Ireland Encastellated, AD 950–1550

Insular castle-building in its European context


Tadhg O'Keeffe

Hardback €40.50
Catalogue Price: €45.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-863-8
February 2021. 240pp; ills

‘This book should be required reading not only for archaeologists and historians of Ireland, but for anyone interested in castles and/or seigneurial power in the Middle Ages, no matter what their discipline or region of interest. O’Keeffe’s insistence that encastellation in Ireland be defined broadly and understood as part of a Europe-wide phenomenon allows him to argue convincingly that the ideas, worldviews, and seigneurial residences of Ireland’s lords and the masons they patronized were far from insular, and to show the ways in which these structures were participants – from as early as the tenth century and as late as the end of the Middle Ages – in a much wider European conversation about seigneurial power and its manifestations in the landscape. The book’s crystal clear explanations of how to read and interpret castle architecture, its excellent plans and black-and-white illustrations, and its site by site descriptions also make it an ideal companion for anyone touring Irish castles.’ Professor Robin Fleming, Boston College


‘Tadhg O’Keeffe writes with intellectual verve and immense knowledge, as well as very accessibly. This book is much bigger than its title: not just a comprehensive reassessment of Irish castle-building in a European context – though it is that – but a reassessment of many aspects of castle-building in England and France. It opens up a complex subject for newcomers, and transforms it for specialists. It will be a landmark for the next generation.’ Professor John Blair, University of Oxford


Ireland Encastellated provides a reassessment of the functions, meanings and chronology of castle-building in medieval Ireland. [The author’s ...] range is perhaps surprising to those who know the evidence, beginning convincingly in the late tenth century, and extending into the sixteenth. He places the Irish evidence within its broader European context, arguing that Ireland was not only the beneficiary of external “influences”, but also arguing for a pan-European conversation that included the “invention” of the castle and the varied developments of the donjon and the semi-circular tower.’ Professor Sheila Bonde, Brown University