How the Irish Saved Civilization

This is the fascinating story of how the learning and books of Western civilization nearly died out after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.  But after Patrick evangelized Ireland in the 5th century, monks in Ireland fastidiously copied manuscripts of the Bible and other books, and then later spread throughout continental Europe, establishing monasteries.  If it had not been for these Irish monks, many of whom were rather eccentric individuals, so much of Western civilization would have vanished.  An interesting read.