side, while the demographic collapse in England reversed the flow of migration, further depleting the colony of man-power. Meanwhile, the process of acculturation between the two 'nations' in Ireland, hitherto largely one of Anglicization, was beginning to include marked Gaelicizing impulses. Contemporaries were well aware of the import of these develop- ments, and their responses were ambitious and imaginative. The statutes of Kilkenny (1366), seeking to impose a sort of apartheid in Ireland, and the laws (from 1394 onwards) seeking the repatriation of Irishmen living in England, were bold initiatives. Even the policies of Richard II-the last monarch to visit Ireland before King Billy-seem to have been more soundly conceived than has been usually supposed. The problem for the Anglo-Irish establishment was that after 1399 the English government was never willing or able to finance a programme of sustained inter- vention. Despite a growing recognition of Ireland's strategic importance during the Lancastrian and Yorkist periods, its problems were assigned a low priority, and inevitably 'temporary military superiority achieved only temporary submission'. If any consistent line of strategy can be discerned at this time it was a resolve to cut losses by consolidating royal power in the area around Dublin and by maintaining only an indirect presence, through the delegation of authority and the manipulation of aristocratic rivalries. beyond the Pale. Cosgrove is at his best detailing the impact of this style of rule in Ireland, and documenting the wider developments it set in train. Decades of disorder and neglect punctuated by phases of ruthless and costly reconstruction severely crippled the depleted English colony. Dynastic instability in England, and policies which threatened their wealth, privileges and identity, also conspired to put loyalty and co-operation at a discount among the Anglo-Irish. On occasion, as in 1460, the Anglo-Irish community was able to make an impressive statement of its constitutional liberties, but more typically it was hamstrung by faction and fear. In addition to the ancient divide between the two 'nations', men increasingly distinguished between the 'English by birth' (the Saxain) and the 'English by blood' (the Gaill), whose loyalty could no longer be taken for granted. The rapprochement between sections of the Anglo-Irish and Gaelic Irish aristocracies, of course, is a theme of portentous significance in Irish history, but it seems not to have been born in any incipient patriotic feeling or even in any united front to a foreign invader, but rather in the shifting alliances through which some magnates sought to shore up their positions in the face of a government whose actions outside the Pale had ceased to be other than partisan. The ascendancy of Kildare in the late-fifteenth century brought a measure of stability and order to parts of Ireland, but its reliance on the informal connections and unofficial powers of an aristocratic affinity further undermined the traditional foundations of royal authority. Experiments with more direct rule, as in the initiatives associated with Sir Edward Poynings and the earl of Surrey, only served to illustrate further the disintegration of the old chains of command and commitment. With reform in church and state the preoccupation of the age, plans to reshape the political structure of Ireland inevitably engaged the attention of Henry VIII and his ministers, and the desperate rebellion of Silken Thomas provided the occasion for forceful intervention and