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This is the first book to tackle the controversial history of prostitution in Ireland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Maria Luddy uncovers the extent of prostitution in the country, how Irish women came to work as prostitutes, their living conditions and their treatment by society. She links discussions of prostitution to the Irish nationalist and suffrage movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, analysing the ways in which Irish nationalism used the problems of prostitution and venereal disease to argue for the withdrawal of the British from Ireland. She also investigates the contentious history of Magdalen asylums and explores how the infamous red-light district of Dublin's 'Monto' was finally suppressed through the actions of the Legion of Mary in the 1920s. Revealing complex social and religious attitudes towards prostitution in Irish society, this book opens up a new world in Ireland's social and political history.