Book Review: Churches in Early Medieval Ireland

Churches in Early Medieval Ireland
Tomás O’Carragáin (Yale, £40)

You couldn’t pretend that churches built in Ireland between the 5th and the 11th centuries-the subject of this book-are great architecture. Yet nor could you read Tomás O’Carragáin’s sensitive analysis of them without being convinced they are both important and fascinating. In these years, Ireland was producing a group of outstanding missionaries who would shape the future of European history. How interesting to consider, therefore, the churches they knew in their homeland. Also to explore why these buildings exist, how they were used, their points of architectural reference and what inspired their ornament.