During the past generation substantial changes in perspective have taken place with regard to the sixteenth century in Irish history. European and British studies on this period have done much to confirm the continuance of essentially medieval society well into what it had become customary to regard as the modern period, while the clarification of successive stages of growth and change in the early modern period has also enabled Ireland in the later sixteenth century to be seen rather more clearly in its European context. Intimations of this change may be seen in the treatment of Ireland in this period in J. C. Beckett’s A short history of Ireland (1952 and subsequent editions), and more specifically in the most recent composite book on Ireland, The course of Irish history, edited by T. W. Moody and F. X. Martin (1967), where the contributions by Art Cosgrove on ‘ The Gaelic resurgence and the Geraldine supremacy, c. 1400–1534 ’ and by G. A. Hayes-McCoy on ‘ The Tudor conquest, 1534–1603 ’, bring out very well the place of sixteenthcentury Ireland in the general sequence of its past. At the same time, it is clear that although the main contributions of this generation to the detailed understanding of sixteenth-century Ireland have added much that is new in information and interpretation they have yet not quite reached a position where a complete new synthesis of the period has seemed possible, however necessary it may be. There is no doubt that the understanding of the growing group of Irish historians interested in this period has been steadily expanding, that this understanding increasingly informs their specialist articles, and that it also finds its ripest expression at the level of synthesis rather in their university lectures than in print.