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STORY OF IRELAND
THE HON. EMILY LAWLESS
AUTHOR OF "HURRISH: A STUDY," ETC
WITH SOME ADDITIONS BY
MRS. ARTHUR BRONSON
THE EARL OF DUFFERIN, K.P., G.C.B., F.R.S., &c.,
VICEROY OF INDIA.
* * * * *
SGEUL NA H-EIREANN
DON EIREANNACH AS FIU.
Irish history is a long, dark road, with many blind alleys, many sudden turnings, many unaccountably crooked portions; a road which, if it has a few sign-posts to guide us, bristles with threatening notices, now upon the one side and now upon the other, the very ground underfoot being often full of unsuspected perils threatening to hurt the unwary.
To the genuine explorer, flushed with justified self-confidence, well equipped for the journey, and indifferent to scratches or bruises, one may suppose this to be rather an allurement than otherwise, as he spurs along, lance at rest, and sword on side. To the less well-equipped traveller, who has no pretensions to the name of explorer at all, no particular courage to boast of, and whose only ambition is to make the way a little plainer for some one travelling along it for the first time, it is decidedly a serious impediment, so much so as almost to scare such a one from attempting the _role_ of guide even in the slightest and least responsible capacity.
Another and perhaps even more formidable objection occurs. A history beset with such distracting problems, bristling with such thorny controversies, a history, above all, which has so much bearing upon that portion of history which has still to be born, ought, it may be said, to be approached in the gravest and most authoritative fashion possible, or else not approached at all. This is too true, and that so slight a summary as this can put forward no claim to authority of any sort is evident enough. National "stories," however, no less than histories, gain a gravity, it must be remembered, and even at times a solemnity from their subject apart altogether from their treatment. A good reader will read a great deal more into them than the mere bald words convey. The lights and shadows of a great or a tragic past play over their easy surface, giving it a depth and solidity to which it could otherwise lay no claim. If the present attempt disposes any one to study at first hand one of the strangest and most perplexing chapters of human history and national destiny, its author for one will be more than content.
Early migrations--The great ice age--Northern character of the fauna and flora of Ireland--First inhabitants--Formorian, Firbolgs, Tuatha-da-Dannans--Battle of Moytura Cong--The Scoto-Celtic invasion--Annals and annalists, how far credible?
THE LEGENDS AND LEGEND-MAKERS
The legends--Their archaic character--The pursuit of Gilla Backer and his horse--The ollamhs--Positions of the bards or ollamhs in Primitive Ireland.
Early Celtic law--The Senchus Mor and Book of Aicill--Laws of inheritance--Narrow conception of patriotism.
ST. PATRICK THE MISSIONARY
St. Patrick's birth--Capture, slavery, and escape--His return to Ireland--Arrives at Tara--Visits Connaught and Ulster--Early Irish missionaries and their enthusiasm for the work.
THE FIRST IRISH MONASTERIES
"The Tribes of the Saints"--Small oratories in the West--Plan of monastic life--Ready acceptance of Christianity.
COLUMBA AND THE WESTERN CHURCH
Birth of Columba--His journey to Iona--His character and humanity--Conversion of Saxon England--Schism between Western Church and Papacy--Synod of Whitby--The Irish Church at home.
THE NORTHERN SCOURGE
Ireland divided into five kingdoms--The Ard-Reagh--Arrival of Vikings--Thorgist or Turgesius?--Later Viking invaders--The round towers--Dublin founded--Hatred between the two races.
BRIAN OF THE TRIBUTE
Two deliverers--Defeat of the Vikings at Sulcost--Brian becomes king of Munster--Seizes Cashel--Overcomes Malachy--Becomes king of Ireland--Celtic theory of loyalty--Fresh Viking invasion--Battle of Clontarf--Death of Brian Boru.