A History of Ireland in 100 Objects

by  Fintan O'Toole
€ 30.00

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

March 2013


Number of pages: 250

ISBN: 9781908996152


Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2013, Best Irish-Published Book of the Year - Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland, 2013 - Winner

Business to Arts Awards 2013 - Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland, 2013 - Short-listed


PDF icon Seamus Heaney's speech

This book takes 100 objects and explores their significance in shaping Ireland. Photographs are accompanied by a concise and insightful story that shows the social, political and artistic vitality of each object. Beginning with Mesolithic Ireland and ending in 2005, ornamental treasures such as the Book of Kells, the magnificent 8th century Ardagh Chalice and a chair by modernist furniture designer Eileen Gray are given equal importance as pieces such as the bloodstained shirt of Irish revolutionary James Connolly, a 1950s washing machine and the letters from the Anglo Irish Bank sign which were dismantled in 2011. The concept for this book came from a series in The Irish Times by columnist, writer and literary editor Fintan O’Toole, who also writes the robust introduction to the book.

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Solve our book cover jigsaw puzzle here.

In 2016 An Post partnered with the Royal Irish Academy, The Irish Times and the National Museum of Ireland to produce 12 stamps based on objects from the book A History of Ireland in 100 Objects. These 12 stamps are representative of the essence of the book, which attempts to capture the spirit of Ireland's past, bringing it to life for contemporary Ireland. 12 stamps were released in January 2017, with more to follow over the next 5 years. This will be An Post's Ninth Definitive Stamp Series.

Learn about the objects

Explore to find out more about the project, the book and the stamp series. The site contains content sourced from the original App, enriched with new material.
You can also find out more about the stamps by visiting
Read about the launch in The Irish Times.

Image: reproduced by kind permission of An Post ©



About the authors

Fintan O'Toole

Fintan O'Toole is a columnist and literary editor with The Irish Times and Leonard L. Milberg lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. He has written books on Irish history, politics, society and culture. He has been awarded the European Press Prize 2017 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2017.