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Medieval Castles of Ireland Hardcover – February 24, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press; 2nd edition (February 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851157882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851157887
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In all, this book is a major contribution to the study of Irish castles, and should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in medieval Ireland... New castles have been identified over the course of this work and more information abnout known ones gathered. Sweetman excellently weaves all this new fieldwork and, also, the results of recent excavations of castles, into this volume. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY Can be regarded as the definitive and indispensable work on the subject, the result of over 30 years of excavation, survey and involvement with these numerous and varied structures. A satisfying and eminently readable book. CASEMATE

About the Author

DAVID SWEETMAN, MA, FSA, MRIA was chief archaeologist in Duchas (formerly the Office of Public Works). He was general editor of the County Archaeological Inventory Series and has been widely published with many ground-breaking archaeological excavation reports to his credit. He is a member of many academic bodies and learned societies, both in Ireland and abroad. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James P. Scallon on February 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Based on the publisher's synopsis, one would expect this book to be elucidating, interesting, and entertaining. It is nothing of the sort. While the descriptions of the multitude of Irish castles are organized by structural type and era (i.e. ringworks, stone fortresses, hall houses, etc.), the text within each chapter comes across as almost random. I struggled through the first two chapters twice each, frustrated with nearly every page. The chapters I finished did not provide overviews that invite the reader onward. The author assumes that the reader is fimiliar with technical terms without defining them well or at all. The reader must often refer to the glossary for definitions, yet many technical terms are not included in the glossary. The second chapter on early medieval stone fortresses addresses a number of noteworthy fortifications. However, the chapter is organized by castle features rather than the castles themselves, so one must read in turn about the siting of all the fortresses, then their various perimeter walls, then their keeps and donjons. The illustrations are scattered throughout the chapter rather than being aligned with the text. One must pour over the chapter to try to glean points of interest, recall (or highlight as I did) features of each castle, and out of this mental stew put together a picture of any particular location. The book seems to have been prepared as a series of lectures or a technical paper which someone decided to sell to the general public without editing it to suit its audience. There are certainly other books on the market on the same subject that will hook the reader's interest much more successfully. Having struggled through a good portion of this book, I would certainly not recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erron Silverstein on December 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Medieval Castles of Ireland is a splendidly-illustrated little gem of a book, filled with BW and color photographs as well as elevations and plans of slected castles. Additionally, it covers the transformation from Medieval fortress to fortified tower houses. This is a book you spend an afternoon engrossed in, rather than a serious architectural survey to explain Medieval fortifications. It focuses much more attention to the buildings and their era rather than the personalities behind them. I recommend this book for anybody who is traveling to Ireland, Medieval warfare/castle enthusiasts and architects.
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By Tom O'neill on June 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There has been quite a bit written about Castles in Ireland. As we discovered when we started to research the history of a tower house castle we are preparing to conserve/restore, the literature varies in value. This book stands out. It provides a great breadth and depth of information while remaining accessible throughout. It is as readable by the novice as by the expert. It achieves this through clear writing, good referencing and excellent illustration and layout.
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Format: Hardcover
A book (2000 edition) well worthwhile having if you are interested in Irish castles and related structures going back to earthworks. I found it detailed, comprehensive, interesting and readable, but not a lavish coffee-table style volume with elaborate, full-page color photographs. The information is divided into fortified structures by category (not every defensive building is a castle). There are numerous photos (mainly in black and white, but with some color plates inserted) and building plans together with several sketches, drawings and sections. I regret that the publisher did not include maps of Ireland, showing the location of the many buildings conscientiously described, so that one could use the book as a reference if touring Ireland by car.
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