Nineteenth-century contested elections were by no means sedate affairs. Dickens’s ‘Eatanswill’, with its mob violence, voters being bribed, locked up, rendered insensible and thrown into canals, found echoes in real events. Bribery, violence, shouting, fighting and horse-play were ‘relatively minor’ features but certainly present in the election at Warwick in 1868 for example. The Victorian system introduced to Ireland could be an explosive mixture indeed. About a fifth of Dr Theodore Hoppen’s recent major work, Elections, politics and society in Ireland, 1832–1885, is devoted to violence including a section specifically on electoral violence. Corruption was also common, and petitions to parliament objecting to the conduct of individual elections and demanding a fresh ballot were not infrequent.