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  • Writer's pictureHugh MacMahon

Guide Book to an Era

Over the past year I have visited forgotten historical places in Ireland in a haphazard way, selecting destinations on the basis of convenience and the promise of a surprise.

Gradually I began to see they were interrelated pieces of a period in Irish history of which most of us are barely aware.

I was making slow progress in putting the pieces together when I came across Early Medieval Ireland, 431-1169 by Dr Matthew Stout. Its descriptions, maps, photographs and diagrams filled in many of the gaps in my search, added to my store of information and helped me see the wider context.

Its approach is both academic and practical – it would be an excellent teaching tool for history teachers and a valuable introduction for those with a growing interest in a historical past to be proud of.

My approach has been based on learning from the physical clues left in forgotten historical sites from that period. They stirred my curiosity and led me to an unexpected discovery of why Ireland was once hailed in Europe as the ‘Island of Civilization and Scholarship’. Referring to Matthew Stout’s book has taken my search a few steps further.


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