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. ย 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:ย  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 Archaeology.ieโ€™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). Iโ€™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!

57 thoughts on “Anglo-Norman Parks in Medieval Ireland: A Review

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

  2. 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!

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

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Iโ€™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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  18. 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).

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

  19. 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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