You're no idiot, of course. You know that St. Patrick's Day is in March, JFK was our only Irish-Catholic President, and the IRA isn't necessarily a tax-deferred account. But when it comes to knowing about the history and culture of Ireland, you feel as Irish as a box of stale Lucky Charms.
Don't give up on the luck of the Irish just yet! 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Irish History and Culture' is here to help you learn all about the Emerald Isle, from the Celts to the present day. In this 'Complete Idiot's Guide', you get:
-Fascinating details on Celtic culture.
-Blow-by-blow accounts of Ireland's struggle for freedom from British rule.
-Exciting tales of great Irish heroes, like Brian Boru and Michael Collins.
-Rich cultural traditions, from wedding to wakes.
-Concise profiles of Irish icons in politics and the arts, from Daniel O'Connell to Oscar Wilde.
About the Author
Table of Contents
The Complete Idiots Guide™ to Irish History and Culture Part 1: Beyond Leprechauns, St. Patrick, and Shamrocks
1. A Mystical Island of Magical People
The ancient Celts, the first Irish, were a barbaric people, but they loved storytelling, had an advanced system of law, and knew how to have a roaring good time!
2. Celebrating Life, Death, and Everyting Inbetween
Like their Celtic ancestors, the Irish celebrate life's event with style, whether they be births, weddings, or wakes.
Part 2: The Story of Eire
3. Was the Emerald Isle Always So Emerald?
The first Irish inhabitants were the four-footed variety, but then the tow-legged folks arrived, and the Emerald Isle hasn't seen a peaceful day since
4. Those Glorious Celts (Not the Basketball Team)
The Celts of long ago were a colorful people, both literally (they painted their bodies blue!) and figuratively. For a bunch of crazy savages, they had an amazing civilized society.
5. St. Patrick, Conqueror of Souls
When some slave traders brought a young captive to Ireland, they had no idea he would become the most famous man in Irish history, St. Patrick (who wasn't even Irish).
Part 3: Invasions, Repression, and Hunger: You Can't Keep a Good Irishman Down
6. Green Fields Run Red: The Viking Invasion and Brian Boru
It was a dark day for Ireland when the Vikings discovered it. They raided, pillaged, and murdered, destroying everything in their paths. But a hero would come to Ireland's defense, Brian Boru, the greatest king Ireland would ever know.
7. The Seed Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree: The Vikings' Norman Cousins
The Vikings were nasty fellows, but in some ways, the Normans were worse. The Vikings had robbed and run; their Norman cousins stayed an conquered.
8. Those Blasted Brits Norman-English kings handed Ireland down from one to the next, and each seemed to rule more foolishly than the last.
9. The Earls and the Crown Duke It Out
Irish chieftains, calling themselves earls, fought the English for the right to rule Ireland. When Henry VIII declared himself Lord of Ireland, their response was, "oh yeah?!"
10. Irish Domination, Tudor Style
Queen Elizabeth I did her best to bring Ireland to heel, and her best was pretty good! Then a batch of Irish chieftain earls took off in the dead of night, leaving Ireland to the English, and things went from bad to worse.
11. The Curse of Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell thought he was doing God's work by killing as man Irish Catholics as he could. The "curse of Cromwell" is still one of the worst curses an Irishman can throw on you.
12. The Price of Freedom: Blood and Imprisonment
Irish heros, such as Wolfe Tone and Daniel O'Connell spent their lives trying to free Ireland frmo Britain's rule. Some even dies for their cause, but Mother England's apron strings were iron chains.
13. The Great Hunger
Under British oppression, the Irish peasantry became dependent upon the potato as a sole food source. WHen a fungus caused the potatoes to rot, more than eight million people began to starve.
14. Emigration: 'Tis You Must Go and I must Bide
After the famine, millions of Irish emigrated to America. In their new country, they faced new problems, such as the challenge of assimilation, and a few of the old ones, such as poverty and bigotry.
15. The Blood of the Martyrs
On Easter morning in 1916, a group of rebels tried to overthrow the British one and for all. They failed. But as their executions began, they became martyrs, and their cause became a rallying flag for Irish everywhere.
16. The Irish Free State Is Born, but It's a Difficult Delivery
Thanks to the efforts of Michael Collins, his IRA, and the Sinn Fein organization, Ireland achieved partial freedom from Britain. But the northern counties of Ulster remained under English rule, and the war became a civil one.
17. Eire's Growing Pains: The 20th Century in the Emerald Isle
Life hasn't been easy for those living in Northern Ireland for the past 100 years. The republic of Ireland has had its share of social concerns as well, such as divorce, abortion, and birth control. But solutions may be within reach.
Part 4: Erin's Hall of Fame
18. Making Their Way American Style: Politicians, Soldiers,Police, and Boxers
From the fellows who signed the Declaration of Independence to John F. Kennedy, Irish Americans were leaders of the political arena. The Irish excelled in other areas, too, keeping the peace as soldiers and neighborhood cops.
19. The Irish Bards, Keeping the Words Alive
From William Butler Yeats to Johnathan Swift, James joyce, and Frank McCourt, the Irish are still a storytelling people, blessing the world with their words.
20. Staging a Gaelic Revolution: The Great Irish Theater
Some of the greatest playwrights of all time had the Irish gift of gab: Oscar Wilde, Brendan Behan, George Bernard Shaw, John Synge, and Sean O'Casey. Not only did they write some of the best theater productions ever staged, but they championed the rights of artists everywhere against censorship.
Part 5: Ireland and All It Has to Offer: A Story Still Tellin'
21. Mythical Ireland: Its Lovely Lore
Druids, fairies, leprechauns, and tales of Fenian warriors populate the colorful lore of the Celts that has been handed down for thousands of years to entertain us today!
22. Tourism: Erin's Children Return in Droves!
Instead of waves of Irish emigrants escaping to America, Irish Americans are returning "home" by the thousands. If you're "goin' home." use these tips for touring the auld country.
23. The Irish: Musical, Athletic, and Crafty!
From glistening crystal to tweed, lace, and Claddagh jewelry, Irish craftsmen are still practicing the old arts. The Celts still battle it out on the field; only now they're playing gaelic football, hurling, and rugby and racing thoroughbreds.
24. Tracing Those Irish Grandfa'rs
If you're looking for your ancestors and wondering which of those marvelous Irish countries your family comes from, this list of common Irish names may help you in your search.
A: Speak Plain Irish Glossary
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My husband and I loved this book. We read it before we went to Ireland. We took it with us and used it to refer to as we traveled...again and again. If you are going to Ireland...You need this book!
With an Mc preceding my full last name, I knew I was Irish, but that was about it. I was the classic 'Complete Idiot' when it came to Irish history and culture. Ms. Massie's book has changed all of that though. The text is an easy read with many interesting and humorous tidbits. The entire history of the Emerald Isle is included with all major occurences addressed. Anyone looking to understand the basics of their Irish roots, this is the book to start with.