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The Princes of Ireland (The Dublin Saga #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,989 Ratings  ·  750 Reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of London and Sarum -- a magnificent epic about love and war, family life and political intrigue in Ireland over the course of seventeen centuries. Like the novels of James Michener, The Princes of Ireland brilliantly interweaves engrossing fiction and well-researched fact to capture the essence of a place.

Edward Rutherfurd has i
Kindle Edition, 800 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published December 16th 2003)
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Jun 19, 2007 Jehan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so I have to preface this review by admiting that I did my studies in Irish history so I'm bound to be a bit biased. Having said that, reading this book was like reviewing years worth of notes but compressed in an extremely enjoyable one thousand pages (ok, maybe compressed isn't the right word).

Reaching back to Celtic times, Rutherford traces the beginnings of familys that exist today, weaving his stories from generation to generation. As he moves from one family to another, his characters
Paul Clayton
Aug 17, 2010 Paul Clayton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical novels can be simply human dramas set in historical times, or they can be human dramas woven into historical events, to bring those events to life. We can learn a great deal from the latter, and I feel like I did with Edward Rutherfurd’s The Princes of Ireland. As an American with 100 percent Irish ancestry (McLaughlin) on my mother’s side, and, probably 100 percent English, or mixed English/Irish ancestry on my father’s side (Clayton), I have often wondered about the long running and ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This was a wonderful fictional representation of early Irish history. It begins in early pre-Christian Celtic Ireland during the time of the fierce High Kings of Tara with their Druid gods to the mid 1500's and the time of Henry the VIII. It has been described as

"A magnificent epic about love and war, family life and political intrigue in Ireland over the course of seventeen centuries. The Princes of Ireland brilliantly interweaves engrossing fiction and well-researched fact to capture
Jun 12, 2007 Sammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-the-good
Let me just start off with saying that you need to be awake and alert when reading this book. There are many times that the story is full of action and plot, thus making it very engaging. But there are just as equal an amount of times when it dives into ancient politics and slows to a crawl where you begin to struggle to keep your eyes open. The book is still very enjoyable though.

It does get confusing, because while there are times when Rutherfurd realizes the reader may not be familiar with th
After posting a poll about whether I should finish the book, I thought about the pros and ons of each side. TThe advice I got was very similar to what I was thinking. The first half of it had interested and engaged me--maybe I would get interested again. I don't like to spend $15 on a book and then not finish it. At the same time, though, I'd struggled through 100 pages and was hopelessly bored. I didn't think I'd want to pick up the book again, not later, not no how.

Since I did read almost all
Jun 10, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edward Rutherford has proved with such novels as Russka , Sarum , London and The Forest , that he is a great historical novelist in the mould of James Michener.
In this wseeping saga of Ireland , we are taken from the eloping and flight of the striking Deirdre and her lover , Conall in 430 to the destruction of Ireland's ancient monastic heirlooms , during the Reformation , in 1537.

Rutherford traces the fortunes and interactions of several Irish families down the centuries-the O 'Byrnes , the Har
Jul 28, 2013 Quincy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book just before heading out on a vacation to Ireland. This book was so good that the trip itself would not have been as fulfilling without it. Everytime a character went to a specific area, our trip took us there the very next day. I was able to have a background for almost every tour we took and every area we visited. Although many of the characters were completely fictional, their interactions with historical events and historical characters allowed me to see what it may have ...more
Feb 10, 2009 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction, historical
Very interesting take on Irish history from the viewpoint of a few fictional families through the years. I felt it was a bit slow and drawn out in some places, but the interactions and intertwining between the families we're watching through the years and how they react to what are now major historical people and events are incredibly interesting to read and imagine.
Carrie Kellenberger
It was Morgan Llywelyn's tale of Cuchulain in Red Branch and Brian Boru in Lion of Ireland that fueled my love for historical fiction. Her stories of mythical heroes, druids, and brave kings became an obsession for me in high school. My interest in the history of Ireland, Scotland and England has never waned over the years.

The Princes of Ireland begins in ancient Celtic times and moves through 11 centuries of Irish history. Edward Rutherfurd's stories are woven together from families that existe
Karen maslen
Jan 29, 2012 Karen maslen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the internationally bestselling author of London and Sarum -- a magnificent epic about love and war, family life and political intrigue in Ireland over the course of seventeen centuries. Like the novels of James Michener, The Princes of Ireland brilliantly interweaves engrossing fiction and well-researched fact to capture the essence of a place.

