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.
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.