A growing band of historians, political commentators, and cultural critics has sought to analyse Ireland'past and present in colonial terms. For some, including Irish Republicans, it is the only proper framework for understanding Ireland. Others reject the very use of the colonial label for Ireland's history; while using the term for the present arouses outrage, especially amongst Ulster Unionists. This book evaluates and analyses these controversies, ranging from debates over the ancient and medieval past to those in current literary and postcolonial theory. Scholarly, at times polemical, it is the most comprehensive study of these themes ever to appear, and will undoubtedly stimulate discussion for years to come.