The Glories of Ireland
Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox

Part 2 out of 7

member of parliament for his University, and for a time occupied the
presidential chair of the Royal Society. He devoted himself, _inter
alia_, to optical work, and is perhaps best known by those researches
which deal with the undulatory theory of light. It was on this
subject that he delivered the Burnett lectures in Aberdeen

James McCullagh, the son of a poor farmer, was born in Tyrone in
1809, d. 1847. His early death, due to his own hand in a fit of
insanity, cut short his work, but enough remains to permit him to
rank amongst the great mathematicians of all time, his most important
work being his memoir on surfaces of the second order.

Humphrey Lloyd (b. in Dublin 1800, d. 1881), F.R.S. His father was
Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, a position subsequently occupied
also by the son. Lloyd's work was chiefly concerned with optics and
magnetism, and it was in connection with the former that he carried
out what was probably the most important single piece of work of his
life, namely, the experimental proof of the phenomenon of conical
refraction which had been predicted by Sir William Hamilton. He was
responsible for the erection of the Magnetic Observatory in Dublin,
and the instruments used in it were constructed under his observation
and sometimes from his designs or modifications. He was also a
meteorologist of distinction.

George Salmon (b. in Dublin 1819, d. 1904), like the last mentioned
subject, was, at the time of his death, Provost of Trinity College,
Dublin. Besides theological writings, he contributed much to
mathematical science, especially in the directions of conic sections,
analytic geometry, higher plane curves, and the geometry of three
dimensions. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and received the
Copley and Royal medals, as well as distinctions from many
universities and learned societies.

John Casey (b. Kilkenny 1820, d. 1891), F.R.S., was educated at a
National School and became a teacher in one in later years. Entirely
self-taught as a mathematician, he raised himself from the humble
position which he occupied to be a university professor (in the
Catholic University of Ireland, and afterwards in the Royal
University), and earned the highest reputation as one of the greatest
authorities on plane geometry. He was a correspondent of eminent
mathematicians all over the world.

Henry Hennessey (b. in Cork 1826, d. 1901), F.R.S., was also a
professor in the Catholic University of Ireland and afterwards in the
Royal College of Science in Dublin. He was a writer on mathematics,
terrestrial physics, and climatology.

Benjamin Williamson (b. in Cork 1827), F.R.S., is a Senior Fellow of
Trinity College, Dublin, and a distinguished writer on mathematical
subjects, especially on the differential, integral, and infinitesimal

Sir Joseph Larmor (b. in Antrim 1857), F.R.S., was educated at
Queen's College, Belfast, and in Cambridge, in which last place he
has spent his life as a professor. He now represents the University
in parliament and is secretary to the Royal Society. He is well-known
for his writings on the ether and on other physical as well as
mathematical subjects.


William Parsons, Earl of Rosse (b. in York 1800, d. 1867), F.R.S.,
was a very distinguished astronomer who experimented in fluid lenses
and made great improvements in casting specula for reflecting
telescopes. From 1842-45 he was engaged upon the construction, in his
park at Parsonstown, of his great reflecting telescope 58 feet long.
This instrument, which cost L30,000, long remained the largest in the
world. He was president of the Royal Society from 1848 to 1854.

Sir Howard Grubb (b. 1844), F.R.S., is known all over the world for
his telescopes and for the remarkable advances which he has made in
the construction of lenses for instruments of the largest size.

Sir Robert Ball (b. in Dublin 1840, d. 1913), F.R.S. Originally Lord
Rosse's astronomer at Parsonstown, he migrated as professor to
Trinity College, Dublin, and subsequently became Lowndean Professor
of Astronomy at Cambridge. He was a great authority on the
mathematical theory of screws, and his popular works on astronomy
have made him known to a far wider circle of readers than those who
can grapple with his purely scientific treatises.

William Edward Wilson (b. Co. Westmeath 1851, d. 1908), F.R.S. A man
of independent means, he erected, with the help of his father, an
astronomical observatory at his residence. In this well-equipped
building he made many photographic researches, especially into the
nature of nebulae. He also devoted himself to solar physics, and
wrote some remarkable papers on the sudden appearance in 1903 of the
star Nova Persei. He was the first to call attention to the
probability that radium plays a part in the maintenance of solar
heat. In fact, the science of radio-activity was engaging his keenest
interest at the time of his early death.

