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  • Publication
    Sport in Dublin in the nineteenth century
    (University College Dublin. School of History, 2022) ;
    Despite the recent growth of academic interest in Irish sport history, the emergence of formally organized sport in nineteenth-century Irish urban areas has received scant attention. This thesis addresses such a gap and maps out the transition from a traditional world of play to a modern sporting scene in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. It is argued that the development of a modern capitalist society in the eighteenth century and the resulting emergence of an associational culture, the bureaucratisation of state apparel, the development of faster and cheaper means of transportation, and the dissemination of information contributed to the nineteenth-century codification, commercialisation, and internationalisation of sport. Such change was especially observed among elite pastimes in the earliest part of the century, but as living standards increased from mid-century, the model spread to the city’s middle class and eventually reached the working class by the 1880s. Drawing extensively from contemporary newspapers and archival material, this thesis stresses the roles of social class, gender, education, urbanisation, religion, and politics in shaping the modern sporting scene in Dublin. Conversely, it emphasises how sport was central to the evolution of the nineteenth-century city and its importance to the everyday life of its inhabitants. By correlating such findings with broader evolutions then taking place in Britain and Ireland, the present research assesses the extent to which the development of sport in Dublin fitted national and international trends but also highlights its original features. In so doing, it enriches our understanding of Ireland’s sporting past.