continent, Ireland has often been perceived as a remote, distant and isolated backwater. Historically, this is far from the truth. Since early prehistory, in Europe sea-lanes mattered as much as, and often more than, land-routes and Irish prehistory and history exemplify this fact. Throughout history, Ireland has tended to be part of complex long-distance networks and cultural contexts, sometimes but not always centred on Ireland’s close proximity to Britain (especially Scotland). Too often, Irish history is discussed simply as an offshoot of British history.