I have an update on all our adventures over the last week or so that I'll get to later.
My grandparents came to the U.S. from County Sligo and so I'm a little familiar with the culture and stories of Ireland and was totally looking forward to reading this book. I already enjoyed Sarum and London by Rutherford and expected another fine book. Alas. It might be a fine book for some but it just wasn't for me.
The back of the book said Rutherford would explore "tribal culture of pagan Ireland" but there was just a little bit of that. The very short introduction mentioned the Tuatha de Danaan and Fir Bolg, supposedly the original inhabitants sent underground in a kind of exile by man. I would have loved a whole chapter about them, even if they are considered fairy folk.
The first big section of the book did have pagan culture and Druids...but they were alongside Christians. In other words, I thought the book started later in history than it might have. I had to go online and make sure that Princes was the first in the Dublin series. I enjoyed that first section.
The second had a romance that reminded me too much of recent books I'd read by Ken Follett. It wasn't exactly the same but basically you had a couple that seemed like they were meant to be ... but they were kept apart first and foremost by his ambivalence about marriage. Then throughout their lives he thinks of her often but now he's a priest and she's married and their unavailable to each other and blah blah blah. Enough already.
As Dublin becomes a city in its own right, I felt there was a little too much focus on the English Irish and not enough on the natives. It was irritating to read about how the Irish were dispossessed of their properties and fortunes so that English nobles could be rewarded. That's the history of it but instead of following all these English families I would have preferred to have some focus on the dispossessed families.
There's a lot of history and factual information I enjoyed learning. This volume ends with the Reformation period. The next book is called The Rebels of Ireland. I'm going to request it from the library and am giving this one to my daughter to read.