The castles of Ireland are all part of the story of medieval Europe. The remains of several thousand castles shed a light on the experiences of Ireland during these centuries. As objects meant to display their lord's power and prestige, castles had to be impressive, and uniformity denied that. The author of this volume weaves evidence from the castles into the story of the nature and development of lordship and power in medieval Ireland. The physical remains of the castles reflect the different roles of the competing lordships: English and Irish; feudal and Gaelic; royal and baronial. He argues that the design of the castles contests the traditional view of Ireland as a land torn by war and divided culturally between the English and Irish.