Civilised by beasts tells the story of nineteenth-century Dublin through human-animal relationships. It offers a unique perspective on ordinary life in the Irish metropolis during a century of significant change and reform. At its heart is the argument that the exploitation of animals formed a key component of urban change, from municipal reform to class formation to the expansion of public health and policing.
It uses a social history approach but draws on a range of new and underused sources, including archives of the humane society and the zoological society, popular songs, visual ephemera and diaries. The book moves chronologically from 1830 to 1900, with each chapter focusing on specific animals and their relationship to urban changes. It will appeal to anyone fascinated by the history of cities, the history of Dublin or the history of Ireland.