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on 20 February 2013
Well researched, unbelievably good, get it now , there's nohting like it out there. Should be in every library and home.
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on 17 May 2014
Lots of information, but too much uncertainty and possibilities. By half way, I was skimming over the paragraphs and then pages eager to find some worthwhile sections.
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on 4 June 2013
Very clear, with lots of estra information from different disciplines by an expert in the field..
Perhaps better without the over-general introduction.
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on 23 November 2016
Excellent book, very good read
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on 21 July 2014
I was brought up in Ireland on the mythology of Irish nationalism. The Irish Catholics were supposed to be a branch of the 'Celtic' race; they were supposed to own the soil of Ireland; they were supposed to have been conquered by the 'Anglo-Saxon' race; they were supposed to have fought against their 'oppressors' for several hundred years until they were ultimately successful. None of this is true.

But this book focusses on the origins of the population which now inhabits Ireland. The book is basically an archaeological study of Ireland using the latest techniques. It is made clear that the introduction of a variant of the Celtic language was comparatively late, perhaps as late as the first century BC, and that there are no indications regarding who introduced it. There are no signs of a massive invasion wiping out an earlier population.
The author at each stage discusses the various theories, and if he appears at times inconclusive that is because there is no conclusive evidence.

Altogether and admirable introduction to the archaeology of ancient Ireland. The author taught Prehistoric Archaeology at The Queen's University of Belfast.
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on 4 March 2013
It is hard to credit that so much has been discovered about our homeland's ancient origins and the migrations of land masses.
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on 27 May 2016
good
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on 20 December 2014
I skipped the first couple of chapters but useful to know that Ireland was once the other side of the Atlantic.

After that it was really interesting. However, the bit I take issue with is the dismissal of Irish mythology. Ireland has a rich and vivid mythological cycle, second only to the Greeks and the Hebrews.

Like all archaeologists the author views myth as a dangerous distraction rather than a potential window into the past. On the other hand, I can't see why the study of ancient myth is not considered as important as the study of ancient language. Surely myths change, develop and distort in similar ways to language and it, therefore, must be possible to put a chronology on them.

It was immensely important for neolithic peoples to know where they came from. Origins of individuals and tribes served to justify ownership of land and the right to cultivate it. These would have been serious documents of their day, although committed to memory and verse rather than paper. Consequently, myth is just as important to anyone in the present who is trying to understand the past as it would have been to early neolithic farmers who first conceived them.

As it happens, the early Irish claimed ancestry from the Iberians. Archaeologists have discarded this as unlikely until recently when it was confirmed by genetics. Sadly, the author dismisses this revelation stating, they only made this claim in medieval times when they were influenced by Spanish clergymen.

In general, the author cherry picks snippets of Irish myth to illustrate his point that he sees it as nothing more than gobbledegook. It's a shame he didn't spend more time analyzing these fascinating stories and try to interpret them for his readers. After all they were created by the people we are trying to understand, even if they have been distorted by time.
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