Patrick A. Lavin
The reader accompanies the early Irish Celts on their cultural journey down the ages and into the province of Connacht, where the story focuses on the early tribal communities exploring the developing dynastic families, descendants of once heroic warrior societies. The earliest noted Celtic inhabitants of Connacht, collectively called Firbolg, were believed to have ruled much of the province until well into the third century, when they were toppled and driven into tributary status by the expansion and dominance of the Gaels from northern Spain. In Connacht, some thirty petty kingdoms came to figure prominently in Irish history and legend. Among them, the Three Tuaths Kinel Dofa (O Hanly country), Corca Eachlinn (MacBrennan country) and Tir-Briuin-na-Sionna (O Beirne country) are presented as microcosms of what Gaelic tribal life throughout the Middle Ages was like. This book centers on the rise to power of the Connacht dynasts, their constant warring among themselves, their decline brought about by endless conflict with their kinsmen and invading Normans, their final collapse following confiscation of their lands by the English in the seventeenth century, and the resurgence of Celtic culture and the triumphant return of the Irish Gaels as masters of their own destiny.