• A Short History of Ireland

  • By: Dr Jonathan Bardon
  • Narrated by: Frances Tomelty
  • Length: 22 hrs and 55 mins
  • Original Recording Audiobook
  • Release date: 14-03-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (190 ratings)


In the wake of its 30th birthday celebrations in 2006, BBC Radio Ulster marked the beginning of a new broadcasting era by embarking on the station's most ambitious project to date: a recounting of the history of Ireland. For easy digestion, the story of the island is told in a series of 240 short documentaries - starting with the Ice Age and the arrival of the first humans through to the outbreak of the Second World War.
©2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £31.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Buy Now for £31.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 27-03-08

Fantastic history

This is well worth the time to listen to, it is well narrated, with a touch of artistic licence. My only gripe is; it is 240 episodes, and you are told so 240 times! yes 240 times, why? well it takes approximately 9 seconds to tell you, X 240 = 2160 seconds=36 wasted minutes which is why I did not give it a full and deserved 5 stars.

Read more Hide me

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Francis on 09-05-08

Not only for the Irish

For those like me who did not know much about Ireland's history this is a fascinating and revealing account that works well as an audio book.The five minute episodes are skilfully constructed and almost always contain some striking incidents and memorable characters . Occasionally the sound effects, atmospheric music or foreign accents are overdone, but generally each episode is most enjoyable to hear. The grand set pieces receive good treatment -Cromwell in Ireland, the rebellion of 1798, the great famine, Parnell- but there are also fascinating, less familiar topics: a Spaniard's account of Elizabethan Ireland, details of the Irish linen industry, the first performance of Messiah in Dublin,and many others. Sometimes perhaps colourful detail takes the place of sustained historical analysis but I'm sure that listening to these programmes will lead many to read more about what is a striking and turbulent history, and a story of which both English and Irish people should be aware. It is understandable but still disappointing that the history stops at the Second World War and so does not deal with the more recent past.

Read more Hide me

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

See all reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Anne on 06-07-08

Three and a half?

The tone is good, the narration charming, the repetive "This is a short history of Ireland in 240 episodes" every 5 - 15 minutes is highly annoying. The small episodes chop up the content a bit too much for my taste, but I suppose that's a consequence of it being presented via radio.

All of that would take it to a 4 for me, but the distressing part is that the history is mostly about who fought against whom. The oral history of Ireland is covered in the first 5 - 10 minutes; early and pre-conquest Celtic art isn't mentioned at all; the difference in belief, clerical requirements, status of monestaries and abbies, and relationship to the elite families prior to the take-over by the Latin rite is barely mentioned; the impact of Celtic/Gaelic concepts of kinship on the shape of society; the society, culture, and politics of pre-conquest Ireland is hardly mentioned; and, at least through the coverage of Cromwell's activities, there's precious little of even a mention of day-to-day life, even within the elites.

The later part of the presentation may give more attention to culture and society, but the first half (as far as I got) is almost completely battles and massacres.

Read more Hide me

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Martin on 14-08-08

Good but...

...hearing the phrase, "This is a short history of Ireland in 240 episodes" 240 times will drive most people insane. I made it up to about 40 before giving up. This was doubly frustrating as the content was enjoyable and informative. Surely these "links" could have been expunged before turning a radio series in to an audiobook.

Read more Hide me

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

See all reviews