Sport and leisure in the Irish and British country house

Terence Dooley & Christopher Ridgway, editors

Paperback €26.95
Catalogue Price: €29.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-806-5
November 2019. 320pp; ills.

“aimed at the general historical public as well as those with more specialist interests … It is well produced at a reasonable price. Both types of reader will benefit from not ‘pick and mixing’ and will enjoy reading the whole volume as each essay is clear and stimulates wider reflections as well as providing new understandings … Ranging from the mid-eighteenth century until 1939 and covering shooting, racing, hunting, yachting, golf, cricket, outdoor education, house building, collecting, astronomy and travel, they illustrate perfectly how imaginatively speculative are the portmanteau categories of the volume’s title … indoor pastimes and hobbies were inevitably more eclectic for men and women as a number of the essays illustrate ranging from the passion for taxidermy, photography, architecture, astronomy, constructing personal memoirs and collecting exotic pets … Both the editors and the publishers in this case deserve to be congratulated in an attractive and interesting volume.” Allen Warren, Family & Community History, Vol. 23/2, July 2020

The history of sport and leisure in Ireland is inextricably linked to the wider political, social and cultural links with Britain that have endured for centuries. The historiography of Irish sport has had two dominant themes. First has been the focus on the modern sporting revolution (c. 1860-1914). The second theme centers on the Gaelic Athletic Association. There has been a particular focus on the sporting, cultural and political significance of the Gaelic Athletic Association between 1884 and 1922. In this context, a commendable achievement of Sport and Leisure in the Irish and British Country House is that this collection of essays has begun to redress the historiographical imbalance highlighted above by adding a very interesting layer of scholarship that spans both the sporting and Irish revolutions … If there are distinctions between “sport” and “leisure” that can be gleaned from this collection’s excellent analysis of both, it may be the appearance of the papers of individuals and the archives of the country houses themselves as crucial to histories of individual leisure pursuits, whereas histories of codified sports appear much more dependent on the archival collections of sporting governing bodies. Conor Murray (Irish Literary Supplement. Fall 2020)

'[...] very interesting insights into this world of the "country house" and "seats" of the nobility ... This is a very commendable approach which should encourage further studies', Ireland's Genealogical Gazette