Anglo-Norman Parks in Medieval Ireland: A Review

Anglo Norman Parks in Medieval Ireland

Anglo-Norman Parks in Medieval Ireland is a brand new book by Four Courts Press. This interesting and informative publication is written by Fiona Beglane, who is a lecturer in archaeology at the Institute of Technology Sligo, and also a consultant zooarchaeologist.

In it she attempts to examine the surviving evidence for medieval parks in Anglo-Norman Ireland.  The publication concentrates on parks from the period 1169 to 1350, but also discusses what happened to them in later periods. It employs a thematic and multi-disciplinary approach, which combines a range of sources, including archaeological field work, historical research, place-name evidence and folklore. Key topics explored include the form and function of Irish medieval parks, their occurrence and location in the landscape, the status of and identity of their owners and a comparison with parks elsewhere, especially those in England. During the study at least 46 documented medieval parks were identified and a number of these were studied in detail.

In England, fallow deer, hunting, parks and the manor were inextricably linked but in Ireland the situation appears to have been more complex. Although hunting and venison were certainly important in some large, high-status Irish parks, the preservation of woodland for timber and the enclosing of pasture for domestic animals were also significant considerations. Parks were an important part of the manorial system of demarcating and structuring landholding in England; however, it seems they never became an essential feature of the Irish manor. The reasons for this lie in chronology, landscape and politics, and these form a major theme within the book.

This is well-researched and accessible publication that investigates a largely unexplored aspect of Irish medieval history. It should be of interest to anyone interested in the Middle Ages, especially from a landscape perspective.

Competition:  The good folks at Four Courts Press have very kindly offered a copy of their new publication, Anglo-Norman Parks in Medieval Ireland, as a prize in Irish’s latest competition. To enter just leave a comment below (all comments have to be moderated so it might take and hour or two for them to appear). I’ll then pick a winner out of a hat (closing date from entries is 6 pm on Saturday 6th of September, the winner will be notified on Sunday the 7th of September).

Edit: Competition Winner

The winner of the book is Gearoid Kelleher, congratulations!

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57 Responses to Anglo-Norman Parks in Medieval Ireland: A Review

  1. christel Manrique September 2, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    what an interesting topic, i would like to know more about it
    thanks for the contest

    • HEKEN McBride September 4, 2015 at 8:24 am #

      Excellent subject! If it’s going to be my turn I’d be delighted to have it, read it, love it.

  2. Beata September 2, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Oh my! I would love to own that book. I’m in! 🙂

  3. Donna September 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    Thanks for contest, I’d love to read this book! Hope its open to US.

  4. Emmet Keoghan September 2, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Heard this plugged at talk in loughrea sounded very interesting

  5. Pauline Scarborough September 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    Would love to read about the still existing evidence of what must have been magical woodland places, before the rot set in

  6. Jane O'Dea September 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    So much amazing information has become available in the past few years. Thank you for sharing so much of it with all of us who don’t have access to rare libraries and ancient sites. This book looks equally wonderful. thanks for the comp!

  7. Dianne September 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    Interesting! Would like to learn more.

  8. Neada Beckett September 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    If only I lived in Ireland, I’d use this book as a guide book and visit as many of these places as possible.

  9. Andrea Lewis September 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm #


  10. Scott Cross September 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    This sounds like a fascinating topic and one that has not been fully explored or written upon. I am looking forward to reading it.

  11. John Schroeter September 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    An interesting topic, and one I don’t believe I’ve seen discussed much. Considering the changes in the Irish landscape in the last 1000 years it is certainly a subject that deserves a lot more consideration.

  12. Ray Harte September 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Very interested in this topic, one of the medieval parks was just over the hill from the Rock of Dunamase county laois. We have run a post on this previously with its connection to the Rock of Dunamase and would certainly like to delve a bit further into the subject.

  13. Jacquelyn Pekar September 2, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    The book looks beautiful! Thanks for the chance to get one!

  14. Caro Guerin September 2, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Looks like a valuable contribution to medieval Irish research. Can’t wait to read it!

  15. Tom Darcy September 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    What an interesting topic to cover in book form!….I’ll be buying this book anyway if I don’t have any luck here!!!!

  16. Rory Byrne September 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Having studied Irish history as part of my degree in TCD, I have always been fascinated by the Anglo Normans in Ireland, looks like a very interesting read indeed.

  17. Mary Kearney September 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Sounds interesting. I enjoy reading medieval history.

  18. Martina Williams September 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    I would love to win this – it is on my wish list anyhow.

