Tallaght has undergone dramatic change in the past forty years. Immense changes to the physical landscape in that time make very difficult any attempt to visualise the rural character and culture of the place when it was a farming parish outside the urban area of Dublin.
A look at its population over an extended period illustrates this. In 1821 the population of the civil parish of Tallaght was 4,348. It grew to 4,921 in 1841. But one hundred and ten years later in 1951 it was still just 4,470 persons and rose to 4,565 persons in 1961. This was a long period of relatively little change. The development of Tallaght started in about 1969.
This book sets out to give an idea of the totally rural character of Tallaght in the 1830s. It draws on various sources to give first-hand descriptions of the lives of the people, the extent of poverty, the probable livelihoods, the housing conditions, the health service available, church attendance and education.
It describes a rural area little influenced by the adjoining city and with many of the socioeconomic characteristics of provincial Ireland. But it also describes an area that was saved from some of the worst effects of the Famine by the proximity of Dublin and the availability of work and support from the city.