Ireland has a long history of philanthropy, rooted in a strong religious tradition. In the late 1700s, Protestant philanthropy helped to alleviate the physical and medical needs of the impoverished working classes (Kelly & Powell, 2010). Beginning in 1770, the incremental waning of the Penal laws1 enabled the growth of Catholic charities (Raughter, 1997). Following Catholic emancipation in 1829, greater Catholic clergy involvement in charitable activity emerged with religious involvement in philanthropy becoming more formalized in Irish society. The introduction of the Poor Laws to Ireland in 1838, which brought into existence a statutory relief system for the destitute, however, led to a fall off in charitable donations and resulted in some charities ceasing to operate thereafter (Cousins, 2008). The Irish famine in the 1840s had a further chilling effect on charitable institutions. Nevertheless, given the Poor Laws’ strict eligibility requirements for receiving relief, religious orders once more found their way to the forefront of philanthropy, providing voluntary hospitals and assisting those in need (Donoghue, Prizeman, O’Regan, & Noël, 2006).
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© 2015 Oonagh B. Breen and James Carroll
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Breen, O.B., Carroll, J. (2015). Giving in Ireland: A Nation of Givers in a Largely Unregulated Arena. In: Wiepking, P., Handy, F. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137341532_12
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