A victualler (‘vittler’) was a shopkeeper, not necessarily a butcher. A meat victualler sold the product, a butcher was his supplier, although the terms were not strictly adhered to, possibly because many victuallers also butchered the animals. A ‘licenced victualler’ was/is one licenced to sell alcohol (publican) and also can apply to a hotelier.
The rioting basically was a form of faction fighting, widespread in Ireland and not confined to Dublin. I have (somewhere, (it’s from Tuckey’s book on Cork published c.1830) an account of a butcher-boy fight between the gangs from Blackpool with those from Fairlane. It is from faction-fighting that the citizens of Tipperary got the sobriquet ‘stonethrowers’. Deaths in the pitched battles were not uncommon.
Several years ago I helped an American friend with her Irish line – her 4th Great Grandfather was Thomas Emerson an alderman and onetime mayor of Dublin (1775/6) who was involved in ‘putting down’ several of these riots.
Cut/pasted from my corres. with her-
.Faction fighting (riotous/violent behavior by opposing factions) was a common occurrence in that era; it could be said that it almost was an Irish national pastime. For example, gangs of students from Trinity College regularly waged war on the various Guilds and the Guilds on each other. Elsewhere in the country gangs from rival towns and villages regularly fought on weekends, often after a football match, sometimes instead of one! It seems that the fighting reached its peak around Mayday, (possibly a link to ancient Irish holiday/ceremony of Bealtine?) The butcher boys were not necessarily employees/apprentices and often were delivery/messenger boys. It was a sort of 'football hooliganism' of the day.
The following newspaper extract details on an attack on a weaver in which Emerson had a role:
Oct 10, 1786 The same day, several of the working people, belonging to Mr. Nixon, of Francis Street, having assembled for the purpose of committing some outrages in the Earl of Meath's Liberty, and intelligence thereof being given to Alderman Emerson, of the Workhouse Division, that active magistrate, accompanied by the guard placed on the Coombe, went in pursuit of, and dispersed those infatuated people, but not before they had cut a warp, the property of Mr. Nixon, which, together with the beam, reed, etc. they threw into the water at the upper end of Marrowbonelane. By the activity and zeal of the above magistrate on the occasion, peace and tranquility hath been restored to that part of the metropolis.
(FWIW Thomas Emerson’s son, Edward was at one stage Commander of Fort George and Collector of Customs at Port Antonio, Jamaica, before returning to England. His great-granddaughter, born in Manchester 1853 married in Michigan.)