Abstract and Keywords
The chapter considers the physical settings and accessories of life in Ireland from pre-Christian times to the later twentieth century. Included are the styles of housing, furnishing, dress, and decoration. Weight is given to the materials available locally for both humble and prestigious objects, such as precious metals, stone, and wood. The interaction between indigenous and localized styles and the imported is analysed. While strict utility and economy dictated much, attitudes were important and might modify those calculations. Accordingly the influence of patriotic pride, of religious confession, notions of social standing, gender, and origins (whether in Ireland itself or Scotland, England, Wales, and continental Europe) come into play. Symbolism and ritual as well as daily use are taken into account. Also, designs and choices did not always arise from purely rational considerations.
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