Sport and Leisure in the Irish and British Country House

Terence Dooley & Christopher Ridgeway

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Sir Shane Leslie once wrote that ‘Country life was entirely organized to give nobility and gentry and demi-gentry a good time.’

Throughout Ireland and Britain the country house was a centre of hospitality, entertainment and leisure, with the hosting of house parties, soirées and balls. Pastimes included photography, painting, astronomy and taxidermy. Outdoors the parkland was used for a variety of sporting activities including archery, cricket, croquet and shooting, as well as local sports events, and beyond the demesne activities included hunting, horse racing and yachting.

This volume provides fresh and original insights into how leisure and sport underpinned the social hierarchy of country houses and their local communities in Ireland and Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Contributors include: Kerry Bristol (University of Leeds); Laura Servilan Brown (Maynooth University); Fergal Brown (ind.); Philip Bull (La Trobe University, Melbourne);  Oliver Cox, (University of Oxford); Ian d’Alton (Trinity College Dublin); Terence Dooley (Maynooth University); Eugene Dunne (Maynooth University); Brian Griffin (Bath Spa University); Tom Hunt (de Montfort University, Leicester); Antonia Laurence-Allen (National Trust Scotland); Tony McCarthy (Maynooth University); Maeve O'Riordan (University College Cork); Ciarán Reilly (Maynooth University); Einion Wyn Thomas (Bangor University); Annie Tindley (University of Newcastle); Allen Warren (University of York); Lesley Whiteside (ind.). 

Terence Dooley is director of the Centre for Historic Irish Houses and Estates, Maynooth University. Christopher Ridgway is curator at Castle Howard in Yorkshire.