Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians.
In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task.
As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated.
In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.
BONUS MATERIAL: This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Thomas Cahill's Heretics and Heroes.
Reflecting recent historical, textual and archaeological research, this revised edition of Michael Wood's classic book overturns preconceptions of the Dark Ages as a shadowy and brutal era, showing them to be a richly exciting and formative period in the history of Britain.
'With In Search of the Dark Ages, Michael Wood wrote the book for history on TV.' The Times
'Michael Wood is the maker of some of the best TV documentaries ever made on history and archaeology.' Times Literary Supplement
Who were the first Britons, and what sort of world did they occupy? In A HISTORY OF ANCIENT BRITAIN Neil Oliver turns a spotlight on the very beginnings of the story of Britain; on the first people to occupy these islands and their battle for survival.
There has been human habitation in Britain, regularly interrupted by Ice Ages, for the best part of a million years. The last retreat of the glaciers 12,000 years ago brought a new and warmer age and with it, one of the greatest tsunamis recorded on Earth which struck the north-east of Britain, devastating the population and flooding the low-lying plains of what is now the North Sea. The resulting island became, in time, home to a diverse range of cultures and peoples who have left behind them some of the most extraordinary and enigmatic monuments in the world.
Through what is revealed by the artefacts of the past, Neil Oliver weaves the epic story - half a million years of human history up to the departure of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century AD. It was a period which accounts for more than ninety-nine per cent of humankind's presence on these islands.
It is the real story of Britain and of her people.
Illustrations from rare sources enhance this treasury of lore and its stories of the strife and mythic powers of the gods, their loves and aid to mortals, and of famous heroes, pagans, and Christians of antiquity. John Arnott MacCulloch, a former canon of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and author of several books relating to the Celtic culture, discusses the coexistence of paganism and Christianity and their influences on each other, particularly in regard to the heroic cycles of Cuchulainn, Fionn, and Arthur.
A magisterial account of one of the worst disasters to strike humankind--the Great Irish Potato Famine--conveyed as lyrical narrative history from the acclaimed author of The Great Mortality
Deeply researched, compelling in its details, and startling in its conclusions about the appalling decisions behind a tragedy of epic proportions, John Kelly's retelling of the awful story of Ireland's great hunger will resonate today as history that speaks to our own times.
It started in 1845 and before it was over more than one million men, women, and children would die and another two million would flee the country. Measured in terms of mortality, the Great Irish Potato Famine was the worst disaster in the nineteenth century--it claimed twice as many lives as the American Civil War. A perfect storm of bacterial infection, political greed, and religious intolerance sparked this catastrophe. But even more extraordinary than its scope were its political underpinnings, and The Graves Are Walking provides fresh material and analysis on the role that Britain's nation-building policies played in exacerbating the devastation by attempting to use the famine to reshape Irish society and character. Religious dogma, anti-relief sentiment, and racial and political ideology combined to result in an almost inconceivable disaster of human suffering.
This is ultimately a story of triumph over perceived destiny: for fifty million Americans of Irish heritage, the saga of a broken people fleeing crushing starvation and remaking themselves in a new land is an inspiring story of revival.
Based on extensive research and written with novelistic flair, The Graves Are Walking draws a portrait that is both intimate and panoramic, that captures the drama of individual lives caught up in an unimaginable tragedy, while imparting a new understanding of the famine's causes and consequences.
Vanished Kingdoms introduces readers to once-powerful European empires that have left scant traces on the modern map. In this excerpt from his widely acclaimed book, Norman Davies tells the ill-fated story of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Founded in the mid-thirteenth century in one of the continent’s first settled regions, where the oldest of its Indo-European languages is spoken, the Grand Duchy at its peak was the largest country in Europe, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and it commanded yet greater influence after uniting with its western neighbor, the Kingdom of Poland, to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Grand Duchy’s huge territory included the great cities of Kiev, Vilnius, Riga, Minsk, and Brest. Despite being ahead of its time as an elective republic in an age of absolute monarchy, power struggles and foreign incursions led to its ultimate demise and forced partition by Russia, Prussia, and Austria in 1795.
In this selection from a work The Boston Globe has called “commendably accessible, magisterial, and uncommonly humane,” Davies chronicles these rich yet unfamiliar chapters in the history of modern Lithuania, Belarus, and Latvia with his signature acuity and verve.
