A History of Ireland

A History of Ireland

A History of Ireland

A History of Ireland

Synopsis

A tiny island in the North Atlantic, Ireland has had an astonishingly powerful impact on the world, both at the height of its independent power in the early Middle Ages, as the key exporter of Christianity to Europe, and at the depth of its colonial subjugation by Britain, as the primary source of settlers in North America. A History of Ireland explores the story of Ireland from the twelfth century to the end of the twentieth century. Written chronologically, it explores the period of the English invasion of Ireland, the emergence of a Gaelic culture, the religious conflicts across the centuries, the struggle over home rule, and the complex nature of the country's modern troubles. Available now for the first time in paperback, A History of Ireland explores economic, social, political, and cultural events and offers a fascinating glimpse into Ireland's past.

Excerpt

For such a small landmass on the western edge of Europe, Ireland has had a huge impact on the wider world. In the last two centuries alone Ireland has witnessed a major famine which decimated its population and produced one of the largest emigrant waves ever to leave Europe. The Irish diaspora is now integrated into countless nations across the globe. Their impact on their new homes has been immense, yet any effects that they have had are always tempered by the links with 'home'. Ireland has given the world some of the most important literature of the modern era, such as the works of Joyce and Yeats, and, in these days of globalisation and mass culture, the impact of its popular music has been equally profound. Finally, in the last thirty years, the island of Ireland has been the location of a struggle between the forces of nationalism and unionism which has cost countless lives, a conflict which has been played out in front of the world's media, and yet is one which has been difficult to end.

IRELAND AND HISTORY

Ireland. How do we understand the history of such a significant, yet such a geographically and demographically small nation? To write the history of a nation is problematic at the best of times. For some of the other books in this series the task is made slightly easier as the established reality of the nation has been long standing, as borders and sovereignty, once founded, have rarely been successfully challenged. However, an instant problem for anyone writing a history of Ireland is to deal with the question of what is meant by the term 'Ireland'. As a geographical concept, Ireland is straightforward. The island of Ireland is a clearly definable landmass located in the eastern Atlantic. Since the twelfth century, however, Ireland has been a contested area in political, religious and military terms. There has been a continuous battle for control of the island. At times this has been an internal battle, while, more usually, the fortunes of Ireland have . . .

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