By Katherine Simms
Irish Sword, Vol.12 (1975)
Introduction: It is possible for a modern reader to exaggerate the contrast between the cattle-raids of Ireland and the art of war as practised elsewhere in medieval Europe. Sir Charles Oman and his followers have written in terms of major struggles between national kingships, of pitched battles, the charge of heavy-armed knights and the serried rows of kneeling pikeman. More recently it has come to be recognised that not only in Ireland, but on the marches of Scotland and Wales, and in other parts of Europe where a strong central government was lacking, most fighting took place in private wars between local lords, and the methods employed were very much less formal.