Ireland and the Crusades

Edward Coleman, Paul Duffy & Tadhg O'Keeffe, editors

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-861-4
September 2022. 256pp; colour ills.

“This nicely produced volume by Four Courts Press here in Dublin, that has published so many important books on our medieval past, covers the often complex interaction between this small island and the Holy Land. The scene is set for the reader by Coleman’s logical and well-argued Introduction. All of the following 14 chapters are well distributed among leading scholars in their field, ranging from historians and archaeologists to literary and linguistic scholars. This provides a very balanced view of the many interactions between Ireland and the Holy Land from the first half of the 12th century to the end of the following century … One of this book’s real strengths is its concentration on the material remains of this important period in the history of the medieval lordship, while not losing sight of the contemporary major historical developments. This is reinforced by the many first-rate illustrations contained in this study, many of which are colour plates taken specifically by the authors ... This new volume successfully builds upon earlier scholarly research, mainly historically based, and now presents us with a much fuller picture, as expertly summarised by O’Keeffe in his Epilogue. Without doubt this book reflects the currently vibrant state of medieval studies here in Ireland, and should therefore be on the reading list of any medieval researcher.” Terry Barry, Medieval Archaeology, 67:1, 2023.

“There has until recent decades been a long silence in medieval Irish history on the matter of the crusades. Ireland and the Crusades, edited by Edward Coleman, Paul Duffy, and Tadhg O’Keeffe, makes a strong contribution to recent research, bolstering the position often inherent in this scholarship: that Ireland, while not on a par with western Europe in its level of involvement, was ‘as affected as anywhere else by the crusades, and in similar ways’. The vastness of the crusades as a concept is noted and the collection is appropriately expansive, covering subject matter from a range of disciplines: from consideration of ‘palmers’ in the Dublin Guild Merchant Role (Catherine Smith, pp. 70–76) to the iconography of the cross-legged knight (Dave Swift, pp. 154–63) ... The historiography of Ireland and the crusades, current research challenges and next steps are discussed in two excellent chapters that bookend the collection … Ireland and the Crusades is a welcome addition to a growing field, justifying O’Keeffe’s prediction that it, together with an earlier collection (Martin Browne and Colmán Ó Clabaigh (eds), Soldiers of Christ: The Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller in Medieval Ireland), will prove a seminal study of Ireland’s place in the crusades and the presence of the religious military orders in Ireland.” Jane Fitzgerald, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, 2023

“The medieval Crusades encompassed a diverse array of military expeditions aimed at maintaining and advancing Christianity and the Roman Church. Conventional historiography has posited a minimal association between Ireland and the Crusades. As Coleman notes, however, ‘the general lack of attention paid to the history of the Crusades in Ireland over such a long period remains puzzling’ (p. 22). This 2022 collection of essays by fourteen archaeologists and historians does much to address the gap, and surely will stimulate further discussion and debate. Bookended by Coleman’s comprehensive survey of the field and O’Keeffe’s thought-provoking epilogue are a dozen contributions covering the roles of named individuals and other participants from Ireland in the crusades, the motivation for their engagement, the significance to crusading of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, the military orders, the language of crusade, hospitals, effigies and the primary sources ... This well-thought-out and much-anticipated volume is the most significant contribution to the field to date. It is at once a synthesis of what was already known, a collection of new ideas and approaches, and a springboard for further sustained research. The book is equipped with a selection of thirty-eight line drawings, colour photographs, maps, plans and manuscript excerpts, as well as a proper-noun index. The consolidated bibliography is in itself an important scholarly resource ... At a reasonable €55, the content, editorial standards and production values are also better in this one. The editors, authors and publishers have done a very fine job.” Michael Potterton, Current Archaeology. March 2023

"all of the essays offer points of interest, enough to make this volume an essential addition to the medievalist's bookshelf". Grace O'Keeffe, History Ireland

“This book provides a welcome addition to a neglected strand of research on medieval Ireland”. John Marshall, Studia Hibernica 49 (2023)

"Behind the short and specific title of this book lies an enlightening and interesting interdisciplinary collection of essays from leading historians and archaeologists...Altogether these papers provide fascinating insights into political and religious motivations at the time, as well as into the somewhat more romantic notions of more recent centuries and how they influenced – or indeed, inspired– the interpretation of some burial effigies, such as the St Michan 'crusader'." Archaeology Ireland, Spring 2023.