From the uncertain first dawn of human presence on the island, to the defeat of the old Gaelic order at Kinsale in 1602, Hector McDonnell chronicles the lost origins of Ireland's otherness'. This scholarly take on Ireland's past derives from our prehistoric connections deep within Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond a unique set of circumstances that gave early Irish culture its distinctive character and style. Learn how the arrival via Spain of Bronze Age metalworkers from the Middle East affected the peculiar nature of the Irish language; or how some of our most remarkable monuments, Newgrange included, may owe their existence to ecological catastrophes – volcanic eruptions, meteor impacts or near- encounters with comets. As later raids on a weakened Romanized Britain brought back goods and slaves (including St Patrick), a new religion, Christianity, became interwoven with rich ancient traditions and native beliefs. The coming of the Vikings – founding the first towns and local kingdoms – succeeded in enriching rather than destroying Ireland's cultural mix. This pattern was repeated with the arrival of the Normans, which culminated in the Battle of Kinsale, shaping a nation that remains radically distinct and different to the world outside its shores. A lifetime of historical exploration brings together Hector McDonnell's several passions. His drawings are as illuminating and expressive as the ideas he narrates, and will awaken any reader to the extraordinariness of Ireland's past.