Life Histories and Social Change collection

Depositors: Sean Ó Riain (National University of Ireland Maynooth), Jane Gray (National University of Ireland Maynooth), Aileen O'Carroll (National University of Ireland Maynooth) 

Life Histories and Social Change is a large collection of qualitative life story interviews with three cohorts of Irish citizens who reached adulthood in the crucial decades of the 1950s (an era of socio-economic decline), the 1970s (an era of initial 'modernisation') and the 1990s (the 'Celtic Tiger' boom). The research was funded by the Irish Research Council. A total of 113 life history interviews were conducted by researchers from Maynooth University between 2006 and 2008. Of this number, 100 have been made available for re-use through the Irish Qualitative Data Archive as full-interview transcripts and as short, topic-focused audio clips.

Participants in the study were drawn from three birth cohorts: those born between 1916 - 1934; between 1945 - 1954, and between 1965 - 1974. One interviewee was born in 1914 but the transcript was not included in the archived collection. Interviewees had previously participated in all eight waves of the 'Living in Ireland Survey' that formed part of the European Community Household Panel study, conducted in each year from 1994 - 2001. While some of the audio clips in this collection are openly available through the DRI, access to the full Life Histories and Social Change collection is restricted to bona fide researchers and teachers, and to students who are currently registered at a third-level academic institution. Access to the full Life Histories and Social Change collection is through application to the Irish Qualitative Data Archive.

Access this collection on the Digital Repository of Ireland

Published research using the Life Histories and Social Change collection
Geraghty, Ruth and Jane Gray. 2017. "Family Rhythms: Re-visioning family change in Ireland using qualitative archived data from Growing Up in Ireland and Life Histories and Social Change." Irish Journal of Sociology 25, 2: 207-213. 

Geraghty, Ruth, Jane Gray and David Ralph. 2015. "‘One of the best members of the family’: continuity and change in young children’s relationships with their grandparents." Pp. 124-139 in Linda Connolly, ed. The ‘Irish’ Family. London: Routledge.

Gray, Jane. 2014. "The circulation of children in rural Ireland during the first half of the twentieth century." Continuity and Change 29, 3: 399-421.

Gray, Jane, Ruth Geraghty and David Ralph. 2016. Family rhythms: the changing texture of family life in Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 

Gray, Jane, Ruth Geraghty and David Ralph. 2013. "Young grandchildren and their grandparents: a secondary analysis of continuity and change across four birth cohorts." Families, Relationships and Societies 2, 2: 289–298.

Gray, Jane and Aileen O'Carroll. 2012. "Education and class formation in 20th century Ireland: a retrospective qualitative longitudinal analysis." Sociology 46, 4: 696-711.

Ralph, David. 2013. "'It was a bit like the passover': recollections of family mealtimes during twentieth century Irish childhoods." Children's Geographies 11, 4: 422-435.

Gray, Jane. 2010. "Poverty and the life cycle in twentieth century Ireland: changing experiences of childhood and the transition to adulthood." Combat Poverty Agency Research Working Paper Series 10/04.