The University of Wisconsin Press

Irish Studies / European History


Old World Colony
Cork and South Munster 1630–1830
David Dickson

History of Ireland and the Irish Diaspora

James S. Donnelly, Jr., and Thomas Archdeacon, Series Editors

"Unique in Irish historiography, this is indeed a masterpiece." —Cormac Ó Gráda, University College, Dublin

This is a groundbreaking study of Cork's rise from insignificance to international importance as a city and port, and of South Munster's development from agricultural hinterland to one of early modern Ireland's wealthiest regions and a symbol of a new commercial order.

Reconstructing the framework of a pre-modern regional society in a way never before attempted for Ireland, Old World Colony integrates social, economic, and political history across the heartlands of "the Hidden Ireland" from the seventeenth century's civil wars to Catholic emancipation in the 1820s. Dickson shows that colonization and commerce transformed the region, but at a price: even in South Munster's formative years, the problems of pre-Famine Ireland—gross income inequality and land scarcity—were already evident.

David Dickson is associate professor of modern history at Trinity College Dublin.

Copublished with Cork University Press, Ireland

Inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734.


Dickson's book received an important award from the American Conference for Irish Studies. Here's the announcement that appears on their Web site at

"James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize for Books on History and Social Sciences (Chair: Timothy J. White. Members: Nancy Curtin, Kerby A. Miller)
David Dickson, Old World Colony: Cork and South Munster 1630–1830. University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

This is a magisterial book, twenty years in the making. It links colonial ambition, indigenous response with the economic and social development of South Munster for two centuries. The research and analysis are first rate. Dickson has analyzed the social, political, economic, and religious motivations of those who came to Munster and how they interacted with the Old English and the Irish. This book represents a level of scholarly research and achievement not found in many books. It is a very worthy winner of the 2005 Donnelly Prize."

Inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734.

cover of Dickson is an illustration of an Irish landscape in greens and browns

April 2005

744 pp.  7 x 10
110 b/w illus., 10 tables,
8 maps

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Cloth $29.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-21180-6 
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