It is unclear when literacy first came to Ireland. The earliest Irish writings are inscriptions, mostly simple memorials, on stone in the ogham alphabet, the earliest of which date to the fourth century. Ogham (ogam ˈɔɣam Modern Irish or, English) is an Early Medieval Alphabet used primarily to represent the Old Irish language (and The Latin alphabet was in use by 431, when the fifth century Gaulish chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine records that Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine I as the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ. Saint Prosper of Aquitaine (c 390 – c 455 a Christian writer and disciple of Saint Augustine of Hippo, was the first continuator of Jerome 's Universal Palladius (fl 408-431 probably died ca 457/461 was the first Bishop of the Christians of Ireland, preceding Saint Patrick. Pope  Pelagius, an influential British heretic who taught in Rome in the early 5th century, fragments of whose writings survive, is said by Jerome to have been of Irish descent. Pelagius (ca 354 &ndash ca 420/440 was an ascetic monk who denied the doctrine of Original sin, later developed by Augustine of Hippo, and Jerome (c 347 – September 30, 420) ( Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος  Coelius Sedulius, the 5th century author of the Carmen Paschale, who has been called the "Virgil of theological poetry", was probably also Irish: the 9th century Irish geographer Dicuil calls him noster Sedulius ("our Sedulius"), and the Latin name Sedulius usually translates the Irish name Siadal. Coelius (or Caelius, both styles of Praenomen of doubtful authenticity Sedulius, was a Christian Poet of the first Dicuil was an Irish monk and geographer born in the second half of the 8th century; date of death unknown
Two works written by Saint Patrick, his Confessio ("Declaration", a brief autobiography intended to justify his activities to the church in Britain) and Epistola ("Letter", condemning the raiding and slaving activities in Ireland of a British king, Coroticus), survive. Saint Patrick (Patricius Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Roman Britain -born Christian Missionary and is the Patron saint Ceretic Guletic of Alt Clut was a king of Alt Clut (modern Dumbarton) in the Fifth century. They were written in Latin some time in the 5th century, and preserved in the Book of Armagh, dating to around 812, and a number of later manuscripts. The Book of Armagh or Codex Ardmachanus ( ar or 61) is a 9th century Irish Manuscript held by the Library of Trinity  The 6th century saint Colum Cille is known to have written, but only one work which may be his has survived: the psalter known as the Cathach or "Book of Battles", now in the Royal Irish Academy. WikipediaPersondata --> See Columba (disambiguation and St Columb for other uses The Royal Irish Academy ( RIA) (Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann is an all-Ireland, independent academic body that promotes study and excellence in the Sciences Another important early writer in Latin is Columbanus (543-615), a missionary from Leinster who founded several monasteries in continental Europe, from whose hand survive sermons, letters and monastic rules, as well as poetry attributed to him whose authenticity is uncertain. Not to be confused with St Columba, also Irish and partly his contemporary The earliest identifiable writer in the Irish language is Dallán Forgaill, who wrote the Amra Coluim Chille, a poetic elegy to Colum Cille, shortly after the subject's death in 597. Saint Dallan Forgaill (Dallan Forchella Dallan Forgaill Dallan of Cluain Dallain Eochaidh) was a Christian Irish Poet. The Amra is written in archaic Old Irish and is not perfectly understood. Old Irish is the name given to the oldest form of the Irish language, or rather the Goidelic languages, for which extensive written texts are possessed It is preserved in heavily annotated versions in manuscripts from the 12th century on.  Only a little later, in the early 7th century, Luccreth moccu Chiara, a Kerryman, wrote poems recording the legendary origins of Munster dynasties, including Conailla Medb michuru ("Medb enjoined illegal contracts"), which contains the oldest surviving reference to characters and events from the Ulster Cycle. Luccreth moccu (or mocu) Chíara (or Cíara Chérrai Cheri Cerai Gerai, etc County Kerry ( Contae Chiarraí in Irish) is a southwestern county of Ireland. Texts in translation Most of the important Ulster Cycle tales can be found in the following publications Thomas Kinsella, The Táin, Oxford University 
The oldest surviving manuscripts containing examples of the written Irish language date to the 8th century. Irish (ga ''Gaeilge'' is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish. Their Irish contents consist of glosses written between the lines or on the margins of religious works in Latin, most of them preserved in monasteries in Switzerland, Germany, France, and Italy, having been taken there by early Irish missionaries, and where, not being understood, they were rarely consulted and did not wear out, unlike their counterparts in Ireland. This article is about the literary term For other uses see Gloss (disambiguation.  The oldest manuscript with significant Irish language content preserved in Ireland is the Book of Armagh (c. 812). These early glosses, though of little interest outside of philology, show the wide learning of the commentators and the extraordinary development, even at that early period, of the language in which they wrote. See Comparative linguistics for the narrower field of "comparative philology" Their language and style, says Kuno Meyer, stand on a high level in comparison with those of the Old High German glosses. Kuno Meyer ( 20 December 1858 &ndash 11 October 1919) was a German scholar distinguished in the field of Celtic literature "We find here", he writes, "a fully-formed learned prose style which allows even the finest shades of thought to be easily and perfectly expressed, from which we must conclude that there must have been a long previous culture [of the language] going back at the very least to the beginning of the sixth century".  These glosses are to be found at Wurtzburg, St. Gall, Karlsruhe, Milan, Turin, St. Paul in Carinthia, and elsewhere. Würzburg (ˈvʏɐ̯ʦbʊɐ̯k is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany Saint Gall, Gallen, or Gallus (c 550 - c 646 was an Irish disciple and one of the traditionally twelve companions of Saint Columbanus Karlsruhe (ˈkaɐ̯lsʁuːə population 285812 in 2006 is a city in the south west of Germany, in the Bundesland Baden-Württemberg, located near Milan (Milano Milan (listen) is one of the largest cities in Italy, located in the plains of Lombardy. Sankt Paul im Lavanttal is a municipality of the Wolfsberg discrict Carinthia, Austria. The Liber Hymnorum and the Stowe Missal are, after the glosses and the Book of Armagh, perhaps the most ancient manuscripts in which Irish is written. The Stowe Missal is a translation of the Latin and Gaelic Missal and was transcribed at Lorrha Monastery in the Ninth century They date from about 900 to 1050.
