saothar 48 promoSaothar: Journal of Irish Labour History is a refereed journal, dedicated to the study of Irish working-class history in its broadest sense, including Irish workers abroad and comparative history.

It contains articles, essays, essays in review, reviews, notices, reports, source studies, thesis abstracts, bibliographies, document studies, reminiscences, correspondence and an annual overview of ILHS activities.

Saothar has been published since 1975 and has developed a reputation for combining high standards of scholarship with accessibility. It is circulated to all members of the Society.

Ordering Saothars

You can now purchase our more recent issues online. Please see below for current and available back issues.

Alternatively, you can order the current or back issues of Saothar by posting your order and cheque/postal order (payable to ‘Irish Labour History Society’) to:

The Irish Labour History Society, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin D04 DP27

Buy Saothars Online

Contributing to Saothar

We welcome articles; essays; document, film and visual art studies; oral histories; archival and conference reports; as well as letters on the content of the journal or labour history generally.

Articles should be of relevance to the history of the Irish working class, or Irish workers abroad, and should not deal primarily with events less than thirty years old. By the ‘history of the Irish working class’ we mean waged and unwaged workers, their lives, work, economic conditions, social and cultural relationships, leaders. organisations, movements, values and ideas.

Studies of anti-labour organisations or anti-socialist groups are also of relevance. We are particularly interested in studies that focus on the ‘everyday life’ of workers and their families. Features other than articles, such as essays, may be more contemporary in scope. Further details on format can be found in the link below.

Co-Editors of Saothar: Dr Mary Muldowney and Dr Peter Rigney

Correspondence in relation to the content of Saothar should be sent to or

Books Editor of Saothar: Dr Jack McGinley

Book reviews correspondence should be sent to Saothar Book Reviews, c/o Dr Jack McGinley, Irish Labour History Society, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin. Email:

Advertising and distribution queries should be directed to the business manager, c/o ILHS, Labour History Museum and Archives. Email:

Indices of Saothar

Please click on the links below to view the complete index of Saothar.

It is only when you see a complete set of Saothar, which first appeared on May Day 1975, sitting on a library shelf that you appreciate what an achievement for the Irish Labour History Society (ILHS) the journal is. This is remarkable given the almost total absence of any academic base for the subject in 1975. It is even more remarkable when the continuing narrowness – perhaps even the narrowing – of that base is considered. These days, following the ‘collapse of socialism’ and ‘end of history’, labour history studies are fast disappearing from third level institutions. The strength of the ILHS, and therefore its journal, has never been reliant on academia however. There has been strong support, no strings attached, from the labour movement. This is reflected in the unique image of the journal with its ‘fraternal’ advertisements from trade unions.

An interesting question, when gazing at the thousands of pages of text, is: how much of this work would have been published were it not for Saothar ? The suspicion is that very little of it would have appeared elsewhere. This is not to denigrate the standard of the contributions over the years – for Saothar has been acclaimed for reaching and maintaining high standards of scholarship – but to observe that labour history and working class experience have never been popular subjects in Irish economic and social history studies

A second, very important, observation is that many of those who contribute to each issue of Saothar are first-time historians – young research students, labour movement activists, civil and public servants, teachers and those from other disciplines pursuing a particular interest. Reading through the ‘List of Contributors’ each year is to realise the breadth of encouragement offered by the Society and its journal. It is a policy in which the journal takes great pride and one that has seen a number of contributors – having broken their publication ‘ducks’ in Saothar – go on to establish significant roles for themselves in Irish historiography.

Almost no book on Irish labour or social history now appears without some reference to Saothar material; this shows the journal is being used. This is encouraging as after issue five it was consciously decided to attempt to create a ‘working tool’ for labour historians. The ‘Sources’ and ‘Bibliography’ sections, in particular, have been acknowledged and utilized as an essential starter reference before the research plunge is taken.

Saothar Book Reviews


Review of 'Fighting For The Clerical Grades'

A review of 'Fighting For The Clerical Grades...' submitted by Dr Fergus D'Arcy

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(133kb pdf)

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Review of Bread Not Profits: Provincial Working Class Politics During the Irish Revolution

A Review of Bread Not Profits: Provincial Working Class Politics During the Irish Revolution by Martin Maguire

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(99kb pdf)

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Saothar 47

Book Reviews 2022

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(429kb pdf)

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Saothar 46

Book Reviews 2021

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(584kb pdf)

View Saothar 46
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