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Society, economy and environment, c. 1300–1650

Tower houses are the ubiquitous building of pre-modern Ireland. A type of castle, the tower house was constructed c.1350–1650, and extant examples number in the thousands. This book examines the social role of the tower house in late medieval and early modern Ireland. It uses a multidisciplinary methodology to uncover the lived experience of a wide range of people. This enables exploration of the castle’s context, including how it was used as a social tool and in environmental exploitation for economic gain. By challenging traditional interpretations of the Middle Ages we find new evidence for the agency of previously overlooked individuals, and thus a new insight into the transition from medieval to modern. Each chapter in the book builds on the one preceding, to echo the movement of trade good from environmental exploitation to entry into global economic networks, keeping focus on the role of the tower house in facilitating each step. By progressively broadening the scope, the conclusion is reached that the tower house can be used as a medium for analysing the impact of global trends at the local level. It accomplishes this lofty goal by combining archival evidence with archaeological fieldwork and on-site survey to present a fresh perspective on one of the best-known manifestations of Irish archaeology.

Victoria L. McAlister

orchards as well as the denser urban part ( ibid .). Dalkey, County Dublin: Dalkey's medieval history is closely interlinked with that of Ireland's main city, Dublin. Dalkey is probably the best known example of an outport, as it was the landing place for goods bound for Dublin. There are a number of tower houses linked to people involved with collecting fishing revenues (Smith, 1996 ). Seven tower houses, three extant, were built in this town, and Murtagh believes their function was to store goods and defend them against the incursions of the

in The Irish tower house