The oldest books of miscellaneous literature are the Lebor na hUidre, or "Book of the Dun Cow", transcribed about 1100, and the Book of Leinster, which dates from about fifty years later. Lebor na hUidre, or the Book of the Dun Cow, is an Irish Vellum Manuscript dating to the 12th century The Book of Leinster ( Irish Lebor Laignech) formerly known as the Book of Noughaval ( Lebor na Nuachongbála) is a Medieval Irish These books are great miscellaneous literary collections. After them come many valuable vellums. Vellum (from the Old French Vélin for "calfskin" is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on single pages scrolls codices or books The date at which these manuscripts were penned is no criterion of the date at which their contents were first written, for many of them contain literature which, from the ancient forms of words and other indications, must have been committed to writing at least as early as the 7th century. We cannot carry these pieces farther back with firm certainty using linguistic methods, but it is evident from their contents that many of them must have been orally transmitted for centuries before they were committed to writing. It must also be noted that a 17th century manuscript may sometimes give a more correct version of a 7th century piece than a vellum many centuries older.
The exact number of Irish manuscripts still existing has never been accurately determined. The number in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, alone is enormous, probably amounting to some fifteen hundred. The Royal Irish Academy ( RIA) (Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann is an all-Ireland, independent academic body that promotes study and excellence in the Sciences O'Curry, O'Longan, and O'Beirne catalogued a little more than half the manuscripts in the Academy, and the catalogue filled thirteen volumes containing 3448 pages; to these an alphabetic index of the pieces contained was made in three volumes, and an index of the principle names, etc. in thirteen volumes more. From an examination of these books one may roughly calculate that the pieces catalogued would number about eight or ten thousand, varying from long epic sagas to single quatrains or stanzas, and yet there remains a great deal more to be indexed, a work which after a delay of very many years is happily now at last in process of accomplishment. The Library of Trinity College, Dublin, also contains a great number of valuable manuscripts of all ages, many of them vellums, probably about 160. The Trinity College Library, the centrally-administered Library of Trinity College, Dublin, is the largest library in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin ( TCD; Irish Coláiste na Tríonóide Baile Átha Cliath; Latin: Collegium Sacrosanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae The British Museum, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, the Advocates Library in Edinburgh, and the Bibliothèque Royale in Brussels are all repositories of a large number of valuable manuscripts. The British Museum is a Museum of human history and culture in London. The Bodleian Library ( the main Research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in England The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University" or simply "Oxford" located in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England is the The Advocates' Library is a Law library belonging to the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, founded in 1682 The Royal Library of Belgium ( Koninklijke Bibliotheek in Dutch, Bibliothèque Royale in French, abbreviated
From what we know of the contents of the existing manuscripts we may set down as follows a rough classification of the literature contained in them. We may well begin with the ancient epics dating substantially from pagan times, probably first written down in the seventh century or even earlier. These epics generally contain verses of poetry and often whole poems, just as in the case of the French chantefable, Aucassin et Nicollet. After the substantially pagan efforts may come the early Christian literature, especially the lives of the saints, which are both numerous and valuable, visions, homilies, commentaries on the Scriptures, monastic rules, prayers, hymns, and all possible kinds of religious and didactic poetry. After these we may place the many ancient annals, and there exists besides a great mass of genealogical books, tribal histories, and semi-historical romances. After this may come the bardic poetry of Ireland, the poetry of the hereditary poets attached to the great Gaelic families and the provincial kings, from the 9th century down to the 17th. Then follow the Brehon Laws and other legal treaties, and an enormous quantity of writings on Irish and Latin grammar, glossaries of words, metrical tracts, astronomical, geographical, and medical works. Early Irish law refers to the statutes that governed everyday life and politics in Ireland during the Gaelic period. Nor is there any lack of free translations from classical and medieval literature, such as Lucan's Bellum Civile, Bede's Historica Ecclesiastica, Mandeville's Travels, Arthurian romances and the like. Pharsalia was also an ancient district in Greece in which Pharsalus was located The Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (in English: Ecclesiastical History of the English People) is a work in Latin by the King Arthur is a legendary British leader who according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against the Saxon invaders To this catalogue may perhaps be added the unwritten folk-lore of the island both in prose and verse which has only lately begun to be collected, but of which considerable collections have already been made. Such, then, is a brief and bald résumé of what the student will find before him in the Irish language.
There may be observed in this list two remarkable omissions. There is no epic handed down entirely in verse, and there is no dramatic literature. The Irish epic is in prose, though it is generally interwoven with numerous poems, for though epic poems exist in rhyme, such as some of the Ossianic poems, they are of modern date, and none of the great and ancient epics are constructed in this way. Ossian is the narrator and supposed author of a cycle of poems which the Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources in the The absence of the drama, however, is more curious still. Highly cultivated as Irish literature undoubtedly was, and excellent scholars both in Greek and Latin as the early Irish were, nevertheless they do not seem to have produced even a miracle play. It has been alleged that some of the Ossianic poems, especially those containing a semi-humorous, semi-serious dialogue between the last of the great pagans, the poet Oisín (Ossian as he is called in Scotland), and the first of the great Christian leaders, St. Oisín ( Old Irish, pronounced /ˈɔʃiːnʲ/ or roughly "ush-een" often anglicized to Ossian) son of Fionn mac Cumhail and of Sadb (daughter Patrick, were originally intended to be acted, or at least recited, by different people. If this be really so, then the Irish had at least the rudiments of a drama, but they never appear to have carried it beyond these rudiments, and the absence of all real dramatic attempt, however it may be accounted for, is one of the first things that is likely to strike with astonishment the student of comparative literature.
