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
Their shirtes be verie straunge,
Not reaching paste the thigh,
With pleates on pleates they pleated are,
As thicke as pleates may lye.
Whose slieves hang trailing doune,
Almoste unto the shoe,
And with a mantle commonlie
The Irish Karne doe goe.
And some amongst the reste,
Do use another weede:
A coat I ween of strange device,
Which fancie first did breed.
His skirtes be verie shorte,
With pleates set thicke about,
And Irish trouzes more, to put
Their straunge protractours out.
Like as their weedes be straunge,
And monstrous to beholde;
So do their manners far surpasse
Them all a thousand folde.
For they are termed wilde,
Wood Karne they have to name;
And mervaile not though straunge it be,
For they deserve the same.
— from The Image of Irelande, by John Derricke (London, 1581).
Both brandubh and fidchell are both ancient Irish board games.
* * *
583 Kl. The slaying of Feradach Finn son of Dui, king of Osraige. Now he was one of the three kings who went to heaven during the lifetime of Colum Cille, and this is the reason, as Colum Cille told Áed son of Ainmere: A great illness seized Feradach. Clann Connla came to storm his house, because Feradach son of Dui was of the Corcu Laígde (for seven kings of the Corcu Laígde ruled Osraige, and seven kings of the Osraige took the kingship of Corcu Laígde). Now, he had waged war against Clann Connla. And he was in his sleeping-place then, and his riches were all there with him, as it was customary for the kings to have cubicles of yew about them, that is, a partitioned place, for their bars and cases of silver and their cups and goblets to give service at night, and their brandub and fidchell games and their bronze hurley-sticks to use by day. Feradach had many treasures, and he loved them greatly; but he had acquired them by evil means, for he would not hear of much or little gold or silver, in the possession of either powerful or wretched in Osraige, without confiscating it to take away that wealth, to ornament those treasures. Feradach’s sons came to his bed then to take the treasures away with them. ‘What do you want, sons?’ asked Feradach. ‘To take the treasures away with us,’ answered the youths. ‘You shall not take them,’ said Feradach, ‘for they were ill-gotten; I tormented many in gathering them, and I consent to being tormented myself by my enemies on their account.’
His sons left him, and he began fervent penance. Then Clann Connla came, and they killed Feradach, and took the treasures; and Feradach went to heaven.
— Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, Annal FA 4.
The theft (and eventual recovery less its golden cover) of the Book of Kells is recorded in the Annals of Ulster under the year A.D. 1007.
* * *
The Great Gospel of Colum Cille was wickedly stolen by night from the western sacristy in the great stone church of Cenannas. It was the most precious object of the western world on account of the human ornamentation (?). This Gospel was recovered after two months and twenty nights, its gold having been taken off it and with a sod over it.
— Annals of Ulster, U1007.11.