How much of what exceptional people achieve can be put down to their own efforts and inner drive, and how much to fate? In this groundbreaking study, the authors argue that the extraordinary achievements of key figures in Irish history were indeed unstoppable – a product of their character and unique way of interacting with the world. In a series of fascinating character studies, Antoinette Walker and Michael Fitzgerald argue that many of those who were crucial to the development of Ireland's political, scientific and artistic traditions – the revolutionaries Robert Emmet, Pádraig Pearse and Éamon de Valera; the scientist Robert Boyle, mathematician William Rowan Hamilton and ethnographer Daisy Bates; and the poet W. B. Yeats and writers James Joyce and Samuel Beckett – would, if they were alive today, be diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. The authors examine the character quirks that lead them to believe that all nine can be seen as 'Asperger geniuses'. They assert that this condition meant that all nine were virtually predestined to become exceptional figures in their chosen field and that, moreover, Asperger's syndrome can be seen as the key to genius in all ages and all cultures.