A.A. Rambaut (b. Waterford 1859), F.R.S., formerly Astronomer Royal
for Ireland and now Radcliffe Observer at Oxford, is one of the
leading astronomers of the day.


Lord Kelvin, better known as Sir William Thompson (b. Belfast 1824,
d. 1907), F.R.S. Amongst the greatest physicists who have ever lived,
his name comes second only to that of Newton. He was educated at
Cambridge, became professor of natural philosophy in Glasgow
University in 1846, and celebrated the jubilee of his appointment in
1896. To the public his greatest achievement was the electric cabling
of the Atlantic Ocean, for which he was knighted in 1866. His
electrometers and electric meters, his sounding apparatus, and his
mariners' compass are all well-known and highly valued instruments.
To his scientific fellows, however, his greatest achievements were in
the field of pure science, especially in connection with his
thermodynamic researches, including the doctrine of the dissipation
or degradation of energy. To this brief statement may be added
mention of his work in connection with hydrodynamics and his magnetic
and electric discoveries. His papers in connection with wave and
vortex movements are also most remarkable. He was awarded the Royal
and Copley medals and was an original member of the Order of Merit.
He received distinctions from many universities and learned

George Francis Fitzgerald (b. Dublin 1851, d. 1901), F.R.S., was
fellow and professor of natural philosophy in Trinity College,
Dublin, where he was educated. He was the first person to call the
attention of the world to the importance of Hertz's experiment.
Perhaps his most important work, interrupted by his labors in
connection with education and terminated by his early death, was that
in connection with the nature of the ether.

George Johnston Stoney (b. King's Co. 1826, d. 1911), F.R.S., after
being astronomer at Parsonstown and professor of natural philosophy
at Galway, became secretary to the Queen's University and occupied
that position until the dissolution of the university in 1882. He
wrote many papers on geometrical optics and on molecular physics, but
his great claim to remembrance is that he first suggested, "on the
basis of Faraday's law of Electrolysis, that an absolute unit of
quantity of electricity exists in that amount of it which attends
each chemical bond or valency and gave the name, now generally
adopted, of electron to this small quantity." He proposed the
electronic theory of the origin of the complex ether vibrations which
proceed from a molecule emitting light.

John Tyndall (b. Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow, 1820, d. 1893), F.R.S.,
professor at the Royal Institution and a fellow-worker in many ways
with Huxley, especially on the subject of glaciers. He wrote also on
heat as a mode of motion and was the author of many scientific
papers, but will, perhaps, be best remembered as the author of a
Presidential Address to the British Association in Belfast (1874),
which was the highwater mark of the mid-Victorian materialism at its
most triumphant moment.


Richard Kirwan (b. Galway 1733, d. 1812), F.R.S. A man of independent
means, he devoted himself to the study of chemistry and mineralogy
and was awarded the Copley medal of the Royal Society. He published
works on mineralogy and on the analysis of mineral waters, and was
the first in Ireland to publish analyses of soils for agricultural
purposes, a research which laid the foundation of scientific
agriculture in Great Britain and Ireland.

Maxwell Simpson (b. Armagh 1815, d. 1902), F.R.S., held the chair of
chemistry in Queen's College, Cork, for twenty years and published a
number of papers in connection with his subject and especially with
the behavior of cyanides, with the study of which compounds his name
is most associated.

Cornelius O'Sullivan (b. Brandon, 1841, d. 1897), F.R.S., was for
many years chemist to the great firm of Bass & Co., brewers at
Burton-on-Trent, and in that capacity became one of the leading
exponents of the chemistry of fermentation in the world.

James Emerson Reynolds (b. Dublin 1844), F.R.S., professor of
chemistry, Trinity College, Dublin, for many years, discovered the
primary thiocarbamide and a number of other chemical substances,
including a new class of colloids and several groups of organic and
other compounds of the element silicon.

Among others only the names of the following can be mentioned:--Sir
Robert Kane (b. Dublin 1809, d. 1890), professor of chemistry in
Dublin and founder and first director of the Museum of Industry, now
the National Museum. He was president of Queen's College, Cork, as
was William K. Sullivan (b. Cork 1822, d. 1890), formerly professor
of chemistry in the Catholic University. Sir William O'Shaughnessy
Brooke, F.R.S. (b. Limerick 1809, d. 1889), professor of chemistry
and assay master in Calcutta, is better known as the introducer of
the telegraphic system into India and its first superintendent.


