Portavo: An Irish Townland and its Peoples

Peter Carr


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SKU: 29280 Catagóir:

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Few aspects of the Irish countryside have inspired more romance or nostalgia than townlands, the island’s oldest, smallest and most enigmatic land units. There are some 61,000 townlands in Ireland. This fine new work – the most intensive study of an Irish townland ever attempted – paints an intimate, warts-and-all portrait of just one of these, Portavo in County Down.

The book looks at the place and its peoples. It explores its geology, geography, archaeology and folklore. It examines the evolution of its landscape, which in the 17th century was home to one of the most fanatically Calvinist landlords that the Plantation of Ulster gave rise to. It examines the absorption of this initially ungovernable dissenting family into the social polity of the county.

Portavo takes the writing of local history in Ireland into new realms, doing for local history what Tim Robinson’s books on Aran did for writing about place. One commentator has observed that it has ‘raised the bar’ for the whole genre, and shown that the local can have a universal, mainstream appeal.



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