The Irish Ringfort
This book, first published in 1997, examines all aspects of Irish ringforts – their shape and size, their date and function – with special attention to national distribution patterns. Reference to contemporary written sources brings to the fore the people who dwelt within ringforts and their relationships with neighbouring farmsteads and religious communities. This study focuses on the lives and material remains of people who are often neglected in historical studies – men and women who were not the saints of official history. The Irish ringfort is the first book to avail itself of the all-Ireland database of ringforts compiled by the archaeological surveys of the Office of Public Works and the Heritage Service (DOE NI). Nationwide patterns are illustrated through a re-examination of earlier studies. What emerges is a consistent pattern of settlement that illuminates aspects of early Christian society, especially the relationship between individuals of varying status and the settlement determinants of both secular and ecclesiastical establishments.
Matthew Stout is a cartographer and a historical geographer who lectured in early medieval Irish history at Dublin City University until his retirement in 2022. He is the author of Early Medieval Ireland 431–1169 (Dublin, 2017) and has published numerous articles on early medieval Irish settlement.