William Henry Harvey (b. Limerick 1814, d. 1866), F.R.S., was a
botanist of very great distinction. During a lengthy residence in
South Africa, he made a careful study of the flora of the Cape of
Good Hope and published _The Genera of South African Plants_. After
this he was made keeper of the Herbarium, Trinity College, Dublin,
but, obtaining leave of absence, travelled in North and South
America, exploring the coast from Halifax to the Keys of Florida, in
order to collect materials for his great work, _Nereis
Boreali-Americana_, published by the Smithsonian Institution.
Subsequently he visited Ceylon, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and
the Friendly and Fiji Islands, collecting algae. The results were
published in his _Phycologia Australis_. At the time of his death he
was engaged on his _Flora Capensis_, and was generally considered the
first authority on algae in the world.

William Archer (b. Co. Down 1837, d. 1897), F.R.S., devoted his life
to the microscopic examination of freshwater organisms, especially
desmids and diatoms. He attained a very prominent place in this
branch of work among men of science. Perhaps his most remarkable
discovery was that of Chlamydomyxa labyrinthuloides (in 1868), "one
of the most remarkable and enigmatical of all known microscopic

George James Allman (b. Cork 1812, d. 1898), F.R.S., professor of
botany in Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwarls Regius Professor of
natural history in the University of Edinburgh, published many papers
on botanical and zoological subjects, but his great work was that on
the gymnoblastic Hydrozoa, "without doubt the most important
systematic work dealing with the group of Coelenterata that has ever
been produced."

Amongst eminent living members of the class under consideration may
be mentioned Alexander Macalister (b. Dublin 1844), F.R.S., professor
of anatomy, first in Dublin and now in Cambridge, an eminent
morphologist and anthropologist, and Henry Horatio Dixon (b. Dublin),
F.R.S., professor of botany in Trinity College, an authority on
vegetable physiology, especially problems dealing with the sap.


Samuel Haughton (b. Carlow 1821, d. 1897), F.R.S., after earning a
considerable reputation as a mathematician and a geologist, and
taking Anglican orders, determined to study medicine and entered the
school of that subject in Trinity College. After graduating he became
the reformer, it might even be said the re-founder, of that school.
He devoted ten years to the study of the mechanical principles of
muscular action, and published his _Animal Mechanism_, probably his
greatest work. He will long be remembered as the introducer of the
"long drop" as a method of capital execution. He might have been
placed in several of the categories which have been dealt with, but
that of geologist has been selected, since in the later part of his
most versatile career he was professor of geology in Trinity College,

Valentine Ball (b. Dublin 1843, d. 1894), F.R.S., a brother of Sir
Robert, joined the Geological Survey of India, and in that capacity
became an authority not only on geology but also on ornithology and
anthropology. His best known work is _Jungle-Life in India_. In later
life he was director of the National Museum, Dublin.


Very brief note can be taken of the many shining lights in Irish
medical science. Robert James Graves (1796-1853), F.R.S., after whom
is named "Graves's Disease", was one of the greatest of clinical
physicians. His _System of Clinical Medicine_ was a standard work and
was extolled by Trousseau, the greatest physician that France has
ever had, in the highest terms of appreciation.

William Stokes (1804-1878), Regius Professor of Medicine in Trinity
College, and the author of a _Theory and Practice of Medicine_, known
all over the civilized world, was equally celebrated.

To these must be added Sir Dominic Corrigan (1802-1880), the first
Catholic to occupy the position of President of the College of
Physicians in Dublin, an authority on heart disease, and the first
adequate describer of aortic patency, a form of ailment long called
"Corrigan's Disease". "Colles's Fracture" is a familiar term in the
mouths of surgeons. It derives its name from Abraham Colles
(1773-1843), the first surgeon in the world to tie the innominate
artery, as "Butcher's Saw", a well-known implement, does from another
eminent surgeon; Richard Butcher, Regius Professor in Trinity College
in the seventies of the last century.

