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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. This second edition includes a new chapter on Church Reform in the 11th and 12th centuries, a discussion of early Irish primary sources and pedagogical features such as additional maps and brief summaries at the end of each chapter.