Ireland has rarely been out of the news during the past thirty years. Whether as a war-zone in which Catholic nationalists and Protestant Unionists struggled for supremacy, a case study in conflict resolution or an economy that for a time promised to make the Irish among the wealthiest people on the planet, the two Irelands have truly captured the world's imagination. Yet single-volume histories of Ireland are rare. Here, Thomas Bartlett, one of the country's leading historians, sets out a fascinating new history that ranges from prehistory to the present. Integrating politics, society and culture, he offers an authoritative historical road map that shows exactly how - and why - Ireland, north and south, arrived at where it is today. This is an indispensable guide to both the legacies of the past for Ireland's present and to the problems confronting north and south in the contemporary world.