From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ralahine is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°44′54″N 8°50′27″W / 52.7482°N 8.8407°W / 52.7482; -8.8407Coordinates: 52°44′54″N 8°50′27″W / 52.7482°N 8.8407°W / 52.7482; -8.8407
CountyCounty Clare
FoundedNovember 1831 (1831-11)
DissolvedNovember 1833 (1833 -11)
Founded by
  • John Vandeleur
  • Edward Thomas Craig
 • TypeCommune

Ralahine (Irish, Ráth Fhlaithín)[1] is a townland of County Clare, it is best known for its historic and extraordinary experiment in communism in 1831, long before communism, as we have come to know it, became a reality.[2] The Ralahine Commune was a cooperative society and commune founded in 1831 on the estate of John Vandeleur at Ralahine, Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, Ireland. In an attempt to keep his tenants away from secret societies like the "Ribbonmen", he brought a socialist named Edward Thomas Craig from England to advise him on the establishment of the commune, which came into existence on 7 November 1831.[3]


Ralahine, is a townland of Munster located about 3 miles south east of Newmarket-on-Fergus Village in the South of County Clare.


Ralahine Commune was a 618 acre estate owned by John Vandeleur. Half the estate, some 300 acres, consisted of cultivated land, a bog of sixty three acres used as a fuel source, a lake for power, and a small stream.[4] Due to bad treatment by John Vandeleur, many of the peasants of fought back against those in power and went underground forming various gangs. These gangs roamed the country controlled by no one not even the priesthood. Some of these gangs included the Whitefeet, Lady Clare's Boys and the Terry Alts, named after Terry Alt from Corofin, a protestant army pensioner and an ardent loyalist.[5] Clare was a particularly violent place at the time.

Life in the Ralahine Commune[edit]

A list of rules were written up and each member of the commune had to live by them. Alcohol, tobacco and snuff were banned, as was gambling of any kind. The members had to work twelve hours a day in summer and from dawn to dusk in winter, with a one hour break for dinner.

Instead of money the workers were paid "labour notes" which they could spend in the co-operative store. In this way the commune would be more self-sufficient as the members would be buying goods they themselves had worked to produce. If they wished to spend money outside the commune the treasurer would change the labour notes into coin for them. The commune prospered for a time and 29 new members joined. New machinery was bought and the first mowing machine in Ireland was introduced by the Ralahine Commune.[6]

Commune Downfall[edit]

Under the guidance of Edward T Craig, who ran the schools, and taught the society how to make bread, Ralahine commune seemed to prosper and give hope of a new agrarian order in turbulent times, but went crash when the benefactor, owner of the 600-odd acre property on which it was situated, gambled away all his property and was ruined.[7] As Craig relieved Vandeleur of the responsibility of running his estate, he spent more and more time at his club. His debts mounted and he absconded. On the 23rd of November 1833 the experiment came to an end.


  1. ^ "Bunachar Logainmneacha na hÉireann". Logainm.ie (in Ga). Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  2. ^ "The Ralahine Commune". Roundabout Shannon. 19 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  3. ^ "Clare County Library". www.clarelibrary.ie. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  4. ^ Armytage, W.H.G (2013). Heavens Below: Utopian Experiments in England, 1560-1960. pp. 105–111.
  5. ^ "Clare County Library". clarelibrary.ie. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  6. ^ Thomas Craig, Edward (1920). An Irish commune.
  7. ^ "The Ralahine Commune". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 December 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "Freedom Struggle". Socialist History - Ralahine. North Munster. Irish Republican Socialist Party. 1985. Retrieved 25 September 2015.