There are many pasts within the Irish past. This book seeks to blend the insights of historical geography (with its field-based emphasis on environment, context and continuities), archaeology (with its site-and artefact-based focus), and history (with its emphasis on archival evidence). The focus is on the lived experience of real people in real places not the abstractions of nationality, class and race. This highly engaging book traces the interplay among religion, landscape and settlement patterns over a very long time period. It is illustrated with many fresh images and new maps, draws on a wide array of diverse evidence in multiple languages, and uses examples drawn from every county on the island. It is designed to be equally engaging to those who know nothing about the subject, and those who study it intensively.