Sir Rupert Boyce (1863-1911), F.R.S., though born in London, had an
Irish father and mother. Entering the medical profession, he was
assistant professor of pathology at University College, London, and
subsequently professor of pathology in University College, Liverpool,
which he was largely instrumental in turning into the University of
Liverpool. He was foremost in launching and directing the Liverpool
School of Tropical Medicine, which has had such widespread results
all over the world in elucidating the problems and checking the
ravages of the diseases peculiar to hot countries. It was for his
services in this direction that he was knighted in 1906.

Sir Richard Quain (b. Mallow 1816, d. 1898), F.R.S., spent most of
his life in London, where he was for years the most prominent
physician. He wrote on many subjects, but the _Dictionary of
Medicine_, which he edited and which bears his name, has made itself
and its editor known all over the world.

Sir Almroth Wright (b. 1861), F.R.S., is the greatest living
authority on the important subject of vaccino-therapy, which, indeed,
may be said to owe its origin to his researches, as do the methods
for measuring the protective substances in the human blood. He was
the discoverer of the anti-typhoid injection which has done so much
to stay the ravages of that disease.


Bindon Blood Stoney (1828-1909), F.R.S., made his reputation first as
an astronomer by discovering the spiral character of the great nebula
in Andromeda. Turning to engineering, he was responsible for the
construction of many important works, especially in connection with
the port of Dublin. He was brother of G. J. Stoney.

Sir Charles Parsons (b. 1854), F.R.S., fourth son of the third Earl
of Rosse, is the engineer who developed the steam turbine system and
made it suitable for the generation of electricity, and for the
propulsion of war and mercantile vessels. If he has revolutionized
traffic on the water, so on the land has John Boyd Dunlop (still
living), who discovered the pneumatic tire with such wide-spread
results for motorcars, bicycles, and such means of locomotion.


Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock (b. Dundalk 1819, d. 1907), F.R.S.,
was one of the great Arctic explorers, having spent eleven navigable
seasons and six winters in those regions. He was the chief leader and
organizer of the Franklin searches. From the scientific point of view
he made a valuable collection of miocene fossils from Greenland, and
enabled Haughton to prepare the geological map and memoir of the
Parry Archipelago.

John Ball (b. Dublin 1818, d. 1889), F.R.S., educated at Oscott,
passed the examination for a high degree at Cambridge, but, being a
Catholic, was excluded from the degree itself and any other honors
which a Protestant might have attained to. He travelled widely and
published many works on the natural history of Europe and South
America from Panama to Tierra del Fuego. He was the first to suggest
the utilization of the electric telegraph for meteorological purposes
connected with storm warnings.

Space ought to be found for a cursory mention of that strange person,
Dionysius Lardner (1793-1859), who by his _Lardner's Cyclopaedia_ in
132 vols., his _Cabinet Library_, and his _Museum of Science and
Art_, did much to popularize science in an unscientific day.


The principal sources of information are the National Dictionary of
Biography; the Obituary Notices of the Royal Society (passages in
inverted commas are from these); "Who's Who" (for living persons);
Healy: Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars; Hyde: Literary History
of Ireland; Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland; Moore: Medicine
in the British Isles.



A DISTINCTION. Ireland having been a self-ruled country for a stretch
of some two thousand years, then violently brought under subjection
to foreign rule, regaining legislative independence for a brief
period toward the close of the eighteenth century, then by violence
and corruption deprived of that independence and again brought under
the same foreign rule, to which it is still subject, the expression
"Law in Ireland" comprises the native and the foreign, the laws
devised by the Irish Nation for its own governance and the laws
imposed upon it from without: two sets, codes, or systems proper to
two entirely distinct social structures having no relation and but
little resemblance to each other. Whatever may be thought of either
as law, the former is Irish in every sense, and vastly the more
interesting historically, archaeologically, philologically, and in
many other ways; the latter being English law in Ireland, and not
truly Irish in any sense.

ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF IRISH LAW. _Seanchus agus Feineachus na
hEireann_ == _Hiberniae Antiquitates et Sanctiones Legales_--The
Ancient Laws and Decisions of the _Feini_, of Ireland. _Sen_ or
_sean_ (pronounced shan) == "old," differs from most Gaelic
adjectives in preceding the noun it qualifies. It also tends to
coalesce and become a prefix. _Seanchus_ (shanech-us) == "ancient
law." _Feineachus_ (fainech-us) == the law of the _Feini_, who were
the Milesian farmers, free members of the clans, the most important
class in the ancient Irish community. Their laws were composed in
their contemporary language, the _Bearla Feini_, a distinct form of
Gaelic. Several nations of the Aryan race are known to have cast into
metre or rhythmical prose their laws and such other knowledge as they
desired to communicate, preserve, and transmit, before writing came
into use. The Irish went further and, for greater facility in
committing to memory and retaining there, put their laws into a kind
of rhymed verse, of which they may have been the inventors. By this
device, aided by the isolated geographical position of Ireland, the
sanctity of age, and the apprehension that any change of word or
phrase might change the law itself, these archaic laws, when
subsequently committed to writing, were largely preserved from the
progressive changes to which all spoken languages are subject, with
the result that we have today, embedded in the Gaelic text and
commentaries of the _Senchus Mor_, the _Book of Aicill_, and other
law works, available in English translations made under a Royal
Commission appointed by Government in 1852, and published, at
intervals extending over forty years, in six volumes of "Ancient Laws
and Institutions of Ireland," a mass of archaic words, phrases, law,
literature, and information on the habits and manners of the people,
not equalled in antiquity, quantity, or authenticity in any other
Celtic source. In English they are commonly called Brehon Laws, from
the genitive case singular of _Brethem_ = "judge", genitive
_Brethemain_ (pronounced brehun), as Erin is an oblique case of Eire,
and as Latin words are sometimes adopted in the genitive in modern
languages which themselves have no case distinctions. It is not to be
inferred from this name that the laws are judge-made. They are rather
case law, in parts possibly enacted by some of the various assemblies
at which the laws were promulgated or rehearsed, but for the most
part simple declarations of law originating in custom and moral
justice, and records of judgments based upon "the precedents and
commentaries", in the sort of cases common to agricultural
communities of the time, many of the provisions being as inapplicable
to modern life as modern laws would be to ancient life. A reader is
impressed by the extraordinary number and variety of cases with their
still more numerous details and circumstances accumulated in the
course of long ages, the manner in which the laws are inextricably
interwoven with the interlocking clan system, and the absence of
scientific arrangement or guiding principle except those of moral
justice, clemency, and the good of the community. This defect in
arrangement is natural in writings intended, as these were, for the
use of judges and professors, experts in the subjects with which they
deal, but makes the task of presenting a concise statement of them
difficult and uncertain.

SOCIETY LAW. The law and the social system were inseparable parts of
a complicated whole, mutually cause and consequence of each other.
_Tuath, clann, cinel, cine_, and _fine_ (pronounced thooah, clong,
kinnel, kineh, and fin-yeh) were terms used to denote a tribe or set
of relatives, in reality or by adoption, claiming descent from a
common ancestor, forming a community occupying and owning a given
territory. _Tuath_ in course of time came to be applied indifferently
to the people and to their territory. _Fine_, sometimes designating a
whole tribe, more frequently meant a part of it, occupying a distinct
portion of the territory, a potential microcosm or nucleus of a clan,
having limited autonomy in the conduct of its own immediate affairs.
The constitution of this organism, whether as contemplated by the law
or in the less perfect actual practice, is alike elusive, and
underwent changes. For the purpose of illustration, the _fine_ may be
said to consist, theoretically, of the "seventeen men" frequently
mentioned throughout the laws, namely, the _flaithfine_ = chief of
the _fine_; the _geilfine_ = his four fullgrown sons or other nearest
male relatives; the _deirbhfine, tarfine_, and _innfine_, each
consisting of four heads of families in wider concentric circles of
kinship, say first, second, and third cousins of the _flaithfine_.
The _fine_ was liable, in measure determined by those circles, for
contracts, fines, and damages incurred by any of its members so far
as his own property was insufficient, and was in the same degree
entitled to share advantages of a like kind accruing. Intermarriage
within this _fine_ was prohibited. The modern term "sept" is applied
sometimes to this group and sometimes to a wider group united under a
_flaith_ (flah) = "chief", elected by the _flaithfines_ and provided,
for his public services, with free land proportionate to the area of
the district and the number of clansmen in it. _Clann_ might mean the
whole Irish nation, or an intermediate homogeneous group of _fines_
having for wider purposes a _flaith_ or _ri-tuatha_ = king of one
_tuath_, elected by the _flaiths_ and _flaithfines_, subject to
elaborate qualifications as to person, character, and training, which
limited their choice, and provided with a larger portion of free
land. This was the lowest chief to whom the title _ri, righ_ (both
pr. ree) = _rex_, or "king", was applied. A group of these kinglets
connected by blood or territory or policy, and their _flaiths_,
elected, from a still narrower circle of specially trained men within
their own rank, the _ri-mor-tuatha_--king of the territory so
composed, to whose office a still larger area of free land was
attached. In turn, kings of this class, with their respective
sub-kings and _flaiths_, elected from among the _riogh-dhamhna_
(ree-uch-dhowna) = _materia principum_ or "king-timber", a royal
_fine_ specially educated and trained, a _ri-cuighidh_ (ree
coo-ee-hee) supreme over five _ri-mor-tuathas_--roughly, a fourth of
Ireland. These, with their respective principal supporters, elected
the _ard-ri_--"supreme king", of Ireland, who for ages held his court
and national assemblies at Tara and enjoyed the kingdom of Meath for
his mensal land. Usually the election was not direct to the kingship,
but to the position of _tanaiste_--"second" (in authority),
heir-apparent to the kingship. This was also the rule in the learned
professions and "noble" arts, which were similarly endowed with free
land. The most competent among those specially trained, whether son
or outsider, should succeed to the position and land. All such land
was legally indivisible and inalienable and descended in its entirety
to the successor, who might, or might not, be a relative of the
occupant. The beneficiaries were, however, free to retain any land
that belonged to them as private individuals.

