Document Type



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


Social topics, Cultural and economic geography, Journalism, Social sciences, Folklore studies

Publication Details

Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies

Open access


The perception and practice of eating out are linked to larger socioeconomic patterns. Newspaper restaurant reviews provide evidence of these trends which can be traced along a specific timeline. The early 1980s in Ireland were a difficult time for restaurants due to high taxes on food, a national recession and a lack of positive restaurant reviews. The economic upturn in the following decade contributed to unprecedented developments in the restaurant industry. Dining out became a regular activity – fueled in part by restaurant criticism by Irish food journalists, which joined pre-existing theatre, music and book reviews as regular features in national newspapers. The restaurant scene was burgeoning as Irish society experienced a new self-confidence bolstered by the growing economy. Data from restaurant reviews published from 1988–2008 in three national newspapers reveals the Dublin-centric middle-class nature of dining reflected in critics’ reviews, alongside changes in Irish society.