a fixed sum of £79,000 should be forthcoming annually from the consolidated fund. (3) The county cess was abolished, and the county councils were empowered to levy a single rate for the rural districts and unions, called by the name of poor rate, for all the purposes of the act. This rate is made upon the occupier and not upon the landlord, and the occupier is not entitled, save in a few specified cases, to deduct any of the rate from his rent. For the year ending the 31st of March 1905, the total receipts of the Irish county councils, exclusive of the county boroughs, were £2,964,298 and their total expenditure was £2,959,961, the two chief items of expenditure being “Union Charges” £1,002,620 and “Road Expenditure” £779,174. During the same period the total receipts from local taxation in Ireland amounted to £4,013,303, and the amount granted from imperial sources in aid of local taxation was £1,781,143.
Loans.—The total amount issued on loan, exclusive of closed sources, by the Commissioners of Public Works, up to the 31st of March 1906, was £26,946,393, of which £15,221,913 had been repaid to the exchequer as principal and £9,011,506 as interest, and £1,609,694 had been remitted. Of the sums advanced, about £5,500,000 was under the Improvement of Lands Acts, nearly £3,500,000 under the Public Health Acts, over £3,000,000 for lunatic asylums, and over £3,000,000 under the various Labourers Acts.
Banking.—The Bank of Ireland was established in Dublin in 1783 with a capital of £600,000, which was afterwards enlarged at various times, and on the renewal of its charter in 1821 it was increased to £3,000,000. It holds in Ireland a position corresponding to the Bank of England in England. There are eight other joint-stock banks in Ireland. Including the Bank of Ireland, their subscribed capital amounts to £26,349,230 and their paid-up capital to £7,309,230. The authorized note circulation is £6,354,494 and the actual note circulation in June 1906 was £6,310,243, two of the banks not being banks of issue. The deposits in the joint-stock banks amounted in 1880 to £29,350,000; in 1890 to £33,061,000; in 1900 to £40,287,000; and in 1906 to £45,842,000. The deposits in the Post Office Savings Banks rose from £1,481,000 in 1880 to £10,459,000 in 1906, and the deposits in Trustee Savings Banks from £2,100,165 in 1880 to £2,488,740 in 1905.
National Wealth.—To arrive at any estimate of the national wealth is exceptionally difficult in the case of Ireland, since the largest part of its wealth is derived from agriculture, and many important factors, such as the amount of capital invested in the linen and other industries, cannot be included, owing to their uncertainty. The following figures for 1905–1906 may, however, be given: valuation of lands, houses, &c., £15,466,000; value of principal crops, £35,362,000; value of cattle, &c., £81,508,000; paid-up capital and reserve funds of joint-stock banks, £11,300,000; deposits in joint-stock and savings banks, £58,791,000; investments in government stock, transferable at Bank of Ireland, £36,952,000; paid-up capital and debentures of railway companies, £38,405,000; paid-up capital of tramway companies, £2,074,000.
In 1906 the net value of property assessed to estate duty, &c., in Ireland was £16,016,000 as compared with £306,673,000 in England and £38,451,000 in Scotland; and in 1905 the net produce of the income tax in Ireland was £983,000, as compared with £27,423,000 in England and £2,888,000 in Scotland.
Bibliography.—Agriculture: Accounts of the land systems of Ireland will be found in James Godkin’s Land War in Ireland (1870); Sigerson’s History of Land Tenure in Ireland (1871); Joseph Fisher’s History of Land Holding in Ireland (1877); R. B. O’Brien’s History of the Irish Land Question (1880); A. G. Richey’s Irish Land Laws (1880). General information will be found in J. P. Kennedy’s Digest of the evidence given before the Devon Commission (Dublin, 1847–1848); the Report of the Bessborough Commission, 1881, and of the commission on the agriculture of the United Kingdom, 1881. The Department of Agriculture publishesseveral official annual reports, dealing very fully with Irish agriculture.
of Ireland (1698); An Inquiry into the State and Progress of the Linen Manufacture in Ireland (Dublin, 1757); G. E. Howard, Treatise on the Revenue of Ireland (1776); John Hely Hutchinson, Commercial Restraints of Ireland (1779); Lord Sheffield, Observations on the Manufactures, Trade and Present State of Ireland (1785); R. B. Clarendon, A Sketch of the Revenue and Finances of Ireland (1791); the annual reports of the Flax Supply Association and other local bodies, published at Belfast; reports by the Department of Agriculture on Irish imports and exports (these are a new feature and contain much valuable information).
