Medieval Ireland

Territorial, political and economic divisions


Paul MacCotter

Paperback €26.95
Catalogue Price: €29.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-557-6
December 2014. 320pp; ills.

‘An important contribution in the campaign to drag medieval Irish history out of the Celtic Twilight – “which is”, as Tolkien observed, “not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason” – and into the mainstream of European historiography … The analysis and speculation on territorial and tenurial organisation in this book not only elucidate a hitherto under-researched aspect of medieval Irish history but also suggest new and interesting ways in which land tenure elsewhere, particularly but no exclusively in the British Isles, can be approached. The book comprises seven analytical chapters, a gazetteer of the tríuchas and four appendices presenting primary material and methodological notes, and is well provided with maps. The volume is really a must for anyone interested in land tenure or rural history and should be read', Alex Woolf, EHR (February 2012).

‘This long overdue book on the territorial organisation of the Irish Medieval landscape should be eagerly devoured by a new generation of Irish historians, geographers and archaeologists … [a] seminal work, which will hopefully open the floodgates for further research … A work of this kind faced the daunting challenge of condensing an enormous volume of localised historical information to provide a comprehensive overview of the whole island and it is one of the marked achievements of this book that this is accomplished. An enduring component of the book will be an all-island wide gazetteer with maps of the trícha céts, cantreds and the local kingdoms of Early Medieval Ireland which will continue to serve as an invaluable research tool for a long time to come … author’s style is lucid and he makes a point of defining clearly all the terms used and, where necessary, he coins new terms which allow the reader to follow his arguments with relative ease … The book has provided a firm and broad platform for future research and debate on a vital aspect of Irish Medieval Settlement … this landmark publication, which conceivably has the potential to be a paradigm shifting work, should be regarded as essential reading for anyone involved in the study of Early Ireland', Thomas McErlean, Irish Geography (March 2010).

‘A very significant contribution to study of medieval Ireland … an essential read for anyone interested in the origin, history and development of Irish place-names’, Michael Merrigan, Ireland’s Genealogical Gazette (November 2008).

‘Remarkable … MacCotter’s command of the primary sources and onomastic evidence is nothing short of breathtaking … the tightly-written analysis that occupies the first half of the volume also represents a major contribution to scholarship … the author can rest assured that scholars from the early historic period to the early modern will find themselves reaching for this volume time and again to find out “what MacCotter has to say”’, Peter Crooks, Studia Hibernica (Spring 2010).

‘A well-researched book that represents a radical reappraisal of Hogan’s ideas and one that is bound to spark a lively debate among Irish historians … [this] book represents a new and important contribution to the study of the territorial divisions of eleventh- and twelfth-century Ireland. As such, it will become the starting point for all future discussions of this topic', Dan M. Wiley, Speculum (2010).