Irish kings and high kings
Irish Kings and High-Kings is an analysis of the nature of early Irish kingship, using annalistic and genealogical material to interpret Irish saga and legend.Professor Byrne examines the unique blend of pagan tribalism and Christian monasticism which characterises the political landscape of early Ireland, exploring the nature of the traditional Five Fifths of Ireland, the mythology of Tara, and the growth of the high-kingship of Ireland. Numerous maps and genealogical tables illustrate the development of the great over-kingships of Ulster, Leinster and Connacht, and Cashel. The confrontation of St Patrick with the Irish kings, the relations between St Colum Cille and his royal cousins, and the ecclesiastical politics of Armagh, Kildare and Clonmacnoise are described and analysed. More than twenty years after its original publication, Irish Kings and High-Kings remains unsurpassed as an overview of this central issue in Irish history. In a new introduction to this edition, Professor Byrne updates his conclusions in the light of further researches, and provides a comprehensive bibliography of new work in the field.
F.J. Byrne is former Professor of Early Irish History at University College, Dublin and is an editor of the Royal Irish Academy's A New History of Ireland.