I am delighted to announce my book Witches Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, Life in Medieval Ireland is hitting the shops in the coming days. Focusing on medieval Ireland; the book unveils a world that often occupies somewhere between history and fantasy in our minds eye. It was unquestionably a strange world but one far from the stereotypical chivalry of romantic literature.

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In Witches Spies and Stockholm Syndrome I step away from the usual narrative of medieval history where the story of our ancestors is too often told through the lives of a few important men.

Alternatively the book focuses on this world as it was known to the people of the time. From surviving documents, a uniquely intimate portrait of the people and their world, so often clouded behind stereotype and myth, is unveiled. Stories include

  • John Cachfrens, a man whose only interaction with history was his involvement in a fatal tavern fight in Dublin in 1310.
  • Margaret Russell, a wealthy woman whose life was turned upside down when she was abducted by the notorious le Poer family in 1311.
  • James of Ireland a monk who travelled to China around 1320.
  • The Riccardi of Lucca, one of the most powerful Italian banking houses and how it came to pass that their agents were on the run in Ireland after a murder in Clonmel in the early 14th century.
  • Basilia Don a woman whose affair with Stephen le Clerk had drastic consequences for all involved.
  • John McCorcan, one of the earliest people recorded playing football in Ireland.
  • Maurice de Caunteton, Norman aristocrat who led a revolt in Wexford in 1309.
  • John Clyn, a Franciscan friar who lived during the Black Death in Kilkenny.

Although this world is now our distant past it is brought vividly to life in a warts and all portrayal in this book. Across the twenty-two chapters the book presents a vibrant picture of everyday medieval life from the exotic to the toxic; from the succulent delicacies prepared for the elites to the often dangerous food the poor bought at stalls in food markets. Through an easily accessible style the book is suitable for general audiences whether you have an in-depth knowledge of the period or are just curious about our distant past.

How to get your copy?

The book will appear in all major bookshops across Ireland in the coming days.

You can buy it online from the publisher New Island Press now.

Finally, if you want to purchase a signed copy online I have an extremely limited number available. These will include a message of your choosing and will make an ideal gift for Christmas. These can be purchased by contacting me directly at the form below.  These will cost the standard price of €19.99 (excluding post and packaging).

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