Troubled Geographies:
A Spatial History of Religion and Society in Ireland

Ian N. Gregory, Niall A. Cunningham, C.D. Lloyd, Ian G. Shuttleworth and Paul S. Ell
Full text available from Indiana University Press
Figures by
Maps by
1. Background
2. The Plantations
3. Pre-Famine Ireland
4. The Famine
5. Towards Partition
6. Partition & Civil War
7. Continuous division
8. Towards the Celtic Tiger
9. Northern Ireland, 1971-2001
10. Conflict & death

This site is an accompaniment to Troubled Geographies: A Spatial History of Religion and Society in Ireland, a book published by Indiana University Press as part of their Spatial Humanities series. The site presents summaries of religion and society in Ireland primarily in map form, concentrating on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some of the mapping is static based on conventional image file formats, however the website allows us to include more maps than the book and without the restrictions imposed by page size. Clicking on most of these maps, and their legends, makes them larger. For more advanced mapping the site also makes use of Social Explorer, an award winning inter-active mapping format that allows readers/users to explore the patterns in greater depth. The text here largely describes the maps, for a more detailed analysis and more in-depth research see the book which also includes colour versions of the maps and some additional diagrams not included here.

This site was originally developed as part of a project, Troubled Geographies: Two centuries of Religious Division in Ireland, which ran from 2007-09, funded by the AHRC and ESRC as part of their Religion and Society Programme. The project used census data and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to explore how Ireland's religions and societies changed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This period included major shocks such as the Famine of the late 1840s, Partition and Civil War in the early 1920s, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland which lasted from the late 1960s until the early 2000s. In addition, Irish society faced the more conventional long-term changes common to many western countries over this period such as industrialisation, urbanisation, rural depopulation and, later, de-industrialisation and sub-urbanisation. The project explored these changes with a strongly geographical slant making extensive use of maps, Historical GIS1, and spatial analysis to explore these issues.

1. I.N. Gregory & P.S. Ell, Historical GIS: Technologies, methodologies and scholarship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). See also:




Religion and Society

Lancaster University

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©Ian Gregory & Niall Cunningham, 2013