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The triumph of machinery
An example of native Irish industry: Castletownroche Woolen Mills in Co. Cork, early 1900s Photo: National Library of Ireland, LROY 08593

The triumph of machinery

Published: 3 June 1913

‘It is not enough to exhort our people to insist on the purchase of Irish products, we must seek to make these products as good and as cheap as can be obtained elsewhere,’ Canon Arthur Ryan told a meeting in Bangor, Co. Down yesterday.

Canon Ryan, from Co. Tipperary, was speaking at the 12th annual conference of the Irish Technical Instruction Association, when he made an impassioned plea for the continued expansion of technical instruction across Ireland.

He commented on the fact that the factory system and the use of machinery had persistently invaded the domain of the cottage industry. This was a struggle that continued all across Ireland, he said, and it was a struggle in which his sympathies went ‘with the human being against the machine, with the cottage against the factory, with the modest competence of the many against the piled-up fortunes of the few.’

Despite this, he continued: ‘It would be a criminal folly to ignore the part that machinery was destined to play in modern industries.’ While his heart did not leap to behold a chimney in the sky, he was nonetheless gratified to see such chimneys rise across Ireland as proof that the spirit of native industry was aroused.

Canon Ryan concluded by saying that he looked to the future with great hope, not least because of the great possibilities offered by electricity. These possibilities, he said, offered the potential for small businesses to prosper all over Ireland and while they might not make millionaires, they would bring ‘a far more blessed achievement, the fortunes of our country.’


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.