ireland imports and exports amounted in 1754 to £3.685 million (or very roughly €875 million in today’s money). The balance of trade was negative as the value of imports exceeded that of exports by £21,000. The economic backdrop was that Ireland was in the midst of one of those periodic recessions which regularly hit, with several bank closures occurring that year and complaints about a lack of coinage. There were low prices for agricultural produce and textiles and emigration to the American colonies from Ulster was on the increase.