From Library Journal
Completing the trilogy that includes Great Irish Houses and Castles (LJ 10/15/92) and Dublin: A Grand Tour (coauthored with Desmond Guiness, Oxford Univ., 1994), this current work by photographer O'Brien includes over 300 stunning color photographs of Ireland's ancient monuments: forts, tombs, crosses, churches, and castles. The photographs alone would make for a worthy travel book, but Harbison, a renowned archaeologist and former magazine editor, offers a scholarly analysis of the pictured sites and detailed background information on the history, architecture, and archaeology of Ireland. The book's logical arrangement (by time period and then by type of monument), thorough index, and map of sites illustrated make it easy to use. With a reasonable price and appeal to both general and specialized audiences, the work is recommended for public and academic libraries.?Kathleen Shanahan, American Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
One of Ireland's enchantments is its ruins, dating back thousands of years. This verdant album pushes the charm button for all it's worth with flattering photography, but the supporting text is quite sturdy on its own. O'Brien and Harbison, both prolific heavyweights in the cultural preservation community, combine archaeological evidence with their knowledge of Irish legends and annals to render an informative description of hundreds of sites. Beginning with a few megalithic tombs and forts, the ruins proliferate with the advent of St. Patrick, whose evangelistic success (if it was his alone, which the authors doubt) led to the Emerald Isle being covered by monasteries, churches, and that mossy relic, the Celtic cross. After an excursion round that other uniquely Irish symbol, the round towers, the authors bring their tour to the twelfth century, when larger churches and Norman castles sprang up, and they conclude with a survey of priories built by religious orders in the 1400s. A beautiful glimpse at the richness of Ireland's ruined architecture. Gilbert Taylor