Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Conway, Brian and Michael R. Hill. 2009. “Harriet Martineau and Ireland.” Pp. 47-66 in Social Thought on Ireland in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Séamas Ó Síocháin. Dublin, Ireland: University College Dublin Press.


Copyright 2009 Michael R. Hill


The Victorian sociologist-novelist Harriet Martineau visited Ireland on two different occasions, first in 1832 and again, twenty years later, in 1852, just six years after the Great Famine of 1846, when the country was still very much visibly affected by that event. Her latter journey covered some 1,200 miles and encompassed all four provinces that make up the island of Ireland, north and south. Martineau was not the first foreign visitor to nineteenth century Ireland, of course, but she provided one of the few genuinely sociological interpretations during this time period. This chapter, then, examines Martineau's Irish writings and her contribution to our sociological understanding of nineteenth-century Ireland.