Review by Choice Review
This marvelous first book from the Irish Discovery Programme's Medieval Rural Settlement Project is filled with informative maps and striking photographs. Marlow (history, Carlow College-Ireland) and archaeologist Potterton, both associated with the Discovery Programme, successfully synthesize existing archaeological and documentary findings, rather than break new ground. Anyone wishing to learn about the hinterland around Dublin from 1170 to 1600 should begin with this work. There are sections on land ownership, fortifications, manors, church buildings, agriculture, woodlands, water resources, mills, metals, pottery trade, and much more. The area, which includes all of Dublin County and large parts of Kildare, Meath, and Wicklow, boasted almost 300 churches and chapels, most with a nearby manor utilizing the area's fine soil. Welsh and English peasants flooded in, but ancient boundaries and parishes endured. Thirteenth-century boom times saw Dublin area oak exported to build Salisbury Cathedral, but dire times followed in the 14th century. It is hard to quibble with this book's feast of information and insight, but archaeological artifacts and local history do seem somewhat underrepresented. More surprisingly, this mammoth study lacks an index of subjects. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Scholars and researchers. E. J. Kealey College of the Holy Cross
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.