Miscellaneous: Sir William Petty, Political Anatomy of Ireland (1691); Arthur Dobbs, Essay on the Trade of Ireland (1729); Abstract of the Number of Protestant and Popish Families in Ireland (1726); Arthur Young, Tour in Ireland (1780); T. Newenham, View of the Circumstances of Ireland (1809), and Inquiry into the Population of Ireland (1805); César Moreau, Past and Present State of Ireland (1827); J. M. Murphy, Ireland, Industrial, Political and Social (1870); R. Dennis, Industrial Ireland (1887); Grimshaw, Facts and Figures about Ireland (1893); Report of the Recess Committee (1896, published in Dublin); Report of the Financial Relations Commission (1897); Sir H. Plunkett, Ireland in the New Century (London, 1905); Filson Young, Ireland at the Cross-Roads (London, 1904); Thom’s Almanac, published annually in Dublin, gives avery useful summary of statistics and other information. (W. H. Po.)
On account of its isolated position we might expect to find Ireland in possession of a highly developed system of legends bearing on the origins of its inhabitants. Ireland remained outside the pale of the ancient Roman world, and a state of society which was peculiarly Historical sources. favourable to the preservation of national folk-lore survived in the island until the 16th century. The jealousy with which the hereditary antiquaries guarded the tribal genealogies naturally leads us to hope that the records which have come down to us may shed some light on the difficult problems connected with the early inhabitants of these islands and the west of Europe. Although innumerable histories of Ireland have appeared in print since the publication of Roderick O’Flaherty’s Ogygia (London, 1677), the authors have in almost every case been content to reproduce the legendary accounts without bringing any serious criticism to bear on the sources. This is partly to be explained by the fact that the serious study of Irish philology only dates from 1853 and much of the most important material has not yet appeared in print. In the middle of the 19th century O’Donovan and O’Curry collected a vast amount of undigested information about the early history of the island, but as yet J. B. Bury in his monograph on St Patrick is the only trained historian who has ever adequately dealt with any of the problems connected with ancient Ireland. Hence it is evident that our knowledge of the subject must remain extremely unsatisfactory until the chief sources have been properly sifted by competent scholars. A beginning has been made by Sir John Rhys in his “Studies in Early Irish History” (Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. i.), and by John MacNeill in a suggestive series of papers contributed to the New Ireland Review (March 1906-Feb. 1907). Much might reasonably be expected from the sciences of archaeology and anthropology. But although Ireland is as rich as, or even richer in monuments of the past than, most countries in Europe, comparatively little has been done owing in large measure to the lack of systematic investigation.
It may be as well to specify some of the more important sources at the outset. Of the classical writers who notice Ireland Ptolemy is the only one who gives us any very definite information. The legendary origins first appear in Nennius and in a number of poems by such writers as Maelmura (d. 884), Cinaed Uah Artacáin (d. 975), Eochaid Ua Flainn (d. 984), Flann Mainistrech (d. 1056) and Gilla Coemgin (d. 1072). They are also embodied in the Leabhar Gabhála or Book of Invasions, the earliest copy of which is contained in the Book of Leinster, a 12th-century MS., Geoffrey Keating’s History, Dugald MacFirbis’s Genealogies and various collections of annals such as those by the Four Masters. Of prime importance for the earlier period are the stories known collectively as the Ulster cycle, among which the lengthy epic the Táin Bo Cúalnge takes first place. Amongst the numerous chronicles the Annals of Ulster, which commence with the year 441, are by far the most trustworthy. The Book of Rights is another compilation which gives valuable information with regard to the relations of the various kingdoms to one another. Finally, there are the extensive collections of genealogies preserved in Rawlinson B 502, the Books of Leinster and Ballymote.
Earliest Inhabitants.—There is as yet no certain evidence to show that Ireland was inhabited during the palaeolithic period. But there are abundant traces of man in the neolithic state of culture (see Sir W. R. W. Wilde’s Catalogue of the antiquities in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy). The use of bronze was perhaps introduced about 1450 B.C. The craniological evidence is unfortunately at present insufficient to show whether the introduction of metal coincided with any particular invasion