Membership of the clan was an essential qualification for every
position; but occasionally two clans amalgamated, or a small _fine_,
or desirable individual, was co-opted into the clan--in other words,
naturalized. The rules of kinship determined _eineachlann_
(ain-yach-long)--"honor value", the assessed value of status, with
its correlative rights, obligations, and liabilities in connection
with all matters civil and criminal; largely supplied the place of
contract; endowed members of the clan with birthrights; and bound
them into a compact social, political, and mutual insurance
copartnership, self-controlled and self-reliant. _Eineachlann_ rested
on the two-fold basis of kinship and property, expanding as a
clansman by acquisition of property and effluxion of time progressed
upward from one grade to another; diminishing if he sank; vanishing
if for crime he was expelled from the clan.

FOSTERAGE. To our minds, one of the most curious customs prevalent
among the ancient Irish was that of _iarrad_, called also _altar_ =
"fosterage"--curious in itself and in the fact that in all the
abundance of law and literature relating to it no logically valid
reason is given why wealthy parents normally put out their children,
from one year old to fifteen in the case of a daughter and to
seventeen in the case of a son, to be reared in another family, while
perhaps receiving and rearing children of other parents sent to them.
As modern life does not comprise either the custom or a reason for
it, we may assume that fosterage was a consequence of the clan
system, and that its practice strengthened the ties of kinship and
sympathy. This conjecture is corroborated by the numerous instances
in history and in story of fosterage affection proving, when tested,
stronger than the natural affection of relatives by birth. What is
more, long after the dissolution of the clans, fosterage has
continued stealthily in certain districts in which the old race of
chiefs and clansmen contrived to cling together to the old sod; and
the affection generated by it has been demonstrated, down to the
middle of the nineteenth century. The present writer has heard it
spoken of lovingly, in half-Irish, by simple old people, whom to
question would be cruel and irreverent.

LAND LAW. The entire territory was originally, and always continued
to be, the absolute property of the entire clan. Not even the private
residence of a clansman, with its _maighin digona_ = little lawn or
precinct of sanctuary, within which himself and his family and
property were inviolable, could be sold to an outsider. Private
ownership, though rather favored in the administration of the law,
was prevented from becoming general by the fundamental ownership of
the clan and the birthright of every free-born clansman to a
sufficiency of the land of his native territory for his subsistence.
The land officially held as described was not, until the population
became numerous, a serious encroachment upon this right. What
remained outside this and the residential patches of private land was
classified as cultivable and uncultivable. The former was the common
property of the clansmen, but was held and used in severalty for the
time being, subject to _gabhail-cine_ (gowal-kinneh)--clan-resumption
and redistribution by authority of an assembly of the clan or _fine_
at intervals of from one to three years, according to local customs
and circumstances, for the purpose of satisfying the rights of young
clansmen and dealing with any land left derelict by death or
forfeiture, compensation being paid for any unexhausted improvements.
The clansmen, being owners in this limited sense, and the only
owners, had no rent to pay. They paid tribute for public purposes,
such as the making of roads, to the _flaith_ as a public officer, as
they were bound to render, or had the privilege of
rendering--according to how they regarded it--military service when
required, not to the _flaith_ as a feudal lord, which he was not, but
to the clan, of which the _flaith_ was head and representative.

