This brief, though amazingly thorough, humorous look at Irish history begins with what I thought at first was an overly long introduction to the Greeks and Romans, and their transition to the illiterate barbarians. I decided I needed to know all that from Cahill's perspective in order to understand what he had to say about the Irish, especially the slave Patricius, who never did get fluent in Latin. I'm a fan of the "Sister Fidelma" historical mystery series, and now I understand them a lot better. More important, I understand what Patrick was up to, and why I've always loved "The Book of Kells" and other Irish religious art of that period. Cahill wanders at times, but even his wanderings have a point to make. A delight.