In Ireland, the prose epic or saga developed, and kept on developing, for well over a thousand years. In the Book of Leinster, a manuscript of the middle 12th century, we find a list of the names of 187 epic sagas. The Book of Leinster ( Irish Lebor Laignech) formerly known as the Book of Noughaval ( Lebor na Nuachongbála) is a Medieval Irish The ollam, or arch-poet, who was the highest dignitary among the poets, and whose training lasted for some twelve years, was obliged to learn two hundred and fifty of these prime sagas and one hundred secondary ones. In Irish Ollam or Ollamh (anglicised Ollave or Ollav) is a master in a particular trade or skill
The manuscripts themselves divide these prime sagas into the following categories, from the very names of which we may get a glance of the genius of the early Gael, and form some conception of the tragic nature of his epic: Destruction of Fortified Places, Cow Spoils (i. The Táin Bó, or cattle raid (literally "driving-off of cows" is one of the Genres of Early Irish literature. e. , cattle-raids), Courtships or Wooings, Battles, Stories of Caves, Navigations, Tragical Deaths, Feasts, Sieges, Adventures of Travel, Elopements, Slaughters, Water-eruptions, Expeditions, Progresses, and Visions. "He is no poet", says the Book of Leinster, "who does not synchronize and harmonize all these stories. "
In addition to the names of 187 sagas in that book, there exist the names of many more that occur in the 10th or 11th century tale of MacCoise, and all the known ones, with the exception of one added later and another in which there is evidently an error in transcription, refer to events prior to the year 650 or thereabouts. We may take it then that the list was drawn up in the 7th century. Who were the authors of these sagas? That is a question that cannot be answered. There is not a trace of authorship remaining, if, indeed, authorship be the right word for what is far more likely to have been the gradual growth of stories, woven around racial, or tribal, or even family history, and in some cases around incidents of early Celtic mythology, thus forming stories which were ever being told and retold, burnished up and added to by professional poets and saga-tellers, and which were, some of them, handed down for perhaps countless generations before they were ever put on parchments or before lists of their names and contents were made by scholars. Celtic mythology is the Mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the Religion of the Iron Age Celts Like other Iron Age Those which recount ancient tribal events or dynastic wars were probably much exaggerated, magnified, and undoubtedly distorted during the course of time; others, again, of more recent growth, give us perhaps fairly accurate accounts of real events.
It seems quite certain that, as soon as Christianity had pervaded the island, and bardic schools and colleges had been formed alongside of the monasteries, there was no class of learning more popular than that which taught the great traditional doings, exploits, and tragedies of the various tribes and families and races of Ireland. Then the peregrinations of the bards and the inter-communication among their colleges must have propagated throughout all Ireland any local traditions that were worthy of preservation. The very essence of the national life of the island was embodied in these stories, but, unfortunately, few only of their enormous number have survived to our days, and even these are mostly mutilated or preserved in mere digests. Some, however, exist at nearly full length, although probably in no case are they written down in the ancient vellums in just the same manner as they would have been recounted by the professional poet, for the writers of most of the early vellums were not the poets but generally Christian monks, who took an interest and a pride in preserving the early memorials of their race, and who cultivated the native language to such an amazing degree that at a very early period it was used alongside Latin, and soon almost displaced it, even in the domain of the Church itself. This patriotism of the Irish monks and this early cultivation of the vernacular are the more remarkable when we know that it is the very reverse of what took place throughout the rest of Europe, where the almost exclusive use of Latin by the Church was the principal means of destroying native and pagan tradition. In spite, however, of the irrevocable losses inflicted upon the Irish race by the Northmen from the end of the 8th to the middle of the 11th century, and of the ravages of the Normans after their so-called conquest, and of the later and more ruthless destructions wrought wholesale and all over the island by the Elizabethan and Cromwellian English, O'Curry was able to assert that the content of the strictly historical tales known to him would be sufficient to fill up 4,000 large quarto pages. A Viking is one of the Norse ( Scandinavian Explorers Warriors Merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas The Normans were the people who gave their names to Normandy, a region in northern France. Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 Old Style &ndash 3 September 1658 Old Style) was an English military and political leader best known He computes that the tales belonging to the Ossianic and the Fenian cycle would fill 3,000 more, and that, in addition to these, the miscellaneous and imaginative cycles which are neither historical nor Fenian, would fill 5,000. Ossian is the narrator and supposed author of a cycle of poems which the Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources in the The Fenian Cycle or Fiannaidheacht (modern Irish Fiannaíocht) also known as the Fionn Cycle, Finn Cycle, Fianna Cycle, Finnian
The bulk of the ancient stories and some of the ancient poems were probably, as we have seen, committed to writing by monks of the 7th century, but are themselves substantially pagan in origin, conception, and colouring. And yet there is scarcely one of them in which some Christian allusion to heaven, or hell, or the Deity, or some Biblical subject, does not appear. The reason of this seems to be that, when Christianity succeeded in gaining the upper hand over paganism, a kind of tacit compromise was arrived at, by means of which the bard, and the fili (i. Etymology The word is a Loanword from descendant languages of Proto-Celtic *bardos, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gwerh2 FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange is an expert and export organisation which supports the translation printing and publishing of literature and promotes the awareness of Finnish literature e. , poet), and the representative of the old pagan learning were permitted by the sympathetic clerics to propagate their stories, tales, poems, and genealogies, at the price of tacking on to them a little Christian admixture, just as the vessels of some feudatory nations are compelled to fly at the masthead the flag of the suzerain power. But so badly has the dovetailing of the Christian into the pagan part been performed in most of the oldest romances that the pieces come away quite separate in the hands of even the least skilled analyser, and the pagan substratum stands forth entirely distinct from the Christian accretion. Thus, for example, in the evidently pagan saga called the Wooing of Étaín, we find the description of the pagan paradise given its literary passport, so to speak, by a cunningly interwoven allusion to Adam's fall. Étaín was the wife of one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, who were gods. For the French town see Etain In Irish mythology Étaín (sometimes spelt Edain, Aideen, Etaoin The Tuatha Dé Danann ("peoples of the Goddess Danu " Modern Irish pronunciation /t̪ˠuːəhə dʲeː d̪ˠan̪ˠən̪ˠ/ Old Irish /tuːaθa ðʲeː She is reborn as a mortal — the pagan Irish seem, like the Gaulish druids, to have believed in metempsychosis — and weds the king of Ireland. A druid was a member of the priestly and learned class in the ancient Celtic societies Reincarnation Metempsychosis is a philosophical term in the Greek language referring to the belief of Transmigration of the soul, especially its Reincarnation Her former husband of the Tuatha Dé Danann still loves her, follows her into life as a mortal, and tries to win her back by singing to her a captivating description of the glowing unseen land to which he would lure her. "O lady fair, wouldst thou come with me" he cries "to the wondrous land that is ours", and he describes how "the crimson of the foxglove is in every brake — a beauty of land the land I speak of. youth never grows into old age there, warm sweet streams traverse the country", etc. : and then the evidently pagan description of this land of the gods is made passable by an added verse in which we are adroitly told that, though the inhabitants of this glorious country saw everyone, yet nobody saw them, "because the cloud of Adam's wrongdoing has concealed us".
