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The Story of Ireland

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  306 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
In this groundbreaking history of Ireland, Neil Hegarty presents a fresh perspective on Ireland's past. Comprehensive and engaging, "The Story of Ireland "is an eye-opening account of a nation that has long been shaped by forces beyond its coasts. "The Story of Ireland" re-examines Irish history, challenging the accepted stories and long-held myths associated with Ireland. ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by BBC Books (first published February 3rd 2011)
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Sean E.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for three reasons: because I like history, we were on our second mission there, and because I have deep roots there on my dad's side.
Ireland's history is very violent, religious and rich culturally and intillectually at the same time. From the Gaelic to the Norse to the English, the author shows that Ireland was part of a wider history. European upheaval and religious forces, combined with economic factors shaped the Island over the centuries.
And what an amazing story it is. J
Regina Lindsey
Going into the this read I knew very little of Ireland's history outside of it's context within the Tudor dynasty of Great Britain. I've never traveled anywhere with such little knowledge of a location's history. So, since we are going this summer I have a list of books to enhance my knowledge a bit. This was the perfect book with which to start this journey, covering the time from 5th century AD to present day Ireland in 342 pages in an engaging and readable writing style. Hegarty does an excel ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I read this book to learn about my ancestors and to understand the history of Ireland. It took me awhile because I read it carefully and took notes until I understood, but it was well worth it. The author tells the story clearly and well. I felt I understood Ireland better, especially the problems in Northern Ireland.
Kevin Leung
Generally engaging book covering 1500 years of Irish history that had a lot more conflict than I would have guessed. Hegarty does include maps at the end of chapters, so if you, like me, have no sense for Irish geography, that is very helpful for context. The book drags towards the end, but the last century happens to be the most relevant now, so it is worth getting through.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-theme
This was a great overview of Irish history that helped me understand what life in Ireland was like when my great-grandparents--and many others--decided to come to America,
Alex Kennedy
I read this short history in connection with my trip to Ireland with Liz for our 20th anniversary celebration. It offered a general overview to the present day, and gave helpful insights for a foreigner like myself.
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only is a very well written book that takes you through all the milestones of Ireland's history but it also includes amazing appendices such as a Timeline - which I found very useful while reading - and recommended bibliography.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent overview of Irish history. Highly readable and exciting. Definitely a good introduction to the subject.
Samantha Worden
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Story of Ireland: A History of the Irish People a book written by Neil Hegarty, was published in 2012. Neil Hegarty was born in Derry Ireland, he has a PHD from Trinity College in Dublin, on English literature. Hegarty writes an interesting and enlightening book all on Irish History, through Irish eyes. The Story of Ireland: A History of the Irish People is a great introduction to Ireland’s story, by using vivid language, the author creates a mental image for readers, but spends much time fo ...more
Andy Regan
For a long time I'd wanted to read a thorough history of Ireland so was determined to complete the book. Unfortunately much of it was heavy going and felt like walking through treacle. The problem perhaps, is that by trying to encompass such a wide period, it's hard to bring the central characters to life and take sufficient interest in their actions. This is less apparent in the well-worn developments of the past century or so but even then events are covered at breakneck speed.
Braian Lugo
quite good to have an overview of the Irish history but it's not the "revision" of the Irish History they promise.
Jean Kelly
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a very readable story of the long and at times complex story of Ireland.
An episodic history of Ireland, beginning with a brief prologue about pre-Christian Ireland, then covering:
1. The coming of Christianity to Ireland, which was then sent back into mainland Europe as learning was lost with the “Dark Ages” (although interesting, the biography of Columbanus in Europe felt out of place).
2. A little about the Irish kingdoms themselves. Perhaps there is little evidence of these, but other than Dal Riata (Scottish Isles and north Irish kingdom) and what became Ulster,
David Groves
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was wary of this history at the outset, since it was commissioned in conjunction with a television documentary. However, the author really knows his stuff. He has provided a full portrait of the triumphs and travails of the Irish over the past 3,000 years, although primarily over the past 2,000.

I find it a bit tedious for history books to provide primarily a recounting of wars and kings, but unfortunately, that's what most histories do. I wish they'd provide a better summary of what everyday l
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently this book is a companion to a TV series by the same name. I would really like to see that series, if it's half as descriptive as this book it should be pretty good. But this book was well done, considering the amount of history that was crammed into a little over three hundred pages.