Maeve Binchy once confessed: "As someone who fell off a chair not long ago trying to hear what they were saying at the next table in a restaurant, I suppose I am obsessively interested in what some might consider the trivia of other people's lives." She was an accidental journalist, yet from the beginning, her writings reflected the warmth, wit, and keen human interest that readers would come to love in her fiction. From the royal wedding to boring airplane companions, Samuel Beckett to Margaret Thatcher, "senior moments" to life as a waitress, Maeve's Times gives us wonderful insight into a changing Ireland as it celebrates the work of one of our best-loved writers in all its diversity-revealing her characteristic directness, laugh-out-loud humor, and unswerving gaze into the true heart of a matter.
“Binchy’s wry, self-effacing style reminds one of a Celtic Nora Ephron. . . . [She] throws a spotlight on strong, imperfect women confronting complicated challenges.” —The Christian Science Monitor
In the three decades since Morgan Llyweyln wrote the bestselling novel Lion of Ireland, she has studied the legendary life of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Often dismissed as a mythical figure, as all the known facts about him are contained within the several Irish annals. But thirty years of research have led Llyweyln to conclude with certainty that Brian Boru actually lived, a great battle took place in 1014: and Ireland won.
Read about the life of Brian Boru and the battle that changed the course of Irish history in this exciting and accessible account.
Legends and Stories of Ireland- Samuel Lover
King O'Toole and St Kevin
A Legend of Lough Mask
The White Trout
The Battle of the Berrins; or, the Double Funeral
The Priest's Story
The King and the Bishop
Jimmy the Fool
The Devil's Mill
The Gridiron; or Paddy Mullowney's Travels in France
Paddy the Piper
The Priest's Ghost
Paddy the Sport
The White Horse of the Peppers
The Legend of the Little Weaver of Duleek Gate
Conclusion of the White Horse of the Peppers
The Curse of Kishogue
The Fairy Finder
Cuchulain of Muirthemne- Lady Gregory
Preface by W. B. Yeats
I. Birth of Cuchulain
II. Boy Deeds of Cuchulain
III. Courting of Emer
IV. Bricrius Feast
V. The Championship of Ulster
VI. The High King of Ireland
VII. Fate of the Sons of Usnach
VIII. Dream of Angus Og
X. The Wedding of Maine Morgor
XI. The War for the Bull of Cuilagne
XII. Awakening of Ulster
XIII. The Two Bulls
XIV. The Only Jealously of Emer
XV. Advice to a Prince
XVI. Sons of Doel Dermait
XVII. Battle of Rosnaree
XVIII. The Only Son of Aoife
XIX. The Great Gathering at Muirthemne
XX. Death of Cuchulain
Note by W.B. Yeats
Notes by Lady Gregory
The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel
The Cattle-Raid of Cooley
Gods and Fighting Men- Lady Gregory
The Celtic Twilight- W. B. Yeats
Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy
Jac and His Comrades
The Bad Stepmother
Adventures of Gilla na Chreck an Gour
Jack the Master and Jack the Servant
I'll be Wiser the next Time
The Three Crowns
The Corpse Watchers
The Brown Bear of Norway
The Goban Saor
The Three Advices which the King with the Red Soles gave to his Son
Legends of the 'Good People'
The Fairy Child
The Changeling and his Bagpipes
The Tobinstown Sheeoge
The Belated Priest
The Palace in the Rath
The Breton Version of the Palace in the Rath
The Fairy Nurse
The Recovered Bride
Faction-fight among the Fairies
Jemmy Doyle in the Fairy Palace
The Fairy Cure
The Sea Fairies
The Black Cattle of Durzy Island
The Silkie Wife
The Pooka of Murroe
The Kildare Pooka
The Kildare Lurikeen
The Adventures of the 'Son of Bad Counsel'
Witchcaft, Socery, Ghosts and Fetches
The Long Spoon
The Prophet before his Time
The Bewitched Churn
The Ghosts and the Game of Football
The Cat of the Carman's Stage
Cauth Morisy looking for Service
Black Stairs on Fire
The Witches Excursion
The Crock found in the Rath
The Enchantment of Gearhoidh Iarla
Illan Eachtach and the Lianan
The Misfortunes of Barrett the Piper
The Woman in White
The Queen's County Ghost
The Ghost in Graigue
The Kiranelagh Spirit
The Doctor's Fetch
The Apparition in Old Ross
Ossianic and Early Legends
Fann Mac Cuil and the Scotch Giant
How Fann Mac Cuil and his Men were Bewitched
