CUSTOMS15: Ireland's international trade, 1698-1829

About the project

This project explores the potential for the construction of a database of Irish international trade 1698-1829, working from a unique sets of records, the 'Customs 15' ledgers of the exports and imports of Ireland, housed in the UK National Archives. Here, we present some preliminary data, as charts and tables, from a selection of these ledgers, and one digitised sample volume. We also provide details of our project symposium, held at the Humanities Institute UCD, Friday 19th September 2014.

The project and symposium have been made possible by a 'New Foundations' grant awarded by the Irish Research Council, which we gratefully acknowledge.

Patrick Walsh
Eoin Magennis
Aidan Kane

Sources, sample images

The material here reflects work-in-progress on data capture of a selection of volumes from the Customs 15 records at the UK National Archives. We've made available one of the digitised volumes, that for 1764, as a pdf file:

Sample data, charts


The database from which charts and tables here are generated currently (as of start November 2014) has summary export and import data for 1714 to 1774 at ten-year intervals.

Each original volume typically also has a table related to tonnage and shipping. This is usually one page, showing; the total number of ships 'employed in the trade of Ireland' for year in question, the total tonnage involved, with a breakdown of tonnage by port, and a further breakdown of tonnage by (what we take to be) the country/region of origin of the ship owners. We present some sample charts from these tables below also, for the data we captured for a run of years, 1719 to 1764.

Please note that these data tables and charts are presented here for illustrative purposes only, and the data should not really be relied upon for serious analaysis at this stage. There are many things we yet need to do with the data, before it can be relied upon and/or assessed properly as to reliability, e.g.,

Sample summary export and import data, selected years 1714-1774

Tonnage and shipping charts

International trade history projects:

Symposium Friday 19th September 2014, Humanities Institute, UCD

International guest speaker: Dr Beatrice Dedinger

We extend a special welcome to Dr Beatrice Dedinger, who is an adjunct researcher at the Centre for History at Paris Sciences Po where she specialises in nineteenth German trade history. Her publications include:

Dr Dedinger is one of the leading researchers on the RICardo World Trade History Understanding Trade Globalization 1830-2005 project and is going to talk to us about challenges presented creating that particular international database. Dr Dedinger is also going to talk to us about the TOFLIT18 Transformations of the French economy through the lens of international trade 1716-1821 Project, which is led by Prof. Guillaume Daudin. That project which aims to recreate eighteenth century French trade statistics is also seeking to bring together a network of scholars interested in eighteenth-century trade statistics. It is through our involvement in this project that we have come into contact with Dr Dedinger, and we believe what she will have to say will be of interest to the participants gathered here.