It is this easy analysis of the early Irish literature into its ante-Christian and post-Christian elements which lends to it an absorbing interest and a great value in the history of European thought. For, when all spurious accretions have been stripped off, we find in it a genuine picture of pagan life in Europe, such as we look for in vain elsewhere. "The church adopted [in Ireland] towards Pagan sagas the same position that it adopted toward Pagan law [. . . ] I see no reasons for doubting that really genuine pictures of a pre-Christian culture are preserved to us in the individual sagas.  "The saga originated in Pagan and was propagated in Christian times, and that too without its seeking fresh nutriment, as a rule, from Christian elements. But we must ascribe it to the influence of Christianity that what is specifically pagan in Irish saga is blurred over and forced into the background. And yet there exist many whose contents are plainly mythological. The Christian monks were certainly not the first who reduced the ancient sagas to fixed form. but later on they copied them faithfully and promulgated them after Ireland had been converted to Christianity". 
When it is understood that the ancient Irish sagas record, even though it be in a more or less distorted fashion, in some cases reminiscences of a past mythology, and in others real historical events, dating from the pagan times, then it needs only a moment's reflection to realize their value. "Nothing" writes Zimmer "except a spurious criticism which takes for original and primitive the most palpable nonsense of which Middle-Irish writers from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth century are guilty with regard to their own antiquity, which is in many respects strange and foreign to them, nothing but such a criticism can on the other hand make the attempt to doubt of the historical character of the chief persons of the saga cycles. For we believe that Méve, Conor MacNessa, Cuchulainn, and Fionn mac Cumhaill (Cool) are just as much historical personalities as Arminius or Dietrich of Berne or Etzel, and their date is just as well determined. Medb ( Old Irish spelling mɛðv Meḋḃ Meaḋḃ modern Meadhbh mɛɣv reformed modern Irish Meabh, Meːv sometimes Anglicised Maeve or Maev Conchobar mac Nessa (son of Ness) is the king of Ulster in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Cúchulainn /kuːˈxʊlɪnʲ/ ( ( Irish for "Hound of Culann " also spelled Cú Chulainn, Cú Chulaind, Cúchulain, or Fionn mac Cumhaill (ˈɸʲiːn̪ˠ mˠak ˈkũw̃aːlʲ in Irish, ˈfɪn mə ˈkuːl in English) (earlier Finn or Find mac Cumail or mac Arminius, also known as Armin or Hermann (18 BC/17 BC - AD 21) was a chieftain of the Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Theodoric the Great (454 – August 30, 526) known to the Romans as Flavius Theodoricus, was king of the Ostrogoths (471-526 ruler of " (Kelt. Studien, fasc. ii, 189. ) The first three of these lived in the 1st century BC, and Finn in the 2nd or 3rd century. D'Arbois de Jubainville expresses himself to the same effect. "We have no reason", he writes, "to doubt the reality of the principal rôle in this [cycle of Cuchulainn]" (Introduction à l'étude de la littérature celtique, 217); and of the story of the Boru tribute imposed on Leinster in the 1st century he writes: "The story has real facts for a basis though certain details may have been created by the imagination"; and again, "Irish epic story, barbarous though it be, is, like Irish law, a monument of a civilization far superior to that of the most ancient Germans" (L'épopée celtique en Irlande, preface, p. Brian mac Cennétig, called Brian Bóruma, ( c 941&ndash23 April 1014 (Brian Boru Brian Bóraimhe was an Irish king who ended the centuries-long domination Leinster (ˈlɛnstər Irish: Laighin, lainʲ one of the Provinces of Ireland, lies in the east of Ireland and comprises the counties of The Germanic peoples are a historical group of Indo-European -speaking peoples originating in Northern Europe and identified by their use of the Germanic xli. ). "Ireland in fact", writes M. Darmesteter in his "English Studies", summing up his legitimate conclusions derived from the works of the great Celtic scholars, "has the peculiar privilege of a history continuous from the earliest centuries of our era to the present days. She has preserved in the infinite wealth of her literature a complete and faithful picture of the ancient civilization of the Celts. Irish literature is therefore the key which opens the Celtic world (Eng. tr. , 1896, 182). But the Celtic world means a large portion of Europe and the key to its past history can be found at present nowhere else than in the Irish manuscripts. Without them we would have to view the past history of a great part of Europe through that distorting medium, the coloured glasses of the Greeks and Romans, to whom all outer nations were barbarians, into whose social life they had no motive for inquiring. Apart from Irish literature we would have no means of estimating what were the feelings, modes of life, manners, and habits of those great Celtic races who once possessed so large a part of the ancient world, Gaul, Belgium, North Italy, parts of Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the British Isles, who burnt Rome, plundered Greece, and colonized Asia Minor. Celts (ˈkɛlts or /ˈsɛlts/, see Names of the Celts Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia in modern Turkey. But in the ancient epics of Ireland we find another standard by which to measure, and through this early Irish medium we get a clear view of the life and manners of the race in one of its strongholds, and we find many characteristic customs of the continental Celts, which are just barely mentioned or alluded to by Greek and Roman writers, reappearing in all the circumstance and expansion of saga-telling.