Qualifications and Duties of the Fianna Eirionn
The Battle of Ventry Harbour
The Fight of Castle Knoc
The Youth of Fion
Fion's First Marriage
How Fion selected a Wife
Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne
The Flight of the Sluggard
Beanriogain na Sciana Breaca
Conan's Delusions in Ceash
The Youth of Oisin
The Old Age of Oisin
Legend of Loch na Piasta
The King with the Horse's Ears
The Story of the Sculloge's Son from Muskerry
Fios Fath an Aaon Sceil
An Broan Suan Or
The Children of Lir
Legend of the Lake of Inchiquin
How the Shannon acquired its Name
The Origin of the Lake of Tiis
The Building of Ardfert Cathredral
What follows is pure enchantment as you enter the timeless world of heroic tales centered around the Ulster king Conor mac Nessa and the Red Branch Order of chivalry (Ultonian cycle). These are followed by the tales of the Ossianic cycle, which center on the figure of Finn mac Cumhal, whose son Oisín (or Ossian) was a poet and warrior, and the traditional author of most of the tales. Next comes a summary of the Voyage of Maeldūn, a brilliant and curious piece of invention that exemplifies the genre of "wonder-voyages" — adventures purely in the region of romance, out of earthly space and time. Finally, the author recounts a selection of the myths and tales of the Cymry (Welsh).
In these pages, readers will delight in the favorite and familiar tales of Cuchulain, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Grail, Deirdre, and many more figures that haunt the shadowy, twilight world of Celtic legend. The magic of that world is further brought to life in more than 50 imaginative full-page illustrations by Stephen Reid, Arthur G. Bell, and the famed illustrator J. C. Leyendecker. Reprinted here in its first paperback edition, Celtic Myths and Legends also includes several helpful genealogical tables: Gods of the House of Dōn, Gods of the House of Llyr, and Arthur and His Kin, as well as a useful glossary.
Drawing on recently uncovered sources, and with the sharp eye of a seasoned historian, Coogan delivers fresh insights into the famine's causes, recounts its unspeakable events, and delves into the legacy of the "famine mentality" that followed immigrants across the Atlantic to the shores of the United States and had lasting effects on the population left behind. This is a broad, magisterial history of a tragedy that shook the nineteenth century and still impacts the worldwide Irish diaspora of nearly 80 million people today.
illustrated ebook was written for people who want a quick overview of
the subject or want to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. Concise but
comprehensive, the book can be read in a couple of sessions: ideal for
people who want a summary of the key facts and don’t have the time or
stamina to read scholarly tomes.
Celtic IrelandThe Norman Invasion of IrelandReformation and PlantationThe Seventeenth CenturyThe Eighteenth CenturyThe Nineteenth CenturyHome RuleFrom The Easter Rising to The War of IndependenceTreaty and PartitionThe Civil WarThe Free StateThe EmergencyPost-Emergency IrelandThe Sixties and SeventiesThe SlumpThe Celtic TigerThe Economic Crash
History Compressed also contains brief biographies of key figures in
Irish history, a comprehensive timeline from the Celtic Era to 2012, and
suggestions for further reading on the history of Ireland.
Today, however, the stories are admired for their intense and masterly dissection of "dear dirty Dublin," and for the economy and grace with which Joyce invested this youthful fiction. From "The Sisters," the first story, illuminating a young boy's initial encounter with death, through the final piece, "The Dead," considered a masterpiece of the form, these tales represent, as Joyce himself explained, a chapter in the moral history of Ireland that would give the Irish "one good look at themselves." But in the end the stories are not just about the Irish; they represent moments of revelation common to all people.
Now readers can enjoy all 15 stories in this inexpensive collection, which also functions as an excellent, accessible introduction to the work of one of the 20th century's most influential writers. Dubliners is reprinted here, complete and unabridged, from a standard edition.
