Exhibition looks at combating poverty in 19th century Galway

The years 1891 to 1923 were among the most important in Irish history, featuring the events that would lead to independence, partition, and the civil war.

However, through all that time urban and rural poverty remained a problem and a new exhibition in the Galway City Museum will look at how the authorities responded to poverty in the west of Ireland.

Home Improvements: Responding to Poverty in the West, 1891-1923 is a photographic exhibition which examines the work of the Congested Districts Board, established by Arthur J Balfour, chief secretary for Ireland, following a tour he undertook in 1890 of Galway and Mayo.

His conclusion was that people were unable to “draw from their holdings a safe and sufficient livelihood for themselves and their children, whose condition trembles constantly on the verge of want”.

The photographs show the resettlement of tenants, the building of new houses, changes in agricultural practices, and the development of the fishing industry in Galway, Mayo, and Donegal. There are also Manchester Guardian articles written by John Millington Synge and illustrated by Jack B Yeats.

The exhibition runs until the middle of July.

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