Of such is the custom of the "Hero's Bit", mentioned by Posidonius, upon which one of the most famous Irish sagas, "Bricriu's Feast", is founded. Posidonius ( Greek: Ποσειδώνιος / Poseidonios "of Apameia " (ὁ Απαμεύς or "of Rhodes " (ὁ Ρόδιος (ca Fled Bricrenn ( Old Irish " Bricriu 's Feast" is a story from the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Again the chariot, which had become obsolete in Gaul a couple of hundred years before Caesar's invasion, is described repeatedly in the sagas of Ireland, and in the greatest of the epic cycles the warriors are always represented as fighting from their chariots. The chariot is the earliest and simplest type of Carriage, used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples We find, as Diodorus Siculus mentions, that the bards had power to make battles cease by interposing with song between the combatants. Caesar says (Gallic War, 6. The Gallic Wars were a series of Military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes, lasting from 14) the Gaulish druids spent twenty years in studying and learned a great number of verses, but Irish literature tells us what the arch-poet, probably the counterpart of the Gaulish druid, actually did learn. "The manners and customs in which the men of the time lived and moved are depicted", writes Windisch, "with a naive realism which leaves no room for doubt as to the former actuality of the scenes depicted. In matter of costume and weapons, eating and drinking, building and arrangement of the banqueting hall, manners observed at the feasts and much more, we find here the most valuable information" (Ir. Texte I, 252). "I insist", he says elsewhere, "that Irish saga is the only richly-flowing source of unbroken Celtism. " "It is the ancient Irish language", says d'Arbois de Jubainville, "that forms the connecting point between the neo-Celtic languages and the Gaulish of the inscribed stones, coins, and proper names preserved in Greek and Roman literature. " It is evident then that those of the great Continental nations of to-day whose ancestors were mostly Celtic, but whose language, literature, and traditions have completely disappeared, must, if they wish to study their own past, turn themselves to Ireland, and there they will find the dry bones of Posidonius and Caesar rise up before them in a ruddy covering of flesh and blood which, for the first time, will enable them to see what manner of men were their own forebears.
There are three great cycles in Irish story-telling, two of them very full, but the third, in many ways the most interesting, is now but scantily represented. The Mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not entirely survive the conversion to Christianity, but much of it was preserved shorn of its religious meanings
This last cycle was the purely mythological one, dealing with the Tuatha Dé Danann, the gods of good, and the Fomorians, gods of darkness and evil, and giving us, under the apparently early history of the various races that colonised Ireland, really a distorted early Celtic pantheon. The Mythological Cycle is one of the four major cycles of Irish mythology, and is so called because it represents the remains of the pagan Mythology of The Tuatha Dé Danann ("peoples of the Goddess Danu " Modern Irish pronunciation /t̪ˠuːəhə dʲeː d̪ˠan̪ˠən̪ˠ/ Old Irish /tuːaθa ðʲeː In Irish mythology, the Fomorians, Fomors, or Fomori ( Irish Fomóiri, Fomóraig) were a semi-divine race who inhabited According to these accounts, the Nemedians first seized upon the islands and were oppressed by the Fomorians, who are described as African sea-robbers; these races nearly exterminated each other at the fight round Conand's Tower on Tory Island. In Irish mythology, Nemed ("holy" or "privileged" son of Agnoman of Scythia was the leader of the third group of inhabitants of Ireland In Irish mythology Conand (or Conann, Conaing) was a leader of the Fomorians who lived in a tower on Tory Island. Tory Island (official name Toraigh and also known in Irish as Oileán Thoraigh or previously Oileán Thúr Rí) is an island in Ireland Some of the Nemedians escaped to Greece and came back a couple of hundred years later calling themselves Fir Bolg. In Irish mythology the Fir Bolg (Fir Bholg Firbolg were one of the races that inhabited the island of Ireland prior to the arrival of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Others of the Nemedians who escaped came back later, calling themselves the Tuatha Dé Danann. These last fought the battle of North Moytura and beat the Fir Bolg. Cath Maige Tuired ("The Battle of Mag Tuired" is the name of two saga texts of the Mythological Cycle of Irish Mythology. They fought the battle of South Moytura later and beat the Fomorians. They held the island until the Gaels, also called Milesians or Scoti, came in and vanquished them. Milesians are a people figuring in Irish mythology. The descendants of Míl Espáine, they were the final inhabitants of Ireland, and were believed to represent Scoti or Scotti ( Old Irish Scot, modern Scottish Gaelic Sgaothaich) was the generic name given by the Romans to the Good sagas about both of these battles are preserved, each existing in only a single copy. Nearly all the rest of this most interesting cycle has been lost or is to be found merely in condensed summaries. These mythological pieces dealt with people, dynasties, and probably the struggle between good and evil principles. There is over it all a sense of vagueness and uncertainty.
