As for Cahill, enlightening read. I think he plays fast and loose with some history, but absorbing this Everyman book was time well spent. Here is a short review I wrote on Facebook:
Thoroughly enjoyable and informative read. I had no idea the extent to which culture had declined after the fall of Rome (Dark Age indeed), and that Ireland was the savior of Latin literature. Keep in mind, Cahill takes us on a literary journey in this book. In this way, this is a different type of historical text: one built not so much on dates and socio-cultural minutiae as on personality shown through the prism of poems, epics, and biographies. This makes sense, however, since the story of Ireland saving civilization is the story of being saved through literature and determined individuality.