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A very interesting book with lots of diagrams to show the different genealogies. This is a political book more than anything but it does a great job of explaining the way things were in the period between the fifth century CE and just before the Vikings came. This isn't about art or literature but rather about how the society of those times worked. The picture is complicated but then that is Ireland for you!
A good basice primer for the history of Ireland from the early historic period to the time of the vikings. It gives a general political history of each of the regions and also a socio-economic overview of Ireland as a whole. The intricacies of the clan relations and the rise and fall of different families can be a little confusing and MacNiocaill tries to lay it out as simply as possible.