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    Music and song in early eighteenth-century Belfast

    Gillespie, Raymond (2012) Music and song in early eighteenth-century Belfast. In: Irish Provincial Cultures in the Long Eighteenth Century: Making the Middle Sort. Four Courts Press Ltd., Dublin, Ireland, pp. 155-169. ISBN 978-1-84682-375-6

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    One of the most important developments in provincial Ireland during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was the emergence of towns. The economic expansion of the early seventeenth century, based on the extraction of raw, unprocessed materials, had not encouraged the development of an integrated marketing structure but rather had benefited the port towns. By the end of the seventeenth century diversification of Irish economic structure led to more complex inter-regional trading patterns, and with that came the growth of provincial towns. By the beginning of the eighteenth century those small towns had formed into distinctive and complex regional societies. There were several markers of the emergence of these urban societies. One particularly powerful indicator was the emergence of a print culture in provincial Ireland. While there were moves in the I64s to establish provincial presses in Waterford and Kilkenny these were motivated mainly by political necessity and they soon faltered; it was the 1720s before Waterford produced another printed work. Only Cork managed sporadically to produce printed works in the late seventeenth century and in 1694 it was joined by Belfast, reflecting the significant growth of that town in the years after 1660 and the need by Ulster Presbyterians to establish a printing press. Limerick had acquired a press by 1716 and by the 1760s there is imprint evidence for provincial presses in Derry, Strabane, Newry, Drogheda and Armagh. A second marker of the evolution of provincial society in the early eighteenth century is the creation of centres of sociability where the middling sort might meet and display their possessions and social accomplishments for the admiration or more critical inspection of their peers. The theatre was one such obvious site of display. At first provincial towns were entertained by troupes of players from Dublin who toured Ireland, but gradually more permanent structures were created in the larger provincial towns where the local playgoers might be entertained and entertain others by their display. Cork had a purpose-built theatre by the I7JOS, Waterford by the 1740s, Belfast by the 1750s and Derry perhaps by the 1770s. Clubs and societies of all sorts, from Freemasons to the less bibulous reading societies, spread through provincial Ireland like wildfire in the eighteenth century:• Churches became places where the fashions of one's neighbours could be inspected as well as places of worship for the more conventionally devout.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: Music; song; early eighteenth-century; Belfast;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 4272
    Depositing User: Raymond Gillespie
    Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2013 12:03
    Publisher: Four Courts Press Ltd.
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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