Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Cultural and economic geography, Interdisciplinary, History

Publication Details

Mac Con Iomaire, M. (2012) 'Public Dining in Dublin: The History and Evolution of Gastronomy and Commercial Dining 1700-1900'. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Vol. 25, Issue 2, pp. 227-246.


Purpose: This paper provides an overview of the changing food culture ofIreland focusing particularly on the evolution of commercial public dining inDublin 1700-1900, from taverns, coffeehouses and clubs to the proliferation of hotels and restaurants particularly during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Methods: Using a historical research approach, the paper draws principally on documentary and archival sources, but also uses material culture. Data is analysed using a combination of hermeneutics (Denzin and Lincoln, 2000, O'Gorman, 2010) and textual analysis (Howell and Prevenier, 2001).

Findings: The paper traces the various locations of public dining inDublin 1700-1900 and reveals thatDublin gentlemen’s clubs preceded theirLondon counterparts in owning their own premises, but that the popularity of clubs in both cities resulted in a slower growth of restaurants than inParis. Competition for clubs appeared in the form of good hotels. The Refreshment Houses and Wine Licences (Ireland) Act 1860, created a more congenial environment for the opening of restaurants, with separate ladies coffee or dining rooms appearing from around 1870 onwards.

Originality / Value: There is a dearth of research on the history of Irish food and commercial food provision in particular. This paper provides the most comprehensive discussion to date on the development of commercial dining inDublin 1700-1900 and suggests that the 1860 legislation might be further explored as a catalyst for the growth of restaurants inLondon and other British cities.