Sunday, January 21, 2018

More than just one invasion after another: Medieval Ireland

A new book seeks to challenge that assumption, providing a look at a thousand years of the history of the island of Ireland, from the arrival of St Patrick in the 5th century to the political and religious events of the late 14th century.

The book, by Dr Clare Downham of the University of Liverpool, resists the tendency to define Irish medieval history by certain landmark dates, such as the arrival of the Vikings c.800, or the invasion of Ireland by Henry II of England in 1171.

Dr Downham’s reasons for this are compelling: an Irish person in 1175 is unlikely to have viewed them self as in a fundamentally different society as someone ten years before, and many of the changes in medieval Ireland, such as the increase in literacy and improvements in farming technology, were both far more gradual and far more wide reaching than the events of any single date.


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