This history of game shoots in Ireland is more than a sporting catalogue or a monument to privilege; it is a vibrant record of the changing face of a country and a society. During the heyday of a landed gentry poised on the brink of social upheaval, organised shooting played a central role in the lives of both rich and poor across large swathes of the countryside. For some it was the theatre in which alliances were forged, marriages made and economic ties strengthened; for others it was a primary source of employment and a mainstay of everyday life.
In addition, what can sometimes be missed in the debate on the place of such pursuits in a modern world is the central role that game shooting has played in conservationism and the protection of wildlife habitats. These arguments and more are explored in this book, set against the background of the richly coloured world of the Ascendancy at play.