Conclusion. This episode traces Irish history from the end of the 8th century through the 12th, a period bookended by foreign invaders. First: the Vikings (“the sea vomiting from the north,” says Patrick Wallace, the director of the National Museum of Ireland). Their raiders were brutal, but Vikings were also interested in commerce, and they established Ireland's first towns, most notably Dublin. Brian Boru unified the country at the beginning of the 11th century, but the unity died with him in 1014. Unifying Ireland a century and a half later: England's Norman kings. Gerard McSorley narrates.
Christianity comes to Ireland and makes it “the intellectual heart of Europe,” says narrator Gerard McSorley. Ireland's first saint: Patrick, a Briton who arrived in the 5th century. He wasn't the first missionary but he was the first to leave writings behind. In fact, “the church brought reading and writing to Ireland,” says McSorley.” And Irish monks such as Sts. Columba and Columbanus carried the flame of learning abroad in the darkest days of the Dark Ages. “Irish scholars and theologians,” McSorley notes, “were essential to the rebuilding of Western civilization.” Part 2 of three.
Part 1 of this three-part history of pre-Norman Ireland, begins with the arrival of neolithic farmers, around 4000 B.C. Within 500 years (about a millennium before Egyptians built pyramids), they'd begun building elaborate mound tombs. And Ireland literally enjoyed a “golden age” around 800 B.C. That all actually happened, archaeologists and historians assert. What probably didn't? The legendary battles between Cu Chullain and Queen Maeve, and the Celtic invasion, for starters. Irish actor Gerard McSorley narrates.