The Stock Exchanges of Ireland traces the evolution of the markets which have operated in Ireland from their emergence (Dublin at the end of the eighteenth century, and later Belfast and Cork in the nineteenth) to the mid-1980s when this book was published. It starts with the historical circumstances - the beginnings of the Irish National Debt in the mid-eighteenth century and the problems of government borrowing in time of peace and war - which preceded the formation, in 1799, of the Dublin Stock Exchange. Later chapters examine many aspects of the market's development during the nineteenth century: changes in its practices and customs; the origins of some of the oldest surviving broking firms; the important trade in government securities between London and Dublin; the Irish railways; and the formation of joint stock companies in Ireland. Finally, the role of the Stock Exchange in the finance of government and industry since Irish independence is fully covered.
Throughout, The Stock Exchanges of Ireland is soundly based on the surviving records (to which the author was granted full access) of the three Irish markets - Dublin, Cork and Belfast. Important new material was also obtained from the Irish Record Office, the National Library of Ireland, the archives of the Bank of Ireland and the Record Office of the Bank of England. The book makes a comprehensive and significant contribution to Irish and financial history, and will prove an essential work of reference. It is also a lively, readable account of growth, change and development in the Irish markets, which should interest all concerned with banking, finance, investment and stockbroking.
Among W. A. Thomas's other publications on the history of financial institutions are The Stock Exchange: Its History and Functions (with E. Victor Morgan) (1962), The Provincial Stock Exchanges (1973) and The Finance of British Industry 1918-1966 (1980) .