The Lost Books of Ireland

For all the glorious ancient Irish tomes that have survived the years, a large number have been lost to our turbulent history. How do we know we are missing some if, well, we don’t have them? Good question. We know we’re missing some because they’re mentioned in tomes that we do have. A list was compiled of the texts that we hope, somehow, some day, will come to light and be found….

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Music From the Blocks

The Jailtacht The people serving time in Long Kesh Prison, Belfast enjoyed a freedom to speak the Irish language, a freedom not permitted in many British prisons during the Troubles. H-blocks, in Long Kesh, the section of the prison where Republican inmates were kept, became known as the Jailtacht (a play on Gaeltacht – an Irish speaking region). It was a cultural revival as inmates would spend most of their…

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Women in the Brehon Law

I’ve heard women were equals to men in the Brehon Laws, is this true? Despite what the myths show us, no, it’s not true. Women were just as powerless in Brehon Law as indeed they were in most countries across the world at the time. Regular women didn’t carry an honour price. They shared their rank in law with a few others. They were, um… – Children, – The dependent…

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Introduction to Brehon Law

What is Brehon Law? Brehon Law is the law system that Ireland used up until around 400 years ago when the final nail was put in its coffin with the Flight of the Earls. It worked quite differently to the law system we use today. It has been described as tribal, rural, hierarchical and familiar – meaning a society in which family, not the individual, is the unit. The family…

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Why Did England Want Ireland? 1250 – 1303

What’s the point? England had to put down rebellion after rebellion after rebellion after rebellion in Ireland from the moment it moved in. Well, it was worth it when you consider the amount of money and resources that Ireland could provide. King Edward really liked waging wars. In 1277 he launched a nice long war against Wales that lasted into the 1280s and Ireland played an important role.

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What Happened To the Normans? 1185 – 1260

What happened next? The Normans brought widespread coinage and tried to bring a centralised system of justice with local and royal courts. The Brehon laws continued to be used across the majority of the country, particularly because the Irish were excluded from the benefits of Norman law. As such, the Normans then had to decide to either be swallowed by the culture of the Irish or keep them completely at…

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Round Towers In Ireland

Round towers are clearly phallic symbols but besides that, did they serve much purpose? Of course. The popular story is that they were safe places to flee to and climb up when the Vikings came a-looting. There is, of course, the problem that the Vikings weren’t exactly stupid and had mastered the basics of the wooden ladder centuries before they mastered the sea in their long boats. Besides that, there…

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The Anglo-Irish Church (1185 -)

The Anglo Irish Church Henry II’s son, Prince John, eventually took over the Ireland campaign. One of his first moves was to give the Diocese of Dublin to his Norman candidate. With it, he gave him grants of land and spiritual jurisdiction. Most notable of which was the area of Glendalough. Taking this off the Irish clergy took years to suppress and get handed over in 1192. It was the start…

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The Norman Invasion

The Norman invasion was inevitable. They had had amazing success in England and the rest of Britain since the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and, despite Henry II’s disinterest in Ireland, the rest of the Normans were hungry for lands and titles. So what led to the invasion in 1169? Why were they so successful, despite shorter numbers? Why didn’t the Irish unite against them and drive them out when…

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