As he explains in the preface to this book, Mark Bence-Jones' goal is to provide a description of 'every Irish country house . . . whether still standing, or ruinous, or long demolished.' This he does, with brief summaries of their location (by city and county), origins, architecture, and ownership. The entries themselves make for interesting reading, as Bence-Jones inserts interesting details about the houses and the families who owned them. The listings themselves are alphabetically arranged by the name of the house, and are supplemented with an introduction providing a brief history of Irish country houses and a glossary of architectural terms.
If there is a problem with the book, it is with its index. While it allows the reader to look up information by architect, family, and historical personages associated with the house, it does not allow readers to look up houses by geographic loation or architectural style. This tends to limit its utility in some respects but does not dimish its overall value as a guide to its subject, one that nobody interested in the topic should do without.