A Strange Reflux

This contemptuous loathing lasted till the year 1745, and was then for a moment succeeded by intense fear and rage. England, thoroughly alarmed, put forth her whole strength. The Highlands were subjugated rapidly, completely, and for ever. During a short time the English nation, still heated by the recent conflict, breathed nothing but vengeance. The […]

The Old Foundations of Life

Gaelic-speaking Ireland, because its art has been made, not only by the artist choosing his material from wherever he has a mind to, but by adding a little to something which it has taken generations to invent, has always had a popular literature. We cannot say how much that literature has done for the vigour […]

Passing History

THE Highlands of Scotland, like many greater things in the world, may be said to be unknown, yet well-known. Thousands of summer tourists every year, and from every part of the civilised world, gaze on the romantic beauties of the Trosachs and Loch Lomond, skirt the Hebrides from the Firth of Clyde to Oban, trundle […]

Patrimonial Possessions of the Ancients

Seventeen hundred years exactly, And fifteen years directly close, From the birth of God to the death of Allan, Whoever should enquire. Our importuning of the Chief over heaven, Grant, O Mary, O Son, our request. That he be in heaven of the angelic orders, If it be the will of our Lord. To the […]

Where All the Women are Strong, All the Men are Good Looking…

The inhabitants of this Island are for the most part of a good stature, strong and nimble, of a good complexion, live verie long, much addicted to hunting, arching, shooting, swimming, wherein they are expert. Their language for the most part is Irish, which is very empathetick, and for its antiquity Scaliger reckons it one […]

As Thicke As Pleates May Lye

With skulles upon their poules, Insteade of civil cappes, With speares in hand and sword by sides, To bear off afterclappes; With jackettes long and large, Which shroud simplicitie: Though spiteful dartes which they do beare Importe iniquitie. Their shirtes be verie straunge, Not reaching paste the thigh, With pleates on pleates they pleated are, […]

The Image of Irelande: Kern Led by Piper

Kern are mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Acts I and V): The merciless Macdonwald– Worthy to be a rebel, for to that The multiplying villanies of nature Do swarm upon him–from the western isles Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied; […] Mark, king of Scotland, mark: No sooner justice had with valour arm’d Compell’d these skipping […]

War Aims of Aodh Mór Ó Néill

Below are the stated war aims of Hugh O’Neill (Aodh Mór Ó Néill), Earl of Tyrone, in the Nine Years’ War (Cogadh na Naoi mBliana), a conflict waged by Irish chiefs and their allies against English rule in Ireland. It ended in defeat for the Irish chieftains, which led to their exile in the Flight of the […]

The Three Drinking-horns of Cormac úa Cuinn

Once on a time Aed Oridnide, son of Niall Frosach, son of Feargal, son of Maelduin, came to establish order in the province of Connacht. He crossed Eas Ruaid, and his table-servants and his drinking-horns were lost therein. Aed came to Corca Tri, and rested at the house of the king of Corca Tri. Fifty […]

The Irish According to Fynes Moryson (II)

The Irish are by nature very factious, all of a sept or name living together, and cleaving close one to another in all quarrels and actions whatsoever, in which kind they willingly suffer great men to eat upon them, and take whatsoever they have, proverbially saying ‘Defend me and spend me’; but this defence must be in all […]

The Irish According to Fynes Moryson (I)

What follows is a very unflattering, but historically instructive, description of the Irish people  in the Tudor age by Fynes Moryson, an English world traveller who published his observations on divers countries across Europe.  I will be posting various snippets, which whilst being severely tainted by English hatred, are still interesting in the Irish Gaelic […]