A virtual exhibition

The detailed records of daily life at Dublin Castle are one of FoodCult’s key historical sources. They offer a unique window into the household of Ireland’s lord deputy, the English crown’s leading representative in Ireland and one of the most powerful officeholders in the realm. They are also packed with information about what the lord, his family, and staff ate and drank. The micro-history of dining at Dublin Castle reveals fascinating and original insights about the culture and consumption of food in Ireland’s past.

This virtual exhibition explains how FoodCult has examined the household accounts of William Fitzwilliam, two-time lord deputy from 1572–5 and 1588–94. After a short introduction to the castle, Fitzwilliam, and his accounts, the following chapters each focus on a group of foods, from bread and beer to beef and mutton to spices and sugar, and discuss how their consumption helps us understand the country’s broader food history. A concluding section, which will be updated as the project progresses, will allow you to explore the records yourself. You can follow these chapters sequentially or click on the individual links below.

Particular thanks are due to Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland Bt and Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company, administrators of the Fitzwilliam Papers at Northamptonshire Record Office. Their generous attitude towards access and reproduction has made this research possible.

Enter the exhibition


Fitzwilliam’s records

Bread and beer



Poultry, wildfowl, and game

Exotic and fashionable foods

Further resources