Modern Irish history is urban history. It is a story of the transferral of a populace from rural settlements to small towns and cities; of the discipline and regulation of society through new urban spaces; of the creation of capital through the construction of buildings and the sale of property. The history of Ireland has been overwhelmingly the history of land, but too often the emphasis has been on the field rather than the street, and on the small farmer instead of the urban shopkeeper. But the same questions of property run throughout Irish urban history from the early modern period to the contemporary, as speculators, businesses and government have attempted to convert land into profit, creating new buildings, streets and spaces, and coming into conflict with each other and other vested interests. Indeed, as recent work on Irish cities has shown, a turn to the urban history of Ireland provides a framework and a methodology for writing a textured and complex history of Ireland's distinctive engagement with modernity.