Medieval and monastic Derry

Sixth century to 1600


Brian Lacey

Hardback €26.95
Catalogue Price: €29.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-383-1
November 2013. 176pp; ills.

‘[This book] was published in the year that Derry-Londonderry was UK City of Culture, and is a fitting tribute. Lacey successfully intertwines the fiction of the founding saint, Colum Cille, around historical fact … Lacey has written an engaging account of the complicated family and dynastic conflicts that took place in and around Derry … A vivid picture is painted of the layout of the medieval settlement … Lacey has achieved a remarkable narrative, a real “page turner”, in a relatively short book, suitable for the lay reader and scholar alike. IT contains good maps and is extensively referenced throughout’, Tracy Collins, The Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies (2015). 

'The first comprehensive study of the medieval city', Derry Journal (November 2013).

‘Brian Lacey, in a forensic examination of the documentary evidence, unravels the story of this early settlement and in doing so separates reality from deliberate myth-making by the powers that claimed Derry during the medieval period … Lacey has produced what seems like a definitive piece of work as far as the historical sources are concerned’, Finbar McCormick, Landscape History (2015).

‘Examining previously little-used sources and emphasizing Derry’s changing fortunes in the context of contemporary secular politics, Lacey separates fact from fiction but establishes a no less interesting narrative, while at the same time giving due regard to myth', Nick Maxwell, Archaeology Ireland (Spring 2014).

‘[This book], a rich and scholarly narrative history of Derry, is the culmination of several decades of research and publication by the author. His work over these years has changed our understanding of the history of the city and its immediate environs from one based on tradition and polemical narrative to one footed on a sophisticated analysis of primary source material. This volume summaries this original research and builds upon it to provide a detailed and persuasive history of medieval Derry that is both useful to other scholars and accessible to the interested general reader … from the very first paragraph [Lacey] uses geography, historical documents, place-name evidence and more to give the reader a rich and textured understanding of the area under examination … The book is not shy of challenging myth … The book is impressive in many ways. Lacey displays deep scholarship. He knows the primary sources well as texts in their own right, and the understands the contexts in which they were written and how to interpret and use them. He has used this scholarship to build up a convincing and satisfying narrative history of Derry … [this is] the single guide to Derry’s early history that every student of medieval Ireland needs to have on their shelf’, Cormac McSparron, Journal of Irish Archaeology (2013). 


‘A significant and comprehensive study of the medieval cityscape of Derry. The book celebrates and brings together the defining historical moments of the city of Derry-Londonderry … His scholarship represents a wonderful interdisciplinary approach combining both historian and archaeologist … One of the book’s great strengths is the in-depth treatment of source material and the collation of so many fascinating accounts of place-names, historic maps and descriptive textual sources … this [is a] fascinating and information, historical guide to the city … This book is a must for anyone who is interested in and who is choosing to visit the city of Derry-Londonderry’, Lynda Mulvin, Irish Arts Review (Summer 2014).

‘[This book] does provide a superb overview of what can be known of “one of the oldest more or less continuously documented places in Ireland” in the period leading up to 1600, when Derry began its history as an English-ruled town … a book that will be of interest to both specialists and nonspecialists alike … heavily illustrated with maps and period drawings … easy to read … this is an important and accessible study for anyone interested in the history of one of the island’s most vibrant cities’, Robin Chapman Stacey, Catholic Historical Review (Summer 2015).