University of Limerick
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The Catholic Church and investor capitalism in late-nineteenth century Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-09, 14:27 authored by Sarah Roddy, Patrick DoylePatrick Doyle

The Catholic Church embarked upon an ambitious project of property development in the nineteenth century that transformed the Irish built environment and landscape. People responded energetically to fundraising drives for churches, convents, monasteries and welfare-focused institutions. The acquisition of significant property and substantial capital by the Irish Catholic Church was a major source of its power, which continued into independent Ireland. Much of this wealth came to the Catholic Church through bequests, donations, and returns on investment, which were managed by the relevant dioceses and orders. This article focuses on the episcopacy of Archbishop William Walsh of Dublin during the 1880s and 1890s to understand the way in which the management of the archdiocese of Dublin’s financial resources shaped the social, economic, and political development of Ireland’s capital city. By focusing on the management of one of the most significant bequests under Walsh’s supervision – the Egan Bequest – a complex story of religion, investment and infrastructure building is revealed. This activity helped produce a model of investor capitalism that shaped Dublin in ways that remain contested to this day.



Irish Studies Review, 2024


Taylor and Francis

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