Whether ruined or opulent, castles have the power to fire the imagination. For almost a millennium, they have studded the Irish countryside. The concept of using building methods to protect territory was introduced from overseas in the twelfth century, when the Irish term caislean began to appear in manuscripts. By the sixteenth century, Ireland had become the most castellated country in Europe.In this latest book, Tarquin Blake takes us on a breathtaking tour of Anglo-Norman fortresses, medieval towers, fortified houses and the neo-Gothic piles of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The castles - including lesser-known gems like Fiddaun Castle in County Galway as well as luxury hotels such as Ashford Castle in County Mayo - are captured in atmospheric photos and brought to life through the true stories of the families whose adventures, struggles and ambitions are reflected in the fortified residences they constructed. By pairing the castles' romantic appearances with in-depth tales of siege, intrigue, conflict and capture, Blake reveals our rich past and startling architectural legacy. Exploring Ireland's Castles is sure to delight any history buff or armchair traveller.