The relationship with the Irish and British governments is examined, as well as the effects of the major bombing campaigns and the 1981 hunger strikes. It also explains the radical shift in thinking which led to the IRA seeking a political way towards the goal of Irish unity rather than pursuing the entrenched 'Brits Out' policy at the point of a gun.
The background to the IRA ceasefire, and the many factors which contributed to its ending are looked at, as well as the prospects for a lasting peace in one of the world's most troubled arenas.
This is intended as an easy-to-read overview of the IRA and the Northern situation, accessible to both the tourist and the interested general reader.
From the play's effervescent beginnings in Algernon Moncrieff's London flat to its hilarious denouement in the drawing room of Jack Worthing's country manor in Hertfordshire, this comic masterpiece keeps audiences breathlessly anticipating a new bon mot or a fresh twist of plot moment to moment. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
The true history of Halloween
Why the Celtic cross is such a staple icon of Ireland
A history of the Irish Gaelic language
Where to find megalithic art in Ireland and why it’s there
A history of the Tailteann Games
Historical monarchies that ruled Ireland in ancient times
The world’s first suburban commuter railway
And many more
This delightful book is the perfect gift for anyone planning a visit to Ireland, with an interest in Irish history, or with a drop of Irish blood.
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
The Irish came to America in the eighteenth century, fleeing a homeland under foreign occupation and a caste system that regarded them as the lowest form of humanity. In the new country – a land of opportunity – they found a very different form of social hierarchy, one that was based on the color of a person’s skin. Noel Ignatiev’s 1995 book – the first published work of one of America’s leading and most controversial historians – tells the story of how the oppressed became the oppressors; how the new Irish immigrants achieved acceptance among an initially hostile population only by proving that they could be more brutal in their oppression of African Americans than the nativists. This is the story of How the Irish Became White.
"MERCURY is a heartfelt, witty and poignant script."- Billboard
"Messina's powerful one-man show focuses on the man rather than the music"-The New Yorker
"A look into the complex psyche of a rock and roll legend. It will rock you!"- Manhattan Spirit
"A compelling, well-written narrative...Shakespearean theatricality, sardonic humor and passionate intensity."- Backstage
"Diehard fans will enjoy learning more about Mercury's life...Messina's playwriting depicts his story and his struggle."- New York Blade
"Messina's one-man work shows the Freddie Mercury loved by millions but truly known by very few. Fantastic theater. The writing gives this show life."- Good Times Magazine
Award-winning journalist and author Michael Foley recounts the extraordinary story of Bloody Sunday in Croke Park and the 90 seconds of shooting that changed Ireland forever. In a deeply intimate portrait he tells for the first time the stories of those killed, the police and military personnel who were in Croke Park that day, and the families left shattered in its aftermath, all against the backdrop of a fierce conflict that stretched from the streets of Dublin and the hedgerows of Tipperary to the halls of Westminster.
This book is an attempt to redress the balance; to tell the civilian's story largely through their own recollections and in their own words.
Author Alan M. Wilson was on the front lines for the bloodbath that tore Northern Ireland apart from the late 1960s through the first years of the twenty-first century. Policing Ireland’s Twisted History reveals Wilson’s remarkable, true story of growing up in Belfast and serving in the Royal Ulster Constabulary as an inspector and as a member of an elite anti-terrorism unit. Wilson’s only goal was to help protect the innocent on both sides. Unfortunately, he became a target himself.
Brutally honest and unflinching, Wilson traces his experiences serving Ireland’s divided society for nearly ten years. From watching friends die to the tit-for-tat murders occurring on the streets to staring death in the eye more than once, Wilson reveals the deep, gut-wrenching search for the meaning of it all in the midst of the world’s longest-running terrorist situation.
A firsthand look at the Northern Ireland conflict, Policing Ireland’s Twisted History offers an eye-opening, intimate examination of this devastating struggle.
--Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization
In the nineteenth century, Ireland lost half of its population to famine, emigration to the United States and Canada, and the forced transportation of convicts to Australia. The forebears of Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List, were victims of that tragedy, and in The Great Shame Keneally has written an astonishing, monumental work that tells the full story of the Irish diaspora with the narrative grip and flair of a great novel. Based on unique research among little-known sources, this masterly book surveys eighty years of Irish history through the eyes of political prisoners--including Keneally's ancestors--who left Ireland in chains and eventually found glory, in one form or another, in Australia and America.
