Ireland has been very well served in recent years by modern scholarship on her medieval castellated landscape. This book by O’Keeffe takes this research much further, especially in the way he rightly sets the castles within their greater European context. Not only does he support this hypothesis generally with both archaeological and documentary evidence, but he does this in such a logical manner that it is hard to counter his views.
In many ways the most revolutionary ideas by O’Keeffe are to be found in Chapter 5, where he logically analyses this wider European context for Irish castles in the later Middle Ages. Then, at the end of his book, he very usefully suggests where castle studies in Ireland might go in the future.
This well-illustrated, expertly argued book should be essential reading for any scholars, as well as any interested reader, who are interested in the landscape of medieval Ireland, and by medieval historians who are interested in the material culture of our island.
Review by Terry Barry.
Ireland Encastellated, AD 950-1550: insular castle-building in its European context, Tadhg O’Keeffe, Four Courts Press, £40, ISBN 978-1846828638.