This book, written in 1903, gives a very good background to Irish history, beginning with the Celts arrival in Ireland around the dawn of time and ending with Second Home Rule Bill and the passing of the Land Bill at the turn of the nineteenth century. McCarthy does not go into unnecessary detail, but he provides a platform for further study and investigation. He ends his book on a positive note, and, indeed, relative to all that had previously happened in Ireland, the passing of a Home Rule Bill was positive. However, in 2014 with the added awareness of everything that has happened in Ireland since 1903, it is possible to see just how relative a word like 'positive' can be. The fact that McCarthy was born in 1830 means that he was writing about many issues contemporary to himself which gives the book an integrity and an authenticity which is both refreshing and extremely valuable from the point of view of understanding the Irish situation.
Photo from www.libraryireland.com