Monday Books: Historical Tome a Must for Armaghians; Armagh: History and Society, Geography Publications, Pounds 41.50

Article excerpt

Byline: Daphne Abernethy

THIS is the latest volume in the County History and Society series to be published. The 1,080-page text, with more than 170 illustrations, brings together 30 scholars, who, in as many chapters, outline the key themes in the making of the modern county.

All of the contributions - ranging in subject matter from archaeology and St Patrick to aspects of farming and the famine - are based on original research so that the book unfolds as an authoritative account of the county and the territories which preceded it.

The volume begins with the prehistory inhabitants, moves to Armagh's Iron Age and the Tain Bo Cuailgne and then focuses on the age of saints. It includes a number of interesting essays on ecclesiastical topics such as an investigation of Patrick by Daibhi O Croinin and Henry Jeffries' study of Archbishop George Cromer.

There is also a gripping chapter on St Monenna of Killevy.

Both religious and secular politics in the early middle ages are considered as is the reformation period in the 16th century.

A number of articles examine the turbulent 17th century and the ways in which politics and religion shaped Armagh's history, with the tragic figure of Oliver Plunkett looming large.

A variety of specialists turn towards Armagh in the 18th century, its politics, politicians and the towns and estates which gave the county a new map, with the patrician figure of Archbishop Robinson leaving his signature on the city of Armagh. …