Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200  book cover
2nd Edition

Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200

ISBN 9781138885431
Published October 21, 2016 by Routledge
396 Pages

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Book Description

This impressive survey covers the early history of Ireland from the coming of Christianity to the Norman settlement. Within a broad political framework it explores the nature of Irish society, the spiritual and secular roles of the Church and the extraordinary flowering of Irish culture in the period. Other major themes are Ireland's relations with Britain and continental Europe, the beginnings of Irish feudalism, and the impact of the Viking and Norman invaders.

The expanded second edition has been fully updated to take into account the most recent research in the history of Ireland in the early middle ages, including Ireland’s relations with the Later Roman Empire, advances and discoveries in archaeology, and Church Reform in the 11th and 12th centuries. A new opening chapter on early Irish primary sources introduces students to the key written sources that inform our picture of early medieval Ireland, including annals, genealogies and laws.

The social, political, religious, legal and institutional background provides the context against which Dáibhí Ó Cróinín describes Ireland’s transformation from a tribal society to a feudal state. It is essential reading for student and specialist alike.

Table of Contents

List of Maps

    1. Early Medieval Ireland: Sources
    2. The Beginnings Of Irish History
    3. Kingdoms, Peoples and Politics, Ad 400–800
    4. Kingdoms, Peoples and Politics, Ad 400–800
    5. Land, Settlement and Economy
    6. Law, Family And Community
    7. The Consolidation Of The Church
    8. The First Christian Schools
    9. The Golden Age
    10. The Viking Age


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Dáibhí Ó Cróinín is a Professor of History at NUI Galway. His previous publications include Whitley Stokes (1830-1090): the lost Celtic notebooks rediscovered (2011) and A New History of Ireland, vol. 1: prehistoric and early Ireland (2005).



Dáibhí Ó Cróinín’s Early Medieval Ireland is the only comprehensive treatment of the first centuries of Irish history up to the coming of the Normans. In its second revised and significantly updated edition, it surveys early medieval Irish landscape, society, culture, politics, and now also the written documents that inform the analysis. Its scholarly depth provides the specialist with new insights into an understudied age. Its lucid structure renders this volume an ideal textbook for students. Its engaging style makes it a compelling reading for anybody interested in one of the most fascinating periods of Ireland’s history.

Immo Warntjes, Queen's University Belfast, UK