The heroic cycle (or Red Branch, Cúchulainn, or Ulster Cycle as it is variously called), on the other hand, deals with the history of the Milesians themselves within a brief but well-defined period, and we seem here to find ourselves not far removed from historical ground. Texts in translation Most of the important Ulster Cycle tales can be found in the following publications Thomas Kinsella, The Táin, Oxford University The Red Branch ( in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology was the name of two of the three royal houses of the king of Ulster, Conchobar mac Nessa Cúchulainn /kuːˈxʊlɪnʲ/ ( ( Irish for "Hound of Culann " also spelled Cú Chulainn, Cú Chulaind, Cúchulain, or Texts in translation Most of the important Ulster Cycle tales can be found in the following publications Thomas Kinsella, The Táin, Oxford University The romances belonging to this cycle are sharply drawn, numerous, and ancient, many of them fine both in conception and execution. The time is about the birth of Christ, and the figures of Cúchulainn, King Conchobar mac Nessa, Fergus mac Róich, Naoise, Medb, Deirdre, Conall Cernach, and their fellows, have far more circumstantially about them than the dim, mist-magnified, distorted forms of the mysterious Dagda, Nuada of the Silver Hand, Bres, Balor of the Evil Eye, Dana, and the other beings which we find in the mythological cycle. Conchobar mac Nessa (son of Ness) is the king of Ulster in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Fergus mac Róich (son of Ró-ech or "great horse" also mac Róig, mac Rossa) is a character of the Ulster Cycle of Irish In Irish mythology, Naoise (also spelled Noisiu) was the nephew of King Conchobar mac Nessa of Ulster, and a son of Usnech (or Medb ( Old Irish spelling mɛðv Meḋḃ Meaḋḃ modern Meadhbh mɛɣv reformed modern Irish Meabh, Meːv sometimes Anglicised Maeve or Maev Deirdre or Derdriu is the foremost tragic heroine in Irish mythology. Conall Cernach is a heroic warrior of the Ulaid in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. For the legendary Irish High King see Bres Rí; for the Marvel Comics character see Bres (comics In Irish mythology, Bres For the locality in Mangalore. see Bolar (Location. In Irish mythology, Balor ( Balar, Bolar) of the In Irish mythology, Danu (Old Irish or Dana (the Modern Gaelic and Scottish form was the mother Goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann (peoples The best known and greatest of all these sagas is the Táin Bo Cúailgne, or "Cattle-Raid of Cooley", a district in the county of Louth. Louth is the name of several locations around the world County Louth, Ireland the village of Louth in County Louth It gives a full account of the struggle between Connacht and Ulster, and the hero of the piece, as indeed of the whole Ulster Cycle, is the youthful Cúchulainn, the Hector of Ireland, the most chivalrous of enemies. Ulster ( Ulaidh ˈkwɪɟɪ ˈʌlˠu / ˈʌlˠi is one of the four provinces of Ireland, in addition to Connacht, Munster and Leinster In Greek mythology, Hectōr ( "holding fast" or Hektōr, is a Trojan prince and one of the greatest fighters in the This long saga contains many episodes drawn together and formed into a single whole, a kind of Irish Iliad, and the state of society which it describes from the point of culture-development is considerably older and more primitive than that of the Greek epic. The Iliad ( Greek: Ἰλιάς (Ancient Ιλιάδα (Modern is together with the Odyssey, one of two ancient The number of stories that belong to this cycle is considerable. Standish Hayes O'Grady has reckoned ninety-six (appendix to Eleanor Hull's Cuchullin Saga), of which eighteen seem now to be wholly lost, and many others very much abbreviated, though they were all doubtless at one time told at considerable length.
After the Red Branch or heroic cycle we find a very comprehensive and even more popular body of romance woven round Fionn Mac Cumhaill, his son Oisin, his grandson Oscar, in the reigns of the High Kings Conn of the Hundred Battles, his son Art Oénfer, and his grandson Cormac mac Airt, in the second and third centuries. The Fenian Cycle or Fiannaidheacht (modern Irish Fiannaíocht) also known as the Fionn Cycle, Finn Cycle, Fianna Cycle, Finnian Fionn mac Cumhaill (ˈɸʲiːn̪ˠ mˠak ˈkũw̃aːlʲ in Irish, ˈfɪn mə ˈkuːl in English) (earlier Finn or Find mac Cumail or mac Oisín ( Old Irish, pronounced /ˈɔʃiːnʲ/ or roughly "ush-een" often anglicized to Ossian) son of Fionn mac Cumhail and of Sadb (daughter Oscar ( oscara = 'deerlover' is a figure in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. A High King of Ireland ( Ard Rí na hÉireann) is a historical or legendary figure who claimed lordship over the whole of Ireland. Conn Cétchathach ("of the Hundred Battles" pron /kɒn 'keːdxəθax son of Fedlimid Rechtmar, was according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition Art mac Cuinn ("son of Conn " also known as Art Óenfer (literally "one man" used in the sense of "lone" "solitary" Cormac mac Airt (son of Art) also known as Cormac ua Cuinn (grandson of Conn) or Cormac Ulfada (long beard was according to medieval Irish This cycle of romance is usually called the Fenian cycle because it deals so largely with Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his fianna (militia). The Fenian Cycle or Fiannaidheacht (modern Irish Fiannaíocht) also known as the Fionn Cycle, Finn Cycle, Fianna Cycle, Finnian In early Ireland, fianna (singular fian) were small semi-independent warrior bands who lived apart from society in the forests as These, according to Irish historians, were a body of Irish janissaries maintained by the Irish kings for the purpose of guarding their coasts and fighting their battles, but they ended by fighting the king himself and were destroyed by the famous Battle of Gabhra. As the heroic cycle is often called the Ulster cycle, so this is also known as the Leinster cycle of sagas, because it may have had its origin, as MacNeill has suggested, amongst the Galeoin, a non-Milesian tribe and subject race, who dwelt around the Hill of Allen in Leinster. This whole body of romance is of later growth or rather expresses a much later state of civilization than the Cúchulainn stories. There is no mention of fighting in chariots, of the Hero's Bit, or of many other characteristics which mark the antiquity of the Ulster cycle. Very few pieces belonging to the Fionn story are found in Old Irish, and the great mass of texts is of Middle and Late Irish growth. The extension of the story to all the Gaelic-speaking parts of the kingdom is placed by MacNeill between the years 400 and 700; up to this time it was (as the product of a vassal race) propagated only orally. Various parts of the Fionn saga seem to have developed in different quarters of the country, that about Diarmuid Ua Duibhne in South Munster, and that about Goll mac Morna in Connacht. Diarmuid Ua Duibhne or Diarmid O'Dyna (also known as Diarmuid of the love spot is a son of Donn and a warrior of the Fianna in the Fenian Cycle Goll mac Morna (or Goal mac Morn) was a member of the Fianna and an uneasy ally of Fionn mac Cumhail in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology Certain it is that this cycle was by far the most popular and widely spread of the three, being familiarly known in every part of Ireland and of Gaelic-speaking Scotland even to the present day. It developed also in a direction of its own, for though none of the heroic tales are wholly in verse, yet the number of Ossianic epopees, ballads, and poems is enormous, amounting to probably some 50,000 lines, mostly in the more modern language.