Edward Rutherfurd has introduced millions of readers to the human dramas that are the lifeblood of history. From his first bestseller, Sarum, to the
Bart Breen
May 23, 2012 Bart Breen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Formulaic but not bad

This is my first read of Edward Rutherford and based on several other reviews of this work, it appears that measured against the standard of his previous work, this one is perhaps not as powerful.

Not having the benefit of those previous reads, I come at this perhaps from a different point of view.

As an amateur historian and genealogist, I came to this work expecting it to give some context and progression toward a better understanding of the history of Ireland and perhaps so
Jacquie South
Aug 20, 2011 Jacquie South rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was nowhere near as good as Sarum or London, though it was still enjoyable and educational. While Sarum and London really described history so vividly through the stories of the characters, this book relied a lot more on pages and pages of pure historical description and facts, which definately got tedious at times. What was so wonderful about Sarum and London was the way he made history come to life through his characters, the way their fortunes rose and fell through the ages, and the way ...more
Kelley Ross
All I can say after finishing this book is... wow, was that worth it.

The Princes of Ireland is a hefty book, but inside its covers is basically the author's braindump of anything and everything to do with Irish history. Through the use of generational story telling, we as readers experience how various things influenced Ireland. The story is woven together so tightly that Rutherford is able to say a name 200 pages after that particular character's part in the story has ended, and it will still
Nov 23, 2007 "Aubri"/Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs
I enjoy Rutherfurd's stories of European cities because you get the history of the city with a rich saga of interesting characters. These books, I find, are very easy reads despite their tome-like appearance and weighty subject matter - complex political intrigues and long-forgotten mysteries are made clear and understandable. This first volume covers Ireland - and more specifically Dublin - from ancient times to when the English finally get a foothold (stranglehold?!) on the island. The second ...more
Jul 02, 2014 Davytron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry, I gave up on this one. Dear lord it goes on forever.

I was a bit disappointed that until the point where I stopped, there were no explicitly homosexual characters. Not a one in eleven centuries, y'all. Like, the single mention of it was when a monk character was being cruised by some of the other "sinful monks" who were "going down a dark path." Please! Using homo monks as a means of emphasizing how noble and chaste a character is is SO 1960s and just sick.

Otherwise, if you want to r
Donna LaValley
At 770 pages, this episodic collection of tales from Irish history covers a lot of ground. It begins in 430 AD and ends approximately 1540. In each section, the author creates memorable family groups with a name (Fergus, MacGowan, Harold, Walsh, Doyle, Tidy) typical of the times, and shows how events affected them, and what part they may have played. A family’s physical traits follow the generations, such as green eyes, red hair, dark hair and eyes, and a certain kind of stare.

There are maps, w
May 20, 2007 Letitia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Atrocious saga that never allows the reader opportunity to connect with any of the characters before leaping another century to yet another boring epoque, in which the truly adventurous, exciting bits are merely dryly narrated as a history text. If I wanted to read a text book, I would! Give me a thrilling novel, for goodness' sake!
Susan Ozmore
"The Princes of Ireland" is part one of two of The Dublin Saga and covers the development of Ireland from its earliest myths and legends up to the reign of Henry VIII of England. There is a brief section at the end where he explains what is historical and what is not; the events and some major characters as well as family names are historical; his individual story characters are not. Not being familiar with the early history of Ireland I had no way to judge for myself how accurate it was.

In the
Thom Swennes
Feb 11, 2014 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
What constitutes an international best seller? This is a question I have often asked myself as I pick up yet another book with these words displayed boldly on its cover. One million, ten million… what is the magic number that constitutes such high praise? I don’t know but this book does. Edward Rutherfurd is the pseudonym for Francis Edward Wintle (why someone would ever hide such a great talent behind an alias I don’t know) but that he has a phenomenal ability, there is no doubt. This is the se ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Marlet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It's the second book I read on Ireland. And I'm beginning to fall deeply in love with the country, its culture, and most of all its history.

I think, it's my first historical fiction and I'm still in awe on how the author magnificently stitched scenes of everyday life by ordinary people with history.

It's only, and only, sheer hard work.

The book begins with ancient Ireland where people still believe in old gods. From the first chapter, the author already made readers to understand how faithful the
Manu Prasad
Aug 23, 2014 Manu Prasad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
An epic novel that’s only one part of Rutherford’s Ireland saga. Starting in AD 430 and ending in AD1533, this book traces the story of Ireland using Dublin as a representative. From Dubh Linn to Dyflin to Dublin.

