Irish Food History: a companion - pre-order

Irish Food History: a companion - pre-order

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Coming September 2024!

Edited by Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire and Dorothy Cashman

Enlightening, entertaining and often surprising, Irish Food History: A Companion takes you on an unforgettable and expert journey through Ireland’s culinary past.

Beginning at the end of the Ice age, before reindeer, brown bears, and the giant Irish deer became extinct; this vital and brilliantly researched collection brings us forward from the introduction of farming and livestock, to the delicious world of medieval honey, banqueting, bog butter, whiskey distilling, to eighteenth century feasts, famines, and on to the modernisation, industrialisation, and eventual globalisation of food. Through analysis, storytelling, and mouth-watering descriptions, every dish and moment in time reveals ancient techniques, hidden gems, and innovative cooking seemingly far beyond its time, all of which have shaped Ireland’s culinary landscape for centuries. Irish Food History: A Companion brings the reader on a gastronomic odyssey from earliest times and the start of the hunter-gatherer community, all the way to the abundant world of modern Irish cooking, safe in the hands of the world’s most highly regarded food historians. With an engaging introduction from the editors Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire and Dorothy Cashman, and a foreword from Professor James Kelly, the thirty-two different contributors, all experts in their own particular field or period of study, provide the latest thinking and research from a wide range of academic disciplines. This book offers you the chance to explore the rich tapestry of Ireland’s history with food in these twenty-eight urgent and compelling chapters.

Whether you are a seasoned ‘foodie’ or a novice in the kitchen, a keen historian or merely curious about life, Irish Food History offers a glimpse at horizons old and new, unfurling a complex culinary history and revealing nuances of our cultural heritage. Comprehensively chronicling the island’s deep connection to food and drink and bringing us right up to the present moment, we are presented with a portrait of a country and a place forever connected to its culinary traditions while also showing us a new and exciting snapshot of a vibrant, modern daring and connected nation of eaters and drinkers. Beautifully designed, this volume is richly illustrated and interspersed with folklore, songs, recipes, and food-related poetry from Seamus Heaney, Paula Meehan and Raiftearaí, making it a must-read for the culinary and culturally curious both young and old.


This important scholarly work is a landmark publication in the growing field of Irish Food studies and food history. Passion shines out of each and every page from Pre-history and Archaeology of Food in Ireland to Bog butter, Bees and Banqueting…. through six sections and 28 intriguing chapters to The Development of Modern Irish food and Identity. An immensely important work, which will also appeal to the general reader who wishes to explore elements of Ireland’s culinary history and heritage, a must read ….

Darina Allen


The story of Irish food is only now emerging. Let us hope there will soon be Irish-themed restaurants across the world to complement Irish pubs. This learned, witty and informed study should hasten that day. Food is after all a language which we all share and Irish dishes have some of the most natural and organic elements in the modern world.

Declan Kiberd


I’ve been waiting for a book like this for a very long time. 

Anna Haugh, Chef / Proprietor Myrtle Restaurant and MasterChef judge


I have always considered Máirtín and Dorothy the leading authorities on Irish food history. I have often used them to inform the backstory when showcasing Irish food on the plate. Irish Food History: A Companion will take centre stage on the bookshelf, a colourful and valuable resource in my kitchen...and I can now stop ringing them at short notice for info!

Mark Moriarty, Award winning chef and author


Food is culture: this lovingly edited, elegantly presented collection bears out that simple truth. As accessible and enjoyable as it is erudite, Irish Food History is a book for the kitchen and the fireside as much as the library or study. Eaten bread is soon forgotten? Often. But not Irish Food History. Readers interested in food will return time and again to savour it. Bon appetit.

Breandán Mac Suibhne, University of Galway


A wonderfully comprehensive volume that carries us from Ireland’s earliest food history right up to the present, filled with important insights and enhanced by beautiful illustrations.

Darra Goldstein


The Irish food renaissance that has been ongoing for the last 20 years has had a parallel partner in Irish food studies. This book represents the best in academic research on Irish food in recent years. It is the culmination of many years of thinking about the depth and breadth of the Irish food story. Ireland has a long history of food and drink, and it is now beginning to be valued alongside other nation's cuisines. The future is bright for Irish food.

Dr. Jp McMahon


A very important book that brings a fascinating insight into the rich culture of a charismatic people through a thrilling new lens.

Claudia Roden



Dr Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire is a senior lecturer in the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, Technological University Dublin. He is the co-founder and chair of the biennial Dublin Gastronomy Symposium (2012-present) and a former two-term trustee of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery (2015-2021). He is chair of the Masters in Gastronomy and Food Studies in TU Dublin, the first such programme in Ireland. Máirtín is co-editor with Eamon Maher of ‘Tickling the Palate’: Gastronomy in Irish Literature and Culture (Peter Lang: 2014) and New Beginnings: Perspectives from France and Ireland (Peter Lang, 2023), and with Rhona Richman Kenneally on ‘The Food Issue’ of The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (2018). He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, and in 2018, he presented an eight-part television series for TG4 called Blasta celebrating Ireland’s food heritage. In 2021, he guest edited a special issue of Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies 59(2) on Irish Food Ways. He is co-editor of the new European Journal of Food Drink and Society since 2021He was awarded an IRC Research Ally Prize in both 2021 and 2022 for mentoring doctoral candidates. In 2022, his doctoral student Caitríona Nic Philibín was awarded an IRC GOI Postgraduate Research Scholarship. In 2023, Máirtín was awarded a TU Dublin Researcher Award. In 2023, Máirtín was nominated for two awards at the inaugural TU Dublin Excellence in Research and Innovation Awards (Excellence in Research Supervision; Established Research Career). Along with Dorothy Cashman, he has co-edited Irish Food History: A Companion (EUT+ Academic Press, 2023; Royal Irish Academy, 2024).


After graduating from UCD Dorothy Cashman worked as cabin crew with Aer Lingus for thirty years, with a career break to train at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Shortly before retiring from Aer Lingus she graduated from TU Dublin with an M.Sc. and in 2016 was awarded a doctorate for her research on Irish Culinary Manuscripts. She combines a lifelong interest in literature and history in her love for understanding the narratives surrounding Irish food history and making visible the untold stories involved in the telling of it. She is a co-founder of the biennial Dublin Gastronomy Symposium and is co-editor of the European Journal of Food, Drink, and Society, which launched in 2021. She has presented both in Ireland and at international symposia, while her research has been published in academic journals and edited collections.  


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