Sir Crawford McCullagh: Leader of Belfast City
Sir Crawford McCullagh was the longest-serving Lord Mayor of any city in Ireland or Great Britain during the 20th century.
The author unpicks the elements in McCullagh’s career, from tenant farm on the shores of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland to his meteoric rise in business in late Victorian Belfast, and a career in municipal and state politics.
His legacy as a Unionist leader in City Hall, Belfast, is still disputed. It is an Irish version of Tammany Hall, with McCullagh’s reputation on the line over accusations of chicanery and subterfuge in two public inquiries into his time on the city corporation; it is a rags-to-riches story that is part of Belfast’s folklore, a story that continues to intrigue, not least because of the thin dividing line between myth and reality.
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The author, Austin Stewart, is a former history teacher and founder member of the Maynooth University History Forum. His monograph, Coalisland, County Tyrone, in the industrial revolution, 1800-1901, in the Maynooth University history series, remains a pioneering assessment of the impact of industrialisation in a mid-Ulster town in the nineteenth century.
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