Wars Of The Irish Kings

In fact, land in pre-twelfth century Ireland had little political value.  Although there were rich plains, it was not a farming culture but a decentralized grazing one in which wealth was measured in cattle.  There were no cities, and the kingdoms, which rarely had roads or clearly defined boundaries, were separated by a dense forests and bogs, which were more of a deterrent to travel (or easy military movement) than the mountains.  A reading of the  sometimes-cryptic early annals suggests and endless series of battles and cattle raids.  To be glib, early medieval Ireland sounds like a somewhat crazed Wisconsin, in which every dairy farm is an armed at perpetual war with its neighbors, and every farmer claims he is a king.

Some tite illustrations in the book:

For a dip into Irish history, you can’t top:

The illustrations go a long way towards telling the story.

It’s not all bad. 

Edward McGuire’s portrait of Seamus Heaney.



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