Perhaps no country that ever adopted Christianity was so thoroughly and rapidly permeated and perhaps saturated with its language and concepts as was Ireland. It adopted and made its own in secular life scores and hundreds of words originally used by the Church for ecclesiastical purposes. Even to the present day we find in Irish words like póg, borrowed from the Latin for "[the kiss] of peace", pac[is], Old Irish póc; the word for rain, báisteach, is from baptizare, and meant originally "the water of baptism". From the same root comes baitheas, "the crown of the head", i. e. the baptized part. A common word for warrior, or hero, laich, now laoch, is simply from laicus, a layman. The Latin language was, of course, the one used for religious purposes, both in prose and verse, for some time after the introduction of Christianity. In it were written the earliest hymns: Patrick used it in his "Confession", as did Adaman in his "Life of Columcille". WikipediaPersondata --> See Columba (disambiguation and St Columb for other uses But already by the middle of the 8th century the native language had largely displaced it all over Ireland as a medium for religious thought, for homilies, for litanies, books of devotion, and the lives of saints. We find the Irish language used in a large religious literature, much of which is native, some of which represents lost Latin originals which are now known to us only in the Irish translations. One interesting development in this class of literature is the visions-literature beginning with the vision of St. Fursa, which is given at some length by Bede, and of which Sir Francis Palgrave states that "tracing the course of thought upwards we have no difficulty in deducing the poetic genealogy of Dante's Inferno to the Milesian Fursæus". These "visions" were very popular in Ireland, and so numerous they gave rise to the parody, the 12th century "Vision of Mac Conglinne". More important than these, however, are the lives of the saints, because many of them, dating back to a very remote period, throw a great deal of light on the manners of the early Irish. In the first half of the 17th century Brother Michael O'Cleary, a Franciscan, travelled round Ireland and made copies of between thirty and forty lives of Irish saints, which are still preserved in the Burgundian library at Brussels. Nine, at least, exist elsewhere in ancient vellums. A part of one of them, the voyage of St. Brendan, spread all through Europe, but the Latin version is much more complete than any existing Irish one, the original having probably been lost. Saint Brendan of Clonfert or Bréanainn of Clonfert (c 484 &ndash c
Owing to the nature of the case, and considering the isolation of Ireland, it is extremely difficult, or rather impossible, to procure independent foreign testimony, to the truth of Irish annals. But, although such testimony is denied us, yet there happily exists another kind of evidence to which we may appeal with comparative confidence. This is nothing less than the records of natural phenomena reported in the annals, for if it can be shown by calculating backwards, as modern science has enabled us to do, that such natural phenomena as the appearance of comets or the occurrence of eclipses are recorded to the day and hour by the annalists, then we can also say with something like certainty that these phenomena were recorded at their appearance by writers who personally observed them, and whose writings must have been actually consulted and seen by these later annalists whose books we now possess. If we take, let us say, the "Annals of Ulster", which treat of Ireland and Irish history from about the year 444, but of which the written copy dates only from the 15th century, we find that they contain from the year 496 to 884 as many as eighteen records of eclipses and comets, and all these agree exactly to the day and hour with the calculations of modern astronomers. The Annals of Ulster ( Annála Uladh) are a Chronicle of medieval Ireland. Events By Place Europe The Irish city of Armagh is founded by St An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when one Celestial object moves into the shadow of another A comet is a small Solar System body that orbits the Sun and when close enough to the Sun exhibits a visible coma (atmosphere or a tail — How impossible it is to keep such records unless written memoranda are made of them at the time by eyewitnesses is shown by the fact that Bede, born in 675, in recording the great solar eclipse which took place only eleven years before his own birth, is yet two days astray in his date; while on the other hand the "Annals of Ulster" give, not only the correct day, but the correct hour, thus showing that their compiler, Cathal Maguire, had access either to the original, or a copy of an original, account by an eyewitness. Whenever any side-lights have been thrown from an external quarter on the Irish annals, either from Cymric, Saxon, or Continental sources, they have always tended to show their accuracy. We may take it then without any credulity on our part, that Irish history as recorded in the annals may be pretty well relied upon from the 4th century onward.
