Michael Conry releases new book on history of rabbit industry in Ireland

Local author, Michael Conry, has released his latest book, The Rabbit Industry in Ireland: 20th Century Snapshots, detailing the history of the rabbit industry in Ireland, especially in the first half of the 20th century.

The rabbit was an important source of meat for thousands of Irish families throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Catching rabbits supplemented meagre incomes and provided a livelihood for many when jobs were scarce or non-existent. At the same time, they were an unmitigated pest of immense proportions on the farming community, decimating grassland, arable crops and forestry plantations all over the country.

Rabbit formed the basis of an important industry in the 20th century. Millions were exported to Britain each year, especially during the two great wars when Britain was on the verge of starvation and needed all the un-rationed food Ireland could supply. The export of millions of rabbit skins to Britain and elsewhere for the felt hat industry was an important spin-off of the industry.

Michael Conry is the eldest of a large family born on a medium-sized farm in Tulsk, County Roscommon. He received his early education in the local national schools: Bishop Hodson’s Grammar School, Elphin and Roscommon CBS. After graduating in agricultural science from UCD in 1958, he was appointed a research officer in An Foras Talúntais.

During the course of his career in soil science he was awarded an MSc by Ghent University, Belgium, and a PhD by Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied under the guidance of the late professor, Frank Mitchell. He has published many books on the soils of various counties in Ireland and 20 refereed papers in Irish, British, and European scientific journals including seminal studies on the properties and genesis of an iron pan podzol and man-made plaggen soils in Ireland. Michael was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Scientists (UK ) in 1990.

The book is availble in local bookshops for €30, or direct from Michael J Conry, Avila, Chapelstown, Carlow, Ireland. Phone (059 ) 9131535, (086 ) 1591455, or email: [email protected] for more information.

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