The coming of print, 1550–1650
in Reading Ireland
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In 1551 the first book printed in Ireland using movable type was produced on a printing press in Dublin. The history of the Irish printing press in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries is, in the main, a story of inactivity. One of the main characteristics of the world of books in sixteenth-century Ireland was that demand was fed not by the Dublin press but by imports, a fact which served to shape the nature of the Irish book trade in the early modern period. Outside the commercial world of trade, books moved along other routes. The scale of the libraries assembled in early seventeenth-century Ireland depended a great deal on social pretensions and wealth. In particular overseas trade with London through Chester allowed large quantities of print to be brought to Ireland with relative ease, accompanying migrants or following more general trade routes.

Reading Ireland

Print, reading and social change in early modern Ireland

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