The uncultivable, unreclaimed forest, mountain, and bog-land was
common property in the wider sense that there was no several
appropriation of it even temporarily by individuals. It was used
promiscuously by the clansmen for grazing stock, procuring fuel,
pursuing game, or any other advantage yielded by it in its natural

Kings and _flaiths_ were great stock-owners, and were allowed to let
for short terms portions of their official lands. What they more
usually let to clansmen was cattle to graze either on private land or
on a specified part of the official land, not measured, but
calculated according to the number of beasts it was able to support.
A _flaith_ whose stock for letting ran short hired some from a king
and sublet them to his own people. A _feine, aithech_, or _ceile_
(kailyeh), as a farmer was generally called, might hire stock in one
of two distinct ways: _saer_-"free", which was regulated by the law,
left his status unimpaired, could not be terminated arbitrarily or
unjustly, under which he paid one-third of the value of the stock
yearly for seven years, at the end of which time what remained of the
stock became his property, and in any dispute relating to which he
was competent to sue or defend even though the _flaith_ gave
evidence; or _daer_--"bond", which was matter of bargain and not of
law, was subject to onerous conditions and contingencies, including
maintenance of kings, _flaiths_, or brehons, with their retinues, on
visitations, of disbanded soldiers, etc., under which the stock
always remained the property of the _flaith_, regarding which the
_ceile_ could not give evidence against that of the _flaith_, which
degraded the _ceile_ and his _fine_ and impaired their status; a
bargain therefore which could not be entered into without the
sanction of the _fine_. This prohibition was rendered operative by
the legal provision that in case of default the _flaith_ could not
recover from the _fine_ unless their consent had been obtained. The
letting of stock, especially of _daer_-stock, increased the
_flaith's_ power as a lender over borrowers, subject, however, to the
check that his rank and _eineachlann_ depended on the number of
independent clansmen in his district.

Though workers in precious metals, as their ornaments show, the
ancient Irish did not coin or use money. Sales were by barter. All
payments, tribute, rent, fulfilment of contract, fine, damages,
wages, or however else arising, were made in kind--horses, cows,
store cattle, sheep, pigs, corn, meal, malt, bacon, salt beef, geese,
butter, honey, wool, flax, yarn, cloth, dye-plants, leather,
manufactured articles of use or ornament, gold, and silver--whatever
one party could spare and the other find a use for.

Tributes and rent, being alike paid in kind and to the same person,
were easily confused. This tempted the _flaith_, as the system
relaxed, to extend his official power in the direction of ownership;
but never to the extent of enabling him to evict a clansman. For a
crime a clansman might be expelled from clan and territory; but,
apart from crime, the idea of eviction from one's homestead was
inconceivable. Not even when a _daer-ceile_, or "unfree peasant",
failed to make the stipulated payments could the _flaith_ do more
than sue as for any other debt; and, if successful, he was bound, in
seizing, to leave the family food-material and implements necessary
for living and recovering.

LAW OF DISTRAINING. _Athgabail_ ([)a]h-gowil) = "distress", was the
universal legal mode of obtaining anything due, or justice or redress
in any matter, whether civil or criminal, contract or tort. Every
command or prohibition of the law, if not obeyed, was enforced by
_athgabail_. The brehons reduced all liabilities of whatsoever origin
to material value to be recovered by this means. Hence its great
importance, the vast amount of space devoted to it in the laws, and
the fact that the law of distress deals incidentally with every other
branch of law and reveals best the customs, habits, and character of
the people. A claimant in a civil case might either summon his debtor
before a brehon, get a judgment, and seize the amount adjudged, or,
by distraining first at his own risk, force the defendant either to
pay or stop the seizure by submitting the matter in dispute to trial
before a brehon, whom he then could choose. There was no officer
corresponding to a sheriff to distrain and realize the amount