The Story of Ireland takes the reader through Ireland's history back to when the Christian religion first came into the country (and the story of St. Patrick) to modern times detailing the bombings and civ
Amy Wilson
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Story of Ireland, written by Neil Hegarty published by St. Martin’s Press on March 13th 2012. Hegarty was born in Derry Ireland and received a PHD in English literature from Trinity College in Dublin. In The story of Ireland Hegarty presents us with an analyst of the historical content which reflex how the nation and the people of Ireland were created. From the first farmers to financial economics every event that occurred in Ireland made the colonization and creation of Identity of the Iris ...more
Did you know the name of the first King of Ireland was Olaf?
Interesting book....!
Bob Price
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ireland....can you ever really know it?

the Story of Ireland is fast paced overview of the history of Ireland from prehistoric times to the modern day.

Neil Hegarty does the world a favor by presenting this overview in an easy to read fashion and one that really does feel like you are reading a story. He does his best to present the history of the small Island country from all different perspectives. For instance, he looks at the good that the Church brought to the island, but also gives a critic
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was exactly what i wanted - a sweeping overview of irish history as an introduction to the proper timeline of events not necessarily gritty details. the authors style was easy to read and some insights drawn without falling into either camp around points of contention - which i thought was refreshing and impressive given the subject matter. i would recommend it to anyone looking for the same, & view it as a jumping off point to now decide what eras i might want to read about in mor ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book presented a reasonably clear, concise and fairly even-handed survey of Irish history. (If anything, Hegarty seems to show the most sympathy for the indigenous Irish.) It includes the major events and people that shaped Ireland until today. Hegarty goes to some pains to show that Ireland's history was not a black-and-white story of Irish vs. foreigners or Catholics vs. Protestants, but shows how the various sides in Ireland's many conflicts have often been more mixed and complex. As has ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great book. I'm so so so glad I read it before my trip and it is exactly the perfect book for me to have read before I go. It was a really clear, interesting, easy to read history of Ireland from the Roman period to today. It was also a great look at Northern Ireland and the Republic and there was absolutely no bias. It was just really comprehensive. I cannot recommend it enough if you're planning a trip to Ireland or if you're just interested in Irish history.
Fabianne Furman
This critique possibly says more about my attention span than the book itself, but The Story of Ireland was more effective as a sleep aid for me than as an accessible history of the country. The second half was significantly more interesting than the first as the timeline progressed toward modern day, but there is a reason it took me over a month to get through it.
Rob Melich
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written book that provides clear insight into the historic march that created modern Ireland. With the exception of the last two chapters it is rich in thoughtful analysis.
The last chapter and the Afterword seem like an afterthought and do not reflect the quality of the other segments of the book.

Excellent read!
Delson Roche
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I did not know anything about Ireland before plunging to read this book. Well, it made for a perfect beginners book, if interested in Irish history and the reason for years of bloodshed. Well advanced history buffs probably may find the book quite elementary. A wonderful read however for me- fast moving and captivating.
Peter Mcloughlin
A good short history. It spends more time on international influences on Irish history and how the big picture of World history (mainly europe and America) played a role in Irish history. It is balanced story with nuance and complex figures not just the good guys (Irish) Bad guys (Brits) that one usually gets in Irish history.
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Hegarty examines how world events, including Europe's 16th century religious wars, the French and American revolutions, and Ireland's policy of neutrality during World War II, have shaped the country over the course of its long and fascinating history.
Rashers Tierney
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-post
And what a story it is! Hegarty brings this complex, meandering tale of misfortune, hope, and dogged determination to life with the grace of a true Irish storyteller combined with razor-sharp analysis
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While interesting, this book dragged on and took a long time to finish. Towards the end I found myself spacing out and skimming over large sections of text. Ultimately, it read more like a textbook and less like a story.
Hannah Hofstatter
This was a very interesting and detailed book! Although, many times throughout the book, I feel like the author was just getting in as much as possible and sometime it was pretty boring. But overall, it was a cool book about the history of Ireland.
Nov 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave the author 50 pages, but just couldn't get into a flow and stopped reading after that. The author's writing style and lack of structural organization made it difficult for me to understand his prose. It's unfortunate, as I was very interested in the subject matter.
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NEIL HEGARTY's books include:

INCH LEVELS, a debut novel published in September 2016;
FROST: THAT WAS THE LIFE THAT WAS, the definitive and best-selling biography of Sir David Frost;
THE SECRET HISTORY OF OUR STREETS, which accompanies a major BBC season of programming on London;
the best-selling STORY OF IRELAND, written to accompany the BBC-RTE television history of the same name; and
More about Neil Hegarty

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“A vast charitable effort swung into action in order to head off widespread famine: a lecture tour of the United States undertaken by Parnell early in 1880 ensured publicity for the plight of Ireland and generated substantial relief funds; the US government dispatched a supply ship, which docked at Queenstown in the spring of 1880; and ships of the Royal Navy landed relief supplies along the west coast. Significantly,” 0 likes
“the new league, however, this structure was promising: it was a constitutional carapace that sheltered” 0 likes
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