Story of Ireland by Neil HegartyI enjoyed the four part BBC series presented by Fergal Keane, and this is the more in depth book that accompanies it. Facisinating overview of the country's history between 2000ish B.C. to the present.
Brilliant insights into this very mercurial national identity, whose original inhabitants gravitated from the Iberian peninsula, and many years later were visited on by the Vikings, The British, and the French amongst many others (the Romans only traded with the Irish and were of the 'Fuck that, it's freezing' school of thought when it came to invasion, calling Ireland by the name: Hibernia, which translates to Land of Winter). Hegarty also gives balanced detail to the ever changing dynamic between Ireland and Britain, especially with the reign of The Stuart's and the Tudors.
Some great tales of warring tribes and chieftains and an honest portrayal of how the Catholic Church have always gotten in with tribal elders or later governments to peddle their superstitious rhubarb to the poorer classes who would have been far better off without it. This book has the lot, politics, intrigue, drama, and some of history's great nutters. An example of the latter would be Oliver Cromwell, whose religious fundamenatalism and genocidal antics against Catholics in Ireland make ISIS look about as savage as a kittens sneeze! Top read, well done Mr Hegarty!