  19. Janice September 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    I have found another book to add to my bucket list.

  20. ciara o'flynn September 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    As an archaeologist I’d welcome any opportunity to gain another perspective on medieval landscapes. I look forward to reading this book.

  21. Heather Menz September 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    Very interesting, would love to read. Sounds like it would be a great source for my dissertation on medieval Ireland!

  22. Ruth September 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Now this is a book that looks worth reading.

  23. Joan Ryan September 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Looks very interesting. I would love to have the chance to read the book. J

  24. Kevin Caliendo September 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    There is plenty of parking space on my bookshelf for that title. KC

  25. Josh Dickey September 2, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    This looks wonderful!

  26. Jennifer Lowry September 2, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    What a fascinating topic! I’m eager to learn more about these parks and how they fit into the shaping of landscapes throughout the country in the Middle Ages. Definitely one to add to the library.

  27. Steve Reilly September 2, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Visiting Ireland in December. This book sounds great.

  28. Ciaran September 2, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Sounds interesting. Count me in!

  29. orla September 2, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Loving the illustration for this book. Reminds me of an old illustrated folktale book I had as a child about the hunting of a white deer. Big congratulations to Fiona Beglane as well for this. Sounds like a great contribution to the topic overall. Will be reading it one way or another

  30. Y McDermott September 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    I’d love to have the book on deerparks
    To read on winter evenings when the world outside is dark
    For a medievalist like me
    The book has much to read and see
    Oh, how this book would lend my library some spark!

  31. Ian September 2, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    Very cool book on a very interesting topic! I hope I get the chance to read it before I go to Ireland this fall!

  32. Marmidotte September 2, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    Hoooo, I would love a copy! And I will envy whomever gets it…

  33. David Pritchard September 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Sounds like a really interesting read and a great book to add to the collection!

  34. Claudia September 2, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    I have never thought about this topic. I would like to develop this subject

  35. James Maher September 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

    I have noticed that that period of Irish History is underrepresented ion my book shelves and this new publication would be a welcome addition to correct this. Thank you for this opportunity.

  36. Tom Hodgers September 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    I would love to read this book, specially the part about what has happened to these medieval parks.

    Where are they now? Have they been retained as parks or agricultural land? Do Deer Parks still exist?

  37. Eoin September 2, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    This book sounds fascinating. I would love a copy!

  38. Bruce Hesselbach September 3, 2015 at 12:26 am #

    Would that all these parks still existed today!

  39. Victoria September 3, 2015 at 1:07 am #

    How uncanny, a professor of mine just mentioned Fiona Beglane in my historiography class earlier this week. That would be great to win a copy of this intriguing subject. Thank you for this contest! 🙂

  40. Tom Nelligan September 3, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Fascinating sounding book. Would be well used over at The Standing Stone.

  41. John King September 3, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    This wonderful book adds another layer and prism to view our complex history .
    Stuff we never learnt in history class at school .

  42. Michael O'Toole September 3, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    Very interesting will have to find a copy. Thanks

  43. Julianne September 3, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    Looking forward to reading this book

  44. Des September 3, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    Where were they? Where are they now? Why were they? What do they tell us about life there and then?????

  45. Martin Smith September 5, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    Really fascinating book. I’ll be looking to get myself a copy – winner or not!

  46. Don McGuinness September 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Very interesting book. Would love to learn more. Thanks

  47. Paul Caris September 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    An aspect of historical Ireland I never imagined existed. And the cover design is remarkable. Almost magical.

  48. Gearoid September 5, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    I heard Fiona on The Moncrieff show and thourougly enjoyed the topic

    • Colm September 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

      Hi Gearoid, congrats you one the book :). I’ve just sent you an e-mail. Colm

  49. Mike dalton September 5, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Any in Offaly , around Birr maybe ?

  50. Catharina September 5, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    I’d love to give this book a good home 🙂

  51. Julie September 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Would love to know more about this 🙂

  52. Jeanne Gillespie September 5, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    I love the emotion that comes through the art & writing of the times discussed in this book. I’d enjoy having that reference at hand, especially as my connection to Ireland has to be a long distance one (California< USA).

    • Jeanne Gillespie September 5, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      BTW, Saturday, today, is June 5th, not 6th, so I hope my reply from this distant time zone, will be included in the drawing =}

  53. Stephen September 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    Looks like a really interesting study, would love to read it.

  54. John Farrelly September 15, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    I,ll park my comments about how our modern parks are treated and I will park my comments about the book until I have read it, but if I win it, it will be a very good start,

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