We meet William Smith O'Brien, leader of an uprising at the height of the Irish Famine, who rose from solitary confinement in Australia to become the Mandela of his age; Thomas Francis Meagher, whose escape from Australian captivity led to a glittering American career as an orator, a Union general, and governor of Montana; John Mitchel, who became a Confederate newspaper reporter, gave two of his sons to the Southern cause, was imprisoned with Jefferson Davis--and returned to Ireland to become mayor of Tipperary; and John Boyle O'Reilly, who fled a life sentence in Australia to become one of nineteenth-century America's leading literary lights.
Through the lives of many such men and women--famous and obscure, some heroes and some fools (most a little of both), all of them stubborn, acutely sensitive, and devastatingly charming--we become immersed in the Irish experience and its astonishing history. From Ireland to Canada and the United States to the bush towns of Australia, we are plunged into stories of tragedy, survival, and triumph. All are vividly portrayed in Keneally's spellbinding prose, as he reveals the enormous influence the exiled Irish have had on the English-speaking world.
"A terrible and personal saga, history delivered with a scholar's density of detail but with the individualizing power of a multi-talented novelist."
On 22 June 1940 France surrendered to Germany and the invasion of Britain seemed a very real possibility.
The Home Guard was formed to defend our villages and towns. Members came from reserved occupations, those who had failed their medicals, the elderly and the young, with miners and farmers training alongside former majors. Their weapons and ammunition were negligible at first, but slowly these amateur soldiers began to produce professional results.
In this unique book of reminiscenses about life on the home front, we see these men as they practise with pitchforks and fall into ditches after a pint or two of ale on the job. But we also see them learning how to fire grenades after a day studying engineering and undertaking night watches after exhausting factory shifts - knowing they could be the last stop between the enemy and their families and homes.
The first record of it is by the renowned 1st/2nd century Greek geographer, Ptolemy of Alexandria, who listed 2 capitals in Ireland, the only 2 in his day. One is Emain Macha near Armagh. The other was never definitively identified. He located it roughly in central Co. Galway where Turoe is. He named it REGIA E TERA (Te[mh]ra), the genuine early Celtic name for 'Capital at Turoe' (Cnoc Temhro). It had an acropolis and several necropoli, including those around Athenry cited in archaic texts in the Book of Leinster as ‘Releg na Rí lamh le Cruachain' where members of Turoe's Royal Household (Rígrád Temhróit) were interred, such as Queen Medb and her father, Eochaid Ferach Mhor whose palace, Rath Ferach Mhor, stood beside the Turoe Stone. Part of its sprawling urban-like complex flanking Turoe and Knocknadala (Assembly/Parliament Hill) is placed under preservation order by The National Monuments Department. Ptolemy renders Knocknadala (early Cnoc na nDál) as NAG-NA-TA[L], "the most illustrious 'city' (polis) in all Britannia, and most considerable in size, located in the west of Ireland." The sole reference to a dense population in early Irish literature points to this area. Ancient roadways, Slí Mhór and Slí Dála, converged on Turoe/Knocknadala. Rót na Ri, Royal Road of the Kings, ran from Turoe to the great seaport of Ath Cliath Magh Rí in Galway Bay. Dindshenchas texts state that "Ath Cliath Magh Rí was the chief seaport of Ireland through which Ireland has most often been invaded." A large segment of the Celtic invasion force landed there and advanced on Turoe, the core of its primary settlement area, as recorded in the Dindshenchas of Cnoc na Dála. Continental and British Belgic tribes are remembered in townland names within this vast Turoe oppidum complex.
It was suppressed by pseudo-historians who set the Irish race on the cutting edge of woeful ignorance about its Celtic roots as Armagh's monastic conmen concocted scheming stews of sheer political propaganda to win the patronage of powerful warlords. The enforced Irish exile of King Dagobert II shows the depth of involvement of Armagh-linked Abbots in Frankish politics through whom Pepin's new national Over Kingship of the Franks profoundly impacted the genesis of Ireland's High King-ship/Tara/Patrick myth. As E. Breathnach noted "The culmination of the creation of the medieval myth surrounding Tara ensured Tara would be regarded from the late 10th/11th century as the monument of the Kingship of Ireland. Tara's potency as a political symbol was evoked to the extent that by the 17th century it was depicted as one of the institutions on which the Kingship of Ireland had rested from time immemorial" (Edel Breathnach, 'Cultural Identity of Tara' in Discovery Programme Reports').
