This impressive survey covers the early history of Ireland from the coming of Christianity to the Norman settlement. Within a broad political framework it explores the nature of Irish society, the spiritual and secular roles of the Church and the extraordinary flowering of Irish culture in the period. Other major themes are Ireland’s relations with Britain and continental Europe, the beginnings of Irish feudalism, and the impact of the Viking and Norman invaders. The expanded second edition has been fully updated to take into account the most recent research in the history of Ireland in the early middle ages, including Ireland’s relations with the Later Roman Empire, advances and discoveries in archaeology, and Church Reform in the 11th and 12th centuries. A new opening chapter on early Irish primary sources introduces students to the key written sources that inform our picture of early medieval Ireland, including annals, genealogies and laws. The social, political, religious, legal and institutional background provides the context against which Daibhi O Croinin describes Ireland’s transformation from a tribal society to a feudal state. It is essential reading for student and specialist alike.