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Poster for the Raglan Music Hall

Poster for the Raglan Music Hall

Printer: Wilkes & Co

Medium: Print on paper

Date: 1876

Shelfmark: Evan.1129

Item number: 1129

Genre: Poster

This benefit night at the Raglan Music Hall was held for Patrick Feeney, who would have received all proceeds from the evening. Benefit nights were regular occurrences on the Victorian stage. They were usually held for well-known performers who had suffered bad fortune or ill-health. Audiences were generally charged more for entry and refreshments than on a usual night, but most of the performers would have given their time for free. This bill has a strong Irish nationalist slant, with traditional ballads and entertainment, and even an Irish spelling contest.

1876 was a crisis year in Ireland. Food prices had slumped, leaving many Irish farmers high and dry. Compounding this, the Irish landlord class - most of whom were Protestant and ancestrally Scottish - did not reduce their rents. Poor harvests followed, and many previously comfortable farmers suddenly saw themselves evicted. This turmoil sowed the seeds of the Irish land reform movement, which would join its cause in time with that of the Irish Home Rule Party, who were demanding the reinstatement of an Irish parliament and limited independence from Britain. It is likely that Mr Feeney was connected to one or the other of these movements.

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