Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, Life in Medieval Ireland

Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, Life in Medieval IrelandWitches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, Life in Medieval Ireland

By Finbar Dwyer

New Island Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-84840-284-3

The launch of a new book portraying a fascinating insight in to life in medieval Ireland will take place in Dublin and Kilkenny during the next fortnight. Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, Life in Medieval Ireland by Finbar Dwyer is published by New Island Press.

In this unique book, Dublin based historian Finbar Dwyer has created a captivating picture of life in the Late Middle Ages from fatal tavern fights to football; sex to sea travel and other topics often neglected by histories of the period.


Stories of interest include:

  • Two sailors who survived a hanging in Dublin in 1311
  • The demise of the Knights Templar in Ireland.
  • Witchburnings.
  • An Irish monk who visited China in the 1320s
  • The Black Death in Kilkenny.

Finbar Dwyer, historian and founder of the chart topping Irish history podcast series, said “Much of the time the lives of ordinary people who didn’t have titles of nobility – those who were unconnected to the likes of Strongbow – are neglected in our modern telling of history. While these peoples’ stories are integral to the history of the period, they are also fascinating considering these were times when famine, plague, warfare and extreme violence were all too common.”

“While it was one of the darker chapters in our history, life continued nonetheless and in this book I’ve looked at the personal stories of those who struggled to survive. It was unquestionably a strange world, but one far from the stereotypical chivalry of romantic literature – where fatal tavern fights, abductions, executions and warfare were part of life. In Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome I step away from the usual narrative of medieval history where the story of our ancestors is too often told through the lives of a few important men.”


The book will be launched in The Cobblestone Pub, Smithfield, Dublin on November 28th and Dubray Books, Kilkenny on December 5th; it is available from New Island Press for €19.99 and in all good book stores.

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