Deadly Irish History: The Celts

If you were living in the time of the Celts, would you rather be a high king, a noble or a bard, a skilled craftsman, an ‘everyday Celt’, a labourer, or a bondswoman? Inviting his readers to begin their engagement with his book with the roll of a die to determine their role, John Farrelly starts as he means to go on, playfully ensuring active participation and genuine curiosity right from the beginning.

His methods, prose style, and pen-and-ink drawings never miss a beat in this well-informed, witty and irreverent account of the Celts. Its swiftly-paced multi-format approach offers an absorbing trajectory, cut through with seamlessly integrated comic strips, guess-the-answer sessions, a Celtic fashion show complete with commentary, and, for those of us who find it hard to sit still, step-by-step instructions on how to make and play your own fidchell game, cook up some crubeens or Celtic bread, or make your own model roundhouse. While most of the text is in English, its frequent easy movement into nouns and concepts as Gaelige is comfortable and well done, never for a moment feeling overtly pedantic.

Its variety of forms means it engages with a variety of learning styles, and, perhaps most importantly of all, it never once talks down to its readers, the directness of the narrative voice and caricature speaking equally to all ages. The format is very attractive, more Goscinny and Uderzo than Horrible Histories, and its exceptionally companionable wittiness sets it well beyond its English counterparts. Great fun!

Book Cover - Deadly Irish History: The Celts
Publication Date
September 2020