Anthropology, beer, pubs, Ireland, public house, sociology, liquor, licensing, intoxicating, pub life, Anthropological reflections on pub life in Ireland, pub, punters, pints, pint, Guinness, Irish, alcohol, alcohol studies, cultural anthropology, liquor licensing law, Dublin, drunk, drinking, drinking cultures


Ireland is a country with a rich and unique cultural heritage. It is difficult to imagine that certain facets of Irish culture (e.g. Saint Patrick's Day, the Blarney Stone, or the Ring of Kerry) can ever be taken for granted since they are so widely recognized internationally. One common feature of Irish life that possibly warrants more scholarly attention is the public house or pub. Much has been written about pubs as quaint institutions in popular literature and fiction. Curiously, they remain largely overlooked as vital aspects of Irish culture by anthropologists and others in the social sciences. In many ways, socio-cultural research on pub life in Ireland is woefully under examined. In an effort to better evaluate the significance of traditional pub life to Irish culture, my thesis seeks to integrate and critically assess the existing socio-cultural literature on Irish pub life. Such work will not only help highlight both the commonalities and discrepancies within this area of study, it will more significantly identify those areas of Irish pub life that can benefit from further academic investigation. Two recent trips to Ireland in September 2004 and May 2006, allowed me to observe important aspects of pub life first hand. It became apparent from these encounters that, like the history of Ireland itself, local pubs have a rich historical foundation. Many of the pubs that I visited have been in existence or operational since the Middle Ages. Based on this longevity, one can reasonably argue that pubs in Ireland function largely as locales of social significance and cultural reproduction, not just centers of recreational drinking. Using my travel experience as a starting point for the critical analysis phase of this thesis project, I have developed three general research questions that I will explore to varying degrees in the context of this work. These are: (1) what are the origins of pubs in Ireland?; (2) what explicit and implicit functions do pubs serve in Irish communities?; and (3) what possible developments are likely to affect Irish pubs in the near and distant future?


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Graduation Date



Matejowsky, Ty


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Anthropology Commons