JEFFREY JAMES    Book Number: 85875    Product format: Hardback

A country with a small population, Ireland has been invaded and exploited throughout its history, but the Irish have always fought back with tenacity and courage. In the first century AD the Irish king Tuathal Techtmar fought alongside the Roman general Agricola, probably because he was in exile from his homeland and wanted Roman support to get back. The early Irish, like other warriors in the British Isles, were head-hunters who proudly displayed their bloody spoils, and in the pre-Christian period the Irish unit of value was the female slave. Patrick, the country's patron saint, may not have been the first missionary to Ireland but the Christian communities he established survived and became a missionizing force, in their turn colonising Iona then Northumbria. As the Viking invasions took hold, the 11th century Battle of Clontarf was the biggest and most decisive engagement, with Brian and Malachy bidding together for high-kingship. By the 12th century Canterbury was exerting primacy over Ireland through ecclesiastical disputes chronicled by Gerald of Wales. While Henry II supported incursions by men such as the adventurer Strongbow he also feared that his armies would establish their own power base. Renegades proliferated, and the High King Rory O'Connor was unusual in living to retirement. The author covers Ireland in the Wars of the Roses and Reformation periods, concluding with the fate of the country under the Catholic Charles I and his vindictive and anti-Catholic operative Strafford, followed by Tyrconnell and the Jacobites. A vividly told short history. 320pp, colour plates.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £4.75

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ISBN 9781445662466
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