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Profile of a LandLord

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In general, in the 1800's, the majority of land in Ireland was held by Landlord, owning estates of substantial size. These Landlords could be resident, or more often absentee. Spending most of their time in England, and rarely if ever returning to examine their estates. Their estate was left in the charge of managers. The estate might lease a piece of land to a middle man or well-to-do large farmer. He in turn would sub-let a portion. This process would continue ultimately down to an individual tenant farmer. You could have a situation where 5 people were in a chain of subletting between landlord and tenant.

Some estates were huge in size stretching to many thousands of acres. For 150 to 200 years in some cases little changed in the  ownership of land. But in the aftermath of the Famine many tenants were unable to pay their rents and Landlords and estates were building up massive debts and could no longer maintain their Holdings. In 1849 the Government introduced The Encumbered Estate Act which allowed Landlords to sell off their estates without having to pay their debts. This gave a chance for many Irish to finally buy into Land and change the System of Land Ownership.

At the turn of the Century the Conservatives came to power, and  in these years they followed a 'Plan of Campaign' that would attempt to improve key issues for the poorest Irish in terms of land rights in the hope that they would feel Home Rule (a separate Parliament in Ireland to have control of local issues) was of no practical value. These reforms did have a dramatic effect upon the transfer of land in these years from a relatively small group of landlords to small tenant farmers.

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