Few countries in the world have such a compelling, individual, and stirring history as Ireland. This new volume in a distinguished series offers the most authoritative account of Irish history ever published for the general reader. Written by an expert team of scholars, and richly illustrated throughout, it takes us from the very earliest prehistoric communities and first Christian settlements, through centuries of turbulent change to the present day. The story is one of paradox and ambiguity, as well as of unifying overall themes. Patterns of settlement and colonisation, religious confrontation, and the emergence of new political patterns are among the issues discussed. The question of Irish identity, and the meaning of 'colonialism' in the very Irish sense, raise important questions about the use of language: a special feature of the book is a chapter devoted to the language and literature which preserve, in their way, a record of Irish history. The conflicts, settlements, discontinuities, and unities of Irish history are illustrated with reference to landscape, artefacts, architecture, and an enormous variety of contemporary visual evidence. There are over 200 photographs including 24 full-colour plates, and the volume comes complete with reference material, maps, a chronology, lists of further reading and a full index. Wide-ranging, challenging, and highly readable, this vivid view of Irish history will instruct and entertain students, scholars, and general readers alike.