The editors of this volume were fortunate, for there is a wealth of studies available on this subject which is often not true with regard to other topics. The Military History Society of Ireland has published The Irish Sword since 1949. The book is a substantial one of over 500 closely packed pages. It consists of 19 chapters each written by an expert in each period. As usual with this kind of work the beginnings and ends of chapters do not dovetail with each other, but this is a minor defect.
The book is essentially a military history of Ireland, focussed on arms and warriors, but it must also includes battles and wars. So, in effect it forms a largely complete political history of Ireland. This is the more satisfactory as it is not written with any political bias.One of the editors is from Northern Ireland the other from Southern Ireland
Of particular interest is Katherine Simms description of Irish kerne or footsoldier in the Middle Ages. As in other countries little distinction was made between foot soldier and bandit for they seem to have swapped roles as occasion demanded.They existed in every age up to the beginning of the 18th century.
Some may be more interested in Irish military exploits in the 20th century. Of interest is the account of the Free State army after 1921. It existed but was badly funded, and lacked proper equipment and training. All through the war it remained short of men and equipment while many Irishmen rushed to join the real army of Britain. Of equal interest is the parallel chapter on Irishmen in the British Army. (The army was British while the navy and Air Force were Royal; the reason seems to be that the king had several armies at his disposal, British, Hanoverian, etc. The army was therefore that of the people of Britain after 1707.)This chapter would not be complete without an account of the Provisional IRA. The Irish contribution to both world wars are described.Ireland was notable for the number of top generals it produced.
There a numerous illustrations, over a hundred. The best and most evocative is on the jacket cover, It is part of Lady Butler's famous picture 'Listed for the [Connaught] Rangers', showing an Irishman, a red coated recruit sergeant and a drummer boy in a Kerry glen.Lady Butler was married to an Irish general.
The book is fully referenced, has a large bibliography, and a comprehensive index. Buy.