Cultural Exchange and Identity in Late Medieval Ireland
22 Mar 2018
Cambridge University Press
Irish inhabitants of the 'four obedient shires' - a term commonly used to describe the region at the heart of the English colony in the later Middle Ages - were significantly anglicised, taking on English names, dress, and even legal status. However, the processes of cultural exchange went both ways. This study examines the nature of interactions between English and Irish neighbours in the four shires, taking into account the complex tensions between assimilation and the preservation of distinct ethnic identities and exploring how the common colonial rhetoric of the Irish as an 'enemy' coexisted with the daily reality of alliance, intermarriage, and accommodation. Placing Ireland in a broad context, Sparky Booker addresses the strategies the colonial community used to deal with the difficulties posed by extensive assimilation, and the lasting changes this made to understandings of what it meant to be 'English' or 'Irish' in the face of such challenges.