The Irish tower house

Society, economy and environment, c. 1300–1650

By Victoria L. McAlister

The Irish tower house


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2123-3
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2019
  • BIC Category: Archaeology, Ireland, European history: medieval period, middle ages, Archaeology by period / region, HISTORY / Medieval, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology, Humanities / Medieval history, Humanities / Archaeology, Medieval European Archaeology
  • Series: Social Archaeology and Material Worlds


This book examines the social role of castles in late-medieval and early modern Ireland. It uses a multidisciplinary methodology to uncover the lived experience of this historic culture, demonstrating the interconnectedness of society, economics and the environment. Of particular interest is the revelation of how concerned pre-modern people were with participation in the economy and the exploitation of the natural environment for economic gain. Material culture can shed light on how individuals shaped spaces around themselves, and tower houses, thanks to their pervasiveness in medieval and modern landscapes, represent a unique resource. Castles are the definitive building of the European Middle Ages, meaning that this book will be of great interest to scholars of both history and archaeology.


Victoria L. McAlister is Assistant Professor of History at Southeast Missouri State University


1 Around the castle wall: the tower house complex and rural settlement
2 The medieval agrarian economy: lifeblood of the tower house
3 Rivers in pre-modern Ireland: environment and economy
4 Movement, transport and communication: tower houses and waterways
5 'Urban' tower houses
6 Tower houses, late medieval Ireland and the connection with the wider world
Conclusion: the social, economic and environmental contexts of the Irish tower house

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