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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2011
Have seen all the episodes and come to much the same conclusion as the other reviewer; there is balance in the comments, a willingness to lay some painful ghosts, to objectively evaluate the English/British involvement and also to bring in some of the less heroic aspects of Irish actions, not least of all against each other. This series should form part of any British person's education about our nearest neighbour, and if it makes the English/British more aware of the impact they have had in Ireland, both positive and negative, it will have served its purpose well. One of the most heartwarming moments is in the first episode, when FK interviews his old History teacher, who is prepared to challenge his students' Irish conventions about Edward Carson and make them think about identities, not just one identity. If the Irish are prepared to rethink their national preconceptions, it behoves the English/British to do likewise. The photography is superb and the music not too intrusive. Well worth buying.
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on 5 June 2011
This is a beautifully produced, well-balanced series and Fergal Keane does a fine job explaining Ireland's difficult and complicated history. Particularly I found the story of Ireland's 800 years of problems with the English, and England's 800 years of problems with the Irish, to be very illuminating. There's a lot to be learned here and it is quite sobering to hear how seemingly simple decisions by leaders at key moments in history have led to years of grief, struggle and brutality. Apparently, Keane had the idea for the series from watching the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. He had asked himself at the time where this had all come from and whether this was to be the beginning of the resolution of hundreds of years of conflict. Wherever this leads, I think Ireland's history is important in helping us inform our understanding of the present.
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on 28 December 2011
There are some good things in this series, but it's worrying that a "re-look" at Irish history is so appallingly inadequate when it comes to the Norman invasion.

The invading Normans are almost immediately identified as "English" and then we have regular mentions of the Irish/English conflict. But those who invaded Ireland in 1169 were not only not English'; they were not even acting on behalf of England. The King of England to whom the Irish lords submitted a few years later was French, and French dominance of England lasted for many years. So much for the "800 years of oppression" nonsense.

This conflation of the early invaders of Ireland with the English derives from past Irish tendencies to exaggerate the duration of "English" oppression and from continuing English reluctance to recognise that England was subject to the Normans/French for centuries. (The most ludicrous example of the latter was the Tory MP some years ago who said that Richard the Lionheart was an English hero. He was clearly not aware that Richard Coeur de Lion could not speak English.)

In general, these popularising series need to be watched with scepticism.
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on 30 June 2011
I agree entirely with the comments of the other two reviewers. My two young teenage children and I watched the entire series and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm Irish (an emmigrant of the 1980s just like FK) and my children have been educated in the UK where Irish history sadly is ignored in the curriculum up to GCSE. This series filled that void in a wonderfully balanced manner. My children have visited many of the historical sites in the series and know all that I could teach them about the historical events attached to such sites. But the beauty of this series is that it lives up to its title. Its the "story" of Ireland and all the separate historical events I told them about over the years, FK has now placed in the appropriate chapters of that book. Now they fully comprehend those isolated facts and see the bigger picture. Fergal's series reminds me of my primary school history lessons, chronological (starting with the Stone Age as an 8 year old and ending with Lemass's policies as a 12 year old -learning brief facts about key events along the way) and then in the complex years from the 1400s to the present day delving into those facts a bit more deeply - just as we did with our secondary school history curriculum. In addition, just like our primary and secondary school history books did, he weaves in all the international events of the same time period so that the viewer is aware how entwined global historical events are on national historical events. The difference with this series and what we learned at school is the balance which his commentary and interviews with respected academics from both sides of the pond bring to the story. The BBC has created a masterpiece. This series will be used extensively in Irish schools without a shadow of doubt. What a pity that it is unlikely to be seen in schools on the mainland except by those taking History at A Level.The Story of Ireland [DVD]
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on 20 February 2013
As a relatively recent convert to the Emerald Isle, I found the 5 episodes very informative and helped to improve my knowledge of Ireland. And surely anything that educates the British to some of the 'not very nice' things that we did to this nation should be encouraged? (Not that it is purely about knocking the Brits - far from it).
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on 24 October 2015
A very interesting story on a clearly way about the Esmerald Island from the Meadival till our Times. Beautiful photographs and scenes of Ireland and of course, the told Story about the problems between the Celtic people and the British establishment, about their religion, their efforts for emigrating to America, (New England) for having a better live there, after the Potato Famine during the !9 ths! also the Uprising of 1916!. and coming to a Republic of Ireland. And don't forget the problems in Ulster last time.
Like all the BBC Series, very imposing! Thank You.
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on 13 November 2015
This was purchased for my husband. He had seen part of this sometime back and wanted to see the rest. He hasn't seen it as yet, as the item in question was bought for his birthday. What he did see awhile back was very interesting to him, so I'm going to assume he would like this very much.
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on 3 May 2015
This is a very interesting and informative documentary on the history of Ireland. It explained to me the source of the hostilities between England and Ireland which, as a South African, I could never understand. It is very complicated and one wonders whether there could ever be a lasting solution to the issues. I will have to watch these DVDs a few times to fully understand the relationship between England and Ireland.
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on 12 September 2012
This was really refreshing to watch..as it was seemingly very objective and scholarly. (not the biased history sometimes get over history of certain regions). The narrator seemed to be "non- ego-centric"..which was also refreshing..and was actually a nice choice. He didnt try to stand out in the way of the subject and kept a low profile..but still was good and nice to listen to.
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on 15 September 2011
An excellent programme. Very well written and presented. A fascinating story of Ireland. It is great demand from friends to borrow it. Fergal Keene is a first class communicator.
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