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The accepted view of Irish woodlands is that Ireland was covered in trees until the English came and chopped them down. While admirable in its brevity, this interpretation is inadequate regarding the actual management of Irish forests from the later Gaelic era to the close of the eighteenth century. The author focuses on the fundamentally pragmatic and commercial view of trees adopted by much of Gaelic civilization, and the attempts of the various Anglo-Irish administrations to introduce more conservative woodland practices. By the late seventeenth century, the re-afforestation of Ireland had become a paramount badge of respectability for Irish landowners, and gave rise to a distinctive body of landscape design and painting, exemplified by the works of Thomas Roberts and William Ashford.
Nigel Everett is an independent historian specializing in English and Irish landscapes.