Special Announcement



We are presently working on updating our website.
While this work is taking place we will be adding items of Labour interest under this panel. These will be in a PDF format.



Women and Work in Derry City: A Survey by Eithne McLaughlin, taken from Saothar 14.

A philosopher with a slow smile: Peadar Macken 1878-1916 by Charles Callan, taken from Labour History News.

Treasures Open to the Wise: A Survey of Early Mechanics' Institutes and Similar Organisations by Seamus S. Duffy, taken from Saothar 15.

The Northern Ireland Trade Union Movement by D W Bleakley.

Who Dares to Wear the Red Hand Badge? by Francis Devine, taken from Liberty 75, June 1984.

William Partridge by Liam O'Mara.

Irish History of Trade Unions


The history of Irish trade unions stretches back into the eighteenth century, when local societies were established in the cities to represent craftsmen such as bricklayers, butchers and printers. From about 1889 a new type of union began to emerge in Ireland, aimed at organising the mass of skilled workers. Separate unions covering dockers, railwaymen and general workers were established in these years.

The Irish Trade Union Congress (ITUC) was founded in 1894. Its stated aim was to act as the collective voice of organised Irish labour. New unions began to establish themselves from 1907, with the arrival in Ireland of James Larkin as an organizer for the British dockers' union. Two years later he established the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU).

Please click on the links below for more on the following Irish Trade unions:

Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) (49 KB pdf)

Irish Bank Officials' Association (IBOA) 90 Years of Progress (213 KB pdf)

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) (60 KB pdf)

Irish National Teachers Association (INTO) (47 KB pdf)

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) (50 KB pdf)

Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (49 KB pdf)

See also:Labour History














Saothar 45

Saothar No.45 is now available to order.



Access to library and archives by appointment only:
Tel: 01 668 1071
Email: info@irishlabourhistorysociety.com
Appointment Times:
10 am - 4 pm (Mon-Thu) 10 am - 1 pm (Fri)

Larkin Statue

Welcome to the Irish Labour History Society. The Society aims to preserve the records and reminiscences, written and oral, of the Irish working class and its organisations. Society membership is composed of individuals, labour-related organisations, academic institutions, libraries and archival bodies. The Society frequently organizes conferences and events and also issues publications on Irish labour, including its annual journal Saothar.






The Working Class Movement Library (UK) is being featured as a website of interest with a comprehensive links section. Check it out here




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All content on this site is fully copyrighted by the creator and/or author/contributor. It may not be linked to, nor reproduced on, another site without specific permission from the Irish Labour History Society and/or their authors/contributors. Although public information is not of itself copyrightable, the format in which it is presented, the notes and comments, etc., are. It is however permissible to print or save the files to a personal computer for personal use only. Use of this site denotes acceptance of these terms.