Rita Weiss, a noted needlework designer and bestselling author, has collected the finest, easily workable examples of Irish crochet from rare American thread company booklets of more than 50 years ago. Step-by-step instructions, stitch and hook charts, metric conversion charts, and 40 clear illustrations allow you to make magnificent accessories in these lovely patterns: My Wild Irish Rose, Popcorn, Rose of Sharon, Cinderella, More Than a Touch of Blarney, Beauty Rose, "Smilin' Through," Tournament of Roses, Wedding Ring, Dublin Beauty, Irish Springtime, and others. No skills beyond a familiarity with ordinary crochet technique are needed to create these beautiful patterns. In addition, expert tips on blocking and finishing make it certain that your final product will be nothing short of a work of art.
With this versatile, inexpensive guide, the beauty of Irish crochet — once thought too difficult to achieve by any but the most experienced needleworkers — is now within reach of even beginning crocheters.
This inexpensive volume presents authentic motifs and grounds used by the most skilled Irish needleworkers of the late nineteenth century. Collected and edited by one of the best-known experts of the time, Thérèse de Dillmont, it offers patterns, complete instructions, and/or detailed photographs for 30 motifs, 12 intricate grounds, and various traditional footings and borders.
Crocheters can use these versatile motifs of delicate raised flowers, leaves, sprays, and more to transform ordinary bedspreads, doilies, tablecloths, and clothing into works of art to be treasured for years. Make your own unique designs for new curtains, fancy collars, delicate cuffs, and so much more. Each of these motifs can be altered in shape, enlarged, diminished, or combined in new patterns — there's virtually no limit to the results you can produce.
Beginners should practice making individual motifs before attempting an entire piece of lace, and experienced crocheters may want to follow the directions exactly before experimenting to form new motifs. With practice, you can invent your own patterns just by employing these authentic, elemental motifs and their complementary grounds. A new introduction relates the history and technique involved in Irish crochet lace, and a conversion chart translates outdated terms.
Born in Britain late in the fourth century to an aristocratic family, Patrick was raised as a Roman citizen and a nominal Christian, destined for the privileged life of the nobility. But just before his sixteenth birthday, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and abducted to Ireland, where he spent six lonely years as a slave, tending sheep. Trapped in a foreign land, despondent, and at the mercy of his master, Patrick's ordeal turned him from an atheist to a true believer. After a vision in which God told him he would go home, Patrick escaped captivity and, following a perilous journey, returned to his astonished parents. Even more astonishing was his announcement that he intended to go back to Ireland and devote the rest of his life to ministering to the people who had once enslaved him.
One of Patrick's two surviving letters is a declaration written to jealous British bishops in defense of his activities in Ireland; the other is a stinging condemnation of a ruthless warlord who attacked and killed some of Patrick's Irish followers. Both are powerful statements remarkable for their passion and candor. Freeman includes them in full in new translations of his own.
Combining Patrick's own heartfelt account of his life as he revealed it himself with the turbulent history of the British Isles in the last years of the Roman Empire, St. Patrick of Ireland brilliantly brings to life the real Patrick, shorn of legend, and shows how he helped to change Irish history and culture.
In this volume, we see that New Labour's honeymoon is well and truly over. In addition to detailing the continuing tensions at the top, here we find graphic accounts of a variety of domestic crises: foot-and-mouth disease and protests over fuel prices which almost brought Britain to a halt. Volume Three includes Peter Mandelson's second resignation, the agonies of the Millennium Dome, and the most unexpected slow-handclapping in memory, when the Women's Institute turned against Tony Blair. Yet despite all the problems - not least the most accident-prone manifesto launch in history, complete with deputy prime minister John Prescott punching a voter - Labour won a second successive landslide election victory. That triumph is intimately recorded here, alongside the high points of this period, such as devolution to Northern Ireland and the fall of Milosevic.