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Consumption and material culture in sixteenth-century Ireland

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Abstract

New evidence from a series of 11 Bristol customs accounts indicates that Irish consumption patterns underwent significant changes over the course of the sixteenth century. This article considers the use of the Bristol ‘particular’ accounts and port books as a source for Irish material culture and consumption studies and uses the customs data as a statistical framework on which to establish how, why, and to what extent patterns of consumption changed in Ireland. It considers who was consuming the increasing range of commodities that were imported into Ireland from Bristol towards the end of the century, and what changing consumption patterns may reveal about the nature of Ireland's economy, society, and culture during this critical period in Irish history.

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