Thames & Hudson, £14.95
Ireland is undoubtedly full of history – a fact made abundantly clear in Turtle Bunbury’s new book, which sets out to explore some of the less well-known aspects of Ireland’s past through a series of fascinating and engaging tales. The topics covered range from broad overviews of the lives of Mesolithic communities, via legends of Viking invaders, to the story of the German children brought to Ireland after WWII under ‘Operation Shamrock’.
This accessible volume, beautifully illustrated with woodcut-style drawings, does not attempt to offer a comprehensive account of the history and prehistory of Ireland, but rather selects 36 stories that offer an insight into different points in time. As a result, a greater degree of detail would be welcome in some instances, but the people, places, and events chosen succeed in exemplifying several important key themes. These include Ireland’s history of connectivity and isolation, the struggles for power and changing belief systems, and the importance of the landscape as a factor that both shaped and was shaped by the island’s past.