IRELAND IN THE AGE OF THE TUDORS1447-1603The original version of this book, Tudor Ireland: Crown, Community and the Conflict of Cultures, 1470-1603, was published in 1985 to general acclaim. It was soon established as the standard account of the period; and its continuing success led to the inauguration of the ambitious new six-volume Longman History of Ireland, from St Patrick to the present day, with Steven Ellis as General Editor. Since a new edition of the earlier text was due, Professor Ellis has taken the opportunity to transform it into something still more formidable, purpose-built for the series into which it is now incorporated. Several years in preparation, the result is far more than just a revision. Fully updated, the text has not only been greatly expanded (with two new chapters, the new version is over 25 percent longer than the old), but also extended back a generation. It now also covers the important years from 1447 to 1470, when the Lancastrian collapse in England and France led to a crisis of lordship in English Ireland that provides a crucial context for its subsequent history under the Tudors.
The other entirely new chapter examines in much greater detail than before the Gaelic response to Tudor expansion. The book explores Ireland as a frontier society divided between the English and Gaelic worlds. Our understanding of both worlds, and their interaction (culminating in the Tudor conquest and the collapse of Gaelic rule) has been transformed over the past thirty years through the detailed research of Irish and Tudor specialists alike; and this wealth of new scholarship is fully synthesised in the text. However, as before, Steven Ellis - an acknowledged expert on Tudor frontiers and state formation - also looks beyond the local detail of these developments to consider Ireland itself as a problem within the wider Tudor state.He explores the relationship between the English crown, the English community and its Gaelic neighbours, and the nature of the transition from medieval Ireland s two nations to the centralized Tudor kingdom. The result is thus not only a survey: it is also a critique of traditional perspectives on the making of modern Ireland.
Ellis argues that English rule in the late medieval lordship was quite successful in the years before 1534, and that its government presented similar (and far from intractable) problems to those of Wales and the English north. Yet, unlike these other English borderlands, Ireland gradually became entangled in an extraordinary departure from traditional Tudor methods in an ultimately disastrous attempt to extend English civility by force. Thus, he concludes, Irish nationalism and Irish alienation from English rule were chiefly a consequence, rather than a cause, of the Tudor conquest.STEVEN ELLIS is Professor of History at the National University of Ireland,Galway.