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Living in Ireland today, unobtrusive and ignored by the greater Irish public, are the descendants of Ireland’s former ruling class. Some are directly descended from Ireland’s most ancient kings and chiefs, their ancestry stretching back beyond history. Others claim an Irish pedigree of merely five hundred years. But by virtue of history they are, despite their ancestry, regarded as being less than Irish, not of Ireland.
At Arm’s Length traces the historical and political evolution of this silent division, a missing stratum of Irish society. In an innovative and unique approach, Anne Chambers talks to fourteen present-day Irish chiefs and peers who live and work in the Republic of Ireland. Candid and warm, rich in detail and anecdote, this unique account presents a vibrant portrait of a people apart, a people held forever at arms length.
Accessible, lively and deeply relevant, At Arm’s Length is an engaging and thoughtful popular history.
Praise for At Arm’s Length:
‘A fascinating journey of discovery through 2,000 years of our history’ – Sunday Tribune
‘A long-overdue act of inclusion. Meticulously researched, At Arm’s Length is seductive, not only a rich historical account of Ireland’s former ruling class, but also as a contemporary reflection of the surviving descendants’ – Sunday Business Post
‘Anne Chambers treats the stand-off between independent Ireland and the old aristocracy through the eyes of a dozen of their number…After independence, many suffered petty victimisations at the hands of the new rulers. Against this background, the miracle is not that many aristocrats and gentry left, but that any remained’ – Sunday Independent
Praise for Anne Chambers:
‘Anne Chambers is one of the rare exceptions. She has that quality – of seeing, feeling and understanding the period she writes about as if she were a contemporary’ – Irish Independent
‘Facts may emerge from history books, but it is the story-telling, the spinning of old memories that captures the imagination. History is second nature to Anne Chambers, research is a labour of love and when she writes about these far-off days, dry-as-dust facts are transformed into the power to excite as well as inform’ – Evening Herald
‘The most striking aspect of Anne Chambers’s work is the tremendous excitement and love which she has for her subject matter. But despite her intensity of feeling about the past there is little romanticism in her approach, she has little time for the simplistic view that sees history in terms of national heroes’ – In Dublin
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