Almost sixty years after the final crop was sown, tobacco still provoked strong feelings among former tenants and workers on the Randlestown estate. In a reminiscence article in the Weekender newspaper of August 28th, 1993, those who worked on the estate felt that the industry was a missed opportunity for major employment, and that Everard was poorly treated by the government. They also believed that Everard was not sufficiently appreciated by his neighbours and tenants for his commitment to generating employment. Everard's role as landlord rather than employer was highlighted indicating that the great political, religious, and social differences that existed between landlords and tenants prevented the project from gaining commercial success. The project was initiated in 1898 when landlords occupied a very stable position in society. However, by the close of the era, the landlords' role had greatly diminished.

The intervening years saw tenants and small farmers increasingly question the patronage role of the landlord and turn instead to the governments of the new state to provide employment in addition to land ownership. What, therefore, was the overall impact on Randlestown, Navan and Meath of one Anglo-Irish landlord's idea to promote tobacco growing? He certainly introduced a great scheme for the employment of labour, even if that labour was more back breaking than he might have suggested. It brought industry to a rural townland, generated employment and reduced emigration. It also brought a townland to national prominence over a forty year period. The fact that his experiment as Bolger notes 'may ultimately have failed, with tobacco joining a list of Irish failures, is not to lessen his memory, but rather all the more reason that a townland should remember its very own practical patriot.

previousPrevious - The Revival at Local Level
Next - Sourcesnext