Through the interwoven stories of six fictional Irish families, we see the transformation of Ireland from the land of druids and Celtic High Kings up to the reign of Henry VIII. The fortunes of these families rise and fall during the Viking invasions, the campaign of Brian Boru, the Eng
Thom Swennes
The author readily admits that he mixes fictitious characters with those historical figures that may or may not have existed. This is how a good historical novel should tell its story. Anybody familiar with Edward Rutherfurds work will know that his stories are well researched and beautifully told. With James Michener as a driving influence this story starts at the beginning and keeps you hooked to the very end. Dublin tells the story of a proud, resilient and determined people on a rollercoaste ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was ok. It tells the stories of several Irish families over the course of many generations. The book takes place in the same location of Dublin, tracing the stories through the birth of Celtic Christianity, Viking invasions, English conquering, etc. I loved the historical details--and I especially loved all the references to the area of Dublin, which I've visited. But the book did not have enough development of characters to really hold my attention. His stories of each generation were ...more
Sara W
I stopped reading this book in Chapter 7 because I just couldn't take it anymore - it was mostly dull stories with some interesting tidbits thrown in every once in a while.

The beginning of this novel was alright. The best parts of the book for me were the descriptions about that time period in general (the Romans leaving Britain, the Christians slowly making their way over, the druids, etc.). I never really cared for any of the characters. They all seemed pretty flat to me.

This is a problem I h
Sheryl Loomis
Aug 26, 2015 Sheryl Loomis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very engrossed in this book when I read it last year. I especially liked the aspect of the family traits following from one generation to another. In one generation a character born with certain personality traits would be positive and the next wave, with the same basic trait, would be malevolent. The historical aspects of this "sweeping" novel were delightful. I'm no expert, but it felt genuine and richly described to me. I so want to go to Ireland some fine day.
Dublin: Foundation (2004) (also known in North America as The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga or sometimes simply Dublin) is a novel by Edward Rutherfurd first published in 2004 by Century Hutchinson and then by Seal Books and Doubleday Canada. It is a work of historical fiction and centers around a number of families and their descendants in and around the area of Ireland that is now Dublin. It begins in AD 430 with the love affair of a prince (Conall) and the daughter of an Irish chief (De ...more
Deborah Laforet
I learned a lot about Ireland and it's history through interesting characters. It was difficult to leave behind characters I liked as the narrative moved onto to new generations, but it also meant leaving behind a few characters that I didn't like so well.
Jun 11, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ireland
How do you write a single volume describing 1100 years of Irish history without turning it into an insufferably dry textbook? Rutherford devises the solution: a compelling multi- generational epic featuring realistic, fictional characters grounded in the particulars of actual historical events. Some of the plot devices to remind the reader of the familial ties across generations are a little too obvious (watch the drinking skull and green eyes as they migrate across time), but overall the work i ...more
May 30, 2010 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I finally finished listening to this book and I must say that it was difficult for me to focus on it from start to finish...Im not sure if it was just the length of it...the large number of characters....or the gaps in time between the different chapters...I honestly think I would have gotten more out of this book if I would have listened to a section and then took a break and treated it as 3 or four separate books....the beginning story and the end story kept me but I have to admit that the mid ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this was a good book, although a bit difficult. The book takes place over 1100 years. Each chapter follows a different generation and their struggles during the time of the druids, the vikings, Irish high Kings and the English take-over. The book ends during the reign of King Henry VIII and the Catholic Irish forced to comply with the Protestant church. Because of this layout, there are a couple of chapters that I did not enjoy, and some that took me forever to read.
There are a few par
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Francis Edward Wintle, best known under his pen name Edward Rutherfurd, was born in the cathedral city of Salisbury. Educated locally, and at the universities of Cambridge, and Stanford, California, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood h ...more
More about Edward Rutherfurd...

Other Books in the Series

The Dublin Saga (2 books)
  • The Rebels of Ireland (The Dublin Saga, #2)

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“The English Church, it was claimed, was Catholicism purified and reformed. And what was the nature of this reform? The truth was that nobody, least of all Henry himself, had much idea.” 2 likes
“That was the trouble with being too highly born, Finbarr considered. The gods paid too much attention to you. It was ever thus in the Celtic world. Ravens would fly over the house to announce the death of a clan chief, swans would desert the lake. A king’s bad judgement could affect the weather. And if you were a prince, the druids made prophesies about you from before the day you were born; and after that, there was no escape.” 1 likes
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