Sixteen Differences between 1916 and 2016 – 100 Years of Change

Cocaine was often used as medicine
Cocaine was often used as medicine Image Credit: Colin Gould
  • In 1916, cocaine had only been illegal for a year in the states but still in use in Ireland, marijuana was still legal, available to buy in chemists and doctors still prescribed heroin to their patients.

    Cocaine was often used as medicine
    Cocaine was often used as medicine Image Credit: Colin Gould
  • In 1916 the life expectancy for a man was 48 and for a woman it was 51.  Today the life for a man and woman is 78 and 82 respectively.  The elderly were a rarity in 1916, and poor geriatrics were often sent to the workhouse where their fate was to be worked to death.

    The average age of death has changed
    The average age of death has almost doubled, Photo Credit: J Klinger
  • In 1915 the eiffel tower was the tallest manmade structure in the world, while in Ireland the tallest structure was St Johns Cathedral in county Limerick.

    The Eiffel Tower
    The Eiffel Tower, Photo Credit: Mark Wolinski
  • The three leading causes of death in 1916 were heart disease, pneumonia/influenza, and tuberculosis.  Back then only 1 in 50 people died from cancer and there was nearly no heart disease.  Nowadays heart disease is the leading killer of women and one of the biggest killer of men in Ireland.

    Tuberculosis, Photo Credit: Javier Devillman
  • The average worker made between £200 and £400 per year compared with €28,000 today.  Of course we have to take inflation into account but consider that a family home would cost you around £700, thats a few years wages.  Nowadays in Dublin the average family home costs around €350,000 which is more than ten years of an above average wage.

    Pennies and pence. Photo Credit:  KMR Photography
    Pennies and pence. Photo Credit: KMR Photography
  • Antibiotics hadn’t been discovered yet.  Think about that… you could die from a toothache in 1916.

    Antibiotics.  Photo Credit: Chilanga Cement
  • Less than a fifth of the Irish population could speak Irish in 1916 and this has increased to nearly half of the population being capable of speaking the Irish language in 2016.  The Gaelic leaguers would be proud of us!

    Gaelige le do Thoill
    Gaelige le do Thoill – Photo Credit: Jodi Marr
  • There were nearly 10,000 motor cars in Ireland in 1916, and in 2016 there are over 1.9 million private cars. 

    Traffic Jam.  Photo Credit:jonbgem
    Traffic Jam. Photo Credit:jonbgem
  • The only way to come and go from this lovely island of ours in 1916 was by boat.  Ships leaving from Cobh went to the United States, Australia, Asia, Africa and India on a regular basis.   Everything that came in and out was by ship.  The ‘mail boat’ was a popular way to travel to the UK as it went over and back every day.

    Saying Goodbye was the fate of so many Irish people, our diaspora live all over the world
  • In the first Dáil there was one female member of the Dáil,  there are 35 today.

    Countess Markiewicz.jpg
    Countess Constance Markiewicz was the second female minister for parliament in the world
  • The population of Ireland increased by 46% in the 100 years between 1916 and 2016, from 3 million to 5 million people.  We still haven’t regained the population we lost in the Great Famine, before that Ireland was home to over 8 million people.
The Irish Famine resulted in the deaths and emigration leaving Ireland with only half its population, it has never recovered.
  • Dublin was an interesting mix of housing options in 1916, a quarter of houses in the centre were upper class dwellings with more than ten bedrooms, servants quarters and  on the other side of the coin over a third of houses were one room tenements.

    Dublin Tenements
  • Just about 50% of workers in Ireland were agricultural in 1916 and that has dropped massively to just 5% in 2016, with manufacturing swapping places with farming from 6% in 1916 to nearly 30% now.  One in ten Irish people worked as a domestic servant in 1916 compared with only a couple of thousand in the whole of Ireland today.

    One in ten Irish people worked as a domestic servant in 1916
  • School attendance in 1916 was good in 1916 with 7 out of 10 children attending primary school.  Today over 95% of kids go to school and unlike the early 20th century secondary school is the rule not the exception.

    School was attended by most until age 12
  • Marriage ceremonies today have changed massively with church weddings falling from nearly 100% to just under 60% of ceremonies taking place in a church today.  There are nearly 25,000 weddings a year in Ireland which is not much more than in 1916!

    The 1920’s was a prosperous time for all
About Maoiliosa McNamara 11 Articles
39. Photographer. Student Journalist.

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