Our tour was led by Tommy Graham, who was an outstanding guide. He is the editor of Irish History magazine, and demonstrated a broad understanding of the many influences that shaped Ireland’s history. He was especially good at explaining the complexities of the different Protestant movements, their relationships with Catholicism and English history, and the larger issues of class, politics, and ethnicity that have permeated Irish history. He also wove together fascinating information about demographic, economic, and agricultural history, and how these forces influenced Irish emigration and immigration. He is a master of synthesizing seemingly disparate subjects into a coherent narrative of Irish history. The tour was 2 hours, with quite a bit of walking and more standing while Tommy expounded on the history of a particular site. He was thoroughly entertaining throughout and has a wicked sense of humor. We took this tour on our first day in Dublin, which turned out to be a very good thing: it not only gave us a sense of Ireland’s long and fractious history but also a sense of the deep pride and independent spirit of the Irish. With that in mind, everything we saw after that had a context. Don’t miss this tour if you can help it, and if you can get Tommy as your guide, you’ll be fortunate.
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