Tales of medieval Dublin


Sparky Booker & Cherie N. Peters editors

€8.95
€40.50
Catalogue Price: €9.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-497-5
Catalogue Price: €45.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-496-8

October 2014. 228pp; colour ills.

This is an unusual, but fascinating and very enjoyable book … It’s not a history of medieval Dublin but it is full of Dublin’s history, including many insights and snippets that you wouldn’t get in a standard academic history … There is great variety in the characters chosen … Overall, I would consider the book an undoubted success – enjoyable and relatively light reading for the academic but a stimulating introduction to the history of medieval Dublin for the lay reader. This is well worth a punt for anyone with the slightest interest in Dublin’s history', Andrew Halpin, Irish Arts Review (Winter 2014).


‘This is a most pleasing book. It consists of fourteen "tales" of invidicuals living in Dublin over a period of almost a thousand years. As in “The Canterbury Tales”, the stories of these individuals reveal much about the world in which they lived, in this case medieval Dublin … Seán Duffy of TCD, who has done so much to interpret the medieval city for a modern audience, kicks off with “The Saint’s Tale” … This is a fine production, much of it the fruits of the labours of young new scholars. Its microhistories greatly add to our understating of our ancient metropolis. It is thoroughly recommended to the aficionado and neophyte alike. Its editors are to be complimented’, Seamus Ó Maitiú, Dublin Historical Record (Autumn/Winter 2014).

‘The outcome of a four-year long series (and counting!) of lunchtime talks, Tales of Medieval Dublin presents fourteen vivid portraits of medieval Dubliners from all walks of life, each located within a broader historical context. This microhistorical approach works incredibly well. This is a gripping read … the book could make an excellent textbook for undergraduate students studying medieval history for the first time … Tales of Medieval Dublin has the potential to be an impactful book within the discipline. It has much to tell us about urban life, relations between town and hinterland, centre and periphery, that could be extended to other medieval geographic contexts … The book is therefore not solely of interest to experts in the history of Dublin city, but is an engaging read for all, even those with only a passing interest in medieval studies’, Vicky McAlister, Studia Hibernica (2015).

‘This nicely produced volume, illustrated by numerous black and white diagrams, maps, and photographs, has been born from the enthusiasm of the people of Dublin themselves for their own history … A valuable and important body of work for anyone with an interest in Dublin’s varied past. There is a wealth of new research within these pages … these rich and varied voices come together to present findings in such a way that each ‘tale’ is perfectly accessible to the lay reader and yet has much to offer the more seasoned scholar … This volume is a valuable collection of new research into varied aspects of life in medieval Dublin. It is well researched, well presented, well edited, and well worth considering for the shelf of any historian, amateur of otherwise, with an interest n the period or the city', Mark Norman, Folklore (2017).

‘The thread binding all the tales together is that each is based on meticulous research, but presented in an accessible style … this is an engaging and accessible volume. Individual readers will be drawn to different tales, but the mix presented here will have something to please most tastes. The tales leave the reader with a sense of what life was like for a variety of characters living in medieval Dublin. Moreover, these characters have depth, and the backgrounds of their lives are detailed studies encompassing the broader landscape and society of medieval Dublin. The editors are to be congratulated for bringing to publication a book which serves as both an authoritative introduction and a valuable contribution’, Mags Mannion, Peritia (2015).

‘This collection of fourteen essays by prominent historians and archaeologists is both entertaining and hugely informative. Even the titles chosen for each of the “tales” bring out the humanity of the subjects in a way that enlivens the history … Beautifully illustrated and captivatingly interesting’, Michael Merrigan, Ireland’s Genealogical Gazette (November 2014).

Tales of medieval Dublin has its origins in the enormously popular monthly lunchtime lecture series of the same name … it explores the life of medieval Dublin through the true stories of an archetypal character … This attractive and lively collection is an ideal introduction to its subject’, History Ireland (Jan/Feb 2015).

The book is both richly informative and greatly entertaining … All of these essays are of interest … what we catch in these essays are glimpses of real people and their real activities, rather than the often rarefied generalities of national history’, Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic (November 2014).

‘By focusing on individual life stories rather than broader trends, these essays provide fresh perspectives on some of the key periods of Dublin’s history, from its origins as a Viking longphort to its place at the heart of Tudor Ireland … The editors are to be commended for their determination to provide “tales” relating to all time periods and social levels … the resulting mix of individuals, periods, professions, successes and failures is highly engaging … this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the medieval city and its denizens … [the book’s] great success has been in adding diverse and very human faces to all periods of the settlement’s history. It should also be pointed out that while the essays are accessible to the general reader, most, if not all, are based on fresh primary research, and these prosopographies form a welcome addition to our limited knowledge of medieval Dublin’s citizens. Hence, the book deserves a place on specialists’ bookshelves too. The authors, and in particular, the editors, can be congratulated for providing an exceptionally vivid collection of “Tales” that succeeds in bringing the medieval city to life’, Stephen H. Harrison, Breac: digital journal of Irish Studies (November 2015).