Folklore’s Timeless Past, Ireland’s Present Past, and the Perception of Rural Houses in Early Historic Ireland
This study examines how the archaeology of historic Ireland has been interpreted. Two approaches to the history and archaeology of Ireland are identified. The first, the timeless past, has its roots in a neo-Lamarckian view of the past. This perspective was particularly developed in the work of geographer and ethnographer, Estyn Evans. The second view, associated in particular with a nationalist approach to Ireland’s past, looked to the west of the country where it was believed the culture had been preserved largely unchanged and in its purest form. The continuing impact of these frameworks upon the interpretation of rural settlement in the period 1200– 1700 is examined. It is argued that historians and archaeologists alike have underestimated the quality of buildings.