The first scholar whom we know to have written connected annals was Tighearnach, Abbott of Clonmacnoise, who died in 1088. He began in Latin with the founding of Rome; later on he makes occasional mention of Irish affairs, and lays it down that Irish history is not to be trusted before the reign of Cimbaed, that is, prior to about the year 300 BC, Omnia monimeta Scotorum [the Irish were always called Scotti till into the late Middle Ages] usque Cimbaed incerta erant. In the 4th century BC the references to Ireland become fuller and more numerous, they are partly in Latin, partly in Irish, but towards the end of the work Latin gives way to the native speech. The greatest book of annals, with a few trifling exceptions also the latest, is known under the title of the "Four Masters". Annals of the Four Masters AD432 entryjpg|thumb|right|Entry for A It is evident from the entries that the compilers of the "annals of Ulster" and the rest copied from ancient originals. In the "Annals of Ulster" for instance, we read under the year 439 Chronicon magnum scriptum est, at the years 467 and 468 the compiler writes sic in libro Cuanach inveni, at 482 ut Cuana scriptsit, at 507 secundum librum Mochod, at 628 sicut in libro Dubhdaleithe narratur, etc. No nation in Europe can boast of so continuous and voluminous a history preserved in a vernacular literature. The only surviving history of Ireland as distinguished from annals was written by Geoffrey Keating, a learned priest, in the first half of the 17th century; it also is taken, almost exclusively, from the old vellum manuscripts then surviving, but which mostly perished, as Keating no doubt foresaw they would, in the cataclysm of the Cromwellian wars. Seathrún Céitinn, known in English as Geoffrey Keating, was a 17th century Irish Roman Catholic priest Poet and Historian
There is no other vernacular poetry in Europe which has gone through so long, so unbroken, and so interesting a period of development as that of the Irish. The history of Irish poetry includes the poetries of two languages one in Irish and the other in English. Bardic Poetry refers to the writings of poets trained in the Bardic Schools of Ireland and the Gaelic parts of Scotland, as they existed down The oldest poems are ascribed to the early Milesians and are perhaps the most ancient pieces of vernacular literature existing. None of the early poems rhymed. There is little we can see to distinguish them from prose except a strong tendency, as in the Germanic languages, toward alliteration, and a leaning toward dissyllables. The Germanic languages are a group of related languages that constitute a branch of the Indo-European (IE Language family. They are also so ancient as to be unintelligible without heavy glosses. This article is about the literary term For other uses see Gloss (disambiguation. It is a tremendous claim to make for the Celt that he "taught Europe to rhyme", yet it has often been made for him, and not by himself, but by such men as Zeuss, the father of Celtic learning, Constantine Nigra, and others. This article is about the poetic technique For the form of ice see Rime ice. Certain it is that by the time of the Irish mission to the continent, as early as the 7th century, we find the Irish had brought the art of rhyming verses to a high pitch of perfection, that is, centuries before most of the vernacular literatures of Europe knew anything at all about it. Irish and Scottish missionaries (Iro-Scottish Hiberno-Scottish were instrumental in the spread of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England and the The 7th century is the period from 601 to 700 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian / Common Era. Nor are their rhymes only such as we are accustomed to in English, French, or German poetry, for they delighted not only in full rhymes, like these nations, but also in assonances, like the Spaniards, and they often thought more of a middle rhyme than of an end rhyme. The following Latin verses, written no doubt after his native models by Aengus Mac Tipraite some time prior to the year 704, will give the reader an idea of the middle or interlinear rhyming which the Irish have practiced from the earliest times down to the present day:
Among the few surviving Old Irish poems of this early period is Pangur Bán, probably written in Reichenau abbey shortly after the year 800. Pangur Bán is an Old Irish poem written in the 8th century in the area of the Reichenau abbey by an Irish monk about his Cat. Reichenau Island lies in Lake Constance in southern Germany, at approximately.
A very curious and interesting peculiarity of a certain sort of Irish verse is a desire to end a second line with a word with a syllable more than that which ends the first, the stress of the voice being thrown back a syllable in the last word of the second line. Thus, if the first line end with an accented monosyllable, the second line will end with a dissyllabic word accented on its first syllable, or if the first line end with a dissyllable accented on its penultimate the second line will end with a trisyllable accented on its ante-penultimate. This is called aird-rinn in Irish, as:
This metre, which from its popularity must be termed the "hexameter of the Irish", is named Deibhidhe (D'yevvee), and well shows in the last two lines the internal rhyme to which we refer. Hexameter is a literary and poetic form consisting of six metrical feet per line as in the Iliad. If it be maintained, as Thurneysen maintains, that the Irish derived their rhyming verses from the Latins, it seems necessary to account for the peculiar forms that so much of this verse assumed in Irish, for the merest glance will show that the earliest Irish verse is full of tours de force, like this aird-runn, which cannot have been derived from Latin. Eduard Rudolf Thurneysen ( March 14 1857 &ndash 9 August 1940) was a Swiss linguist and Celticist. After the 7th century the Irish brought their rhyming system to a pitch of perfection undreamt of by any nation in Europe, even at the present day, and it is no exaggeration to say that perhaps by no people was poetry so cultivated and, better still, so remunerated as in Ireland.
There were two kinds of poets known to the early Gael. the principle of those was called the filè; there were seven grades of filès, the most exalted being called an ollamh. FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange is an expert and export organisation which supports the translation printing and publishing of literature and promotes the awareness of Finnish literature In Irish Ollam or Ollamh (anglicised Ollave or Ollav) is a master in a particular trade or skill These last were so highly esteemed that the annalists often give their obituaries, as though they were so many princes. It took from twelve to twenty years to arrive at this dignity. Some fragments of the old metrical textbooks still exist, showing the courses required from the various grades of poets, in pre-Norse times. One of these, in elucidation of the metric, gives the first lines of three hundred and fifty different poems, all no doubt well known at the time of writing, but of which only about three have come down entire to our own time. If there were seven species of filès there were sixteen grades of bards, each with a different name, and each had its own peculiar metres (of which the Irish had over 300) allotted to him. Etymology The word is a Loanword from descendant languages of Proto-Celtic *bardos, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gwerh2 During the wars with the Norsemen the bards suffered fearfully, and it must have been at this time, that is during the 9th and 10th centuries, that the finely-drawn distinction between poets and bards seems to have come to an end. So highly esteemed was the poetic art in Ireland that Keating in his history tells us that at one time no less than a third of the patrician families of Ireland followed that profession. These constituted a heavy drain on the resources of the country, and at three different periods in Irish history the people tried to shake off their incubus. However, Columcille, who was a poet himself, befriended them; at the Synod of Druim Ceat, in the 6th century, their numbers were reduced and they were shorn of many of their prerogatives; but, on the other hand, public lands were set apart for their colleges, and these continued until the later English conquest, when those who escaped the spear of Elizabeth fell beneath the sword of Cromwell. WikipediaPersondata --> See Columba (disambiguation and St Columb for other uses
This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913. The public domain is a range of abstract materials &ndash commonly referred to as Intellectual property &ndash which are not owned or controlled by anyone The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to today as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language Encyclopedia published by The Encyclopedia