FOODCULT: Food, Culture and Identity in Ireland Circa 1550 – 1650

FOODCULT, led by Susan Flavin, is the first project to establish both the fundamentals of everyday diet, and the cultural ‘meaning’ of food and drink, in early modern Ireland. Exploring the period 1550-1650, it focusses on Ireland as a case-study for understanding the role of food in the demonstration and negotiation of authority and power and as a site for the development of emergent ‘national’ food cultures. The project aims to enlarge the study of food to examine neglected themes in Irish historiography, including gender, class, kinship and religious identities, as expressed through the consumption and exchange of food and drink.

Taking advantage of recent archaeological discoveries and the unprecedented accessibility of the archaeological evidence, the project develops a ground-breaking interdisciplinary approach, merging micro-historical analytical techniques with science and experimental archaeology, to examine what was eaten, where, why and by whom, at a level of detail deemed impossible for Irish history.

The project will also produce the first major database of diet-related archaeological evidence for this period Mapping Diet: Comparative Food-Ways in Early Modern Ireland, while making accessible the only existing household accounts. These resources will shed light, not just on consumption patterns, but on Ireland’s broader economic and social development, whilst significantly furthering research agendas in early modern historical and archaeological scholarship. The project began 1st Feb 2019 and is expected to finish 31 Jan 2021. The overall budget allocated to this project is € 1,433,133.

  • Start date: 1 Feb 2019
  • PI: Susan Flavin
  • Acronym: FOODCULT
  • Title: Food, Culture and Identity in Ireland Circa 1550 - 1650
  • Website:
  • Grant ID: 803486
  • Overall budget: €1,433,133
Project Contact
  • Susan Flavin