Tag Archives: Trade

Research assistant (economic history) at NUI Galway

Research Assistant – Economic history

Duanaire, Whitaker Institute

Ref. no. NUIG 024-15

[Please note the closing date for this position has now passed.]

Duanaire at NUI Galway invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time fixed-term (12 months) position as a Research Assistant to begin in April 2015. Duanaire aims to open up a wealth of Irish economic history data, and in particular, Irish historical fiscal and trade data, by making accessible online a range of datasets in flexible forms for diverse audiences. Duanaire is led by Dr Aidan Kane (Economics at NUI Galway) and partners with the Whitaker Institute, the Moore Institute, and the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway.

For details of this position, and how to apply, follow the link below:

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00pm Monday 16th March 2015

A brief look at a year (1754) in Ireland’s trade: Part 1

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.
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More images from our 18th century Irish trade data project

Via slideshare, a presentation about our 18th century Irish trade data project.

This has more images of the source documents, showing how consistently structured they are over the decades. Also, a few slides towards the end about some of the technology tools we’re playing with in anticipation of capturing the full dataset.

Sample charts of data on the tonnage and shipping of Ireland, by port, 1719–1764

I’ve updated content for the CUSTOMS15 18th century Irish trade project, which is joint work between Patrick A Walsh, Eoin Magennis, and myself, with:

This is our first real cut at getting trade-related data at the port , rather than national, level. Even though it is work-in-progress, a little background  to the work is appropriate, well in advance of a fully documented dataset.

The core trade data in the sources, i.e., detailed quantities and values of commodities imported and exported, are each year typically supplemented by tables with trade-related information. Each of the annual ledgers seem to have a one-page table on the tonnage and shipping of Ireland. These tables are so well and consistently structured, that their essence can be grasped fairly immediately. Click to zoom in on the image:

Image of tonnage and shipping table from Customs 15 ledgers (UK National Archives) Vol. 17 (for the year ended 25th March 1714)

300 years old, useful, and beautiful: the tonnage and shipping table from the Customs 15 ledgers from the UK National Archives, Vol. 17 (for the year ended 25th March 1714).

We see, for any given year, the number of ships in total, the number of ships for each port, tonnage also at national and port level, with tonnage distinguished further by (what we take to be) the country or region of origin of the owners of shipping. The numbers are uncomplicated, in being in either units of ‘ships’ or ‘tons’ (with the occasional fraction of a ton). So, data-entry is fairly easy. Tonnage data is totalled across rows and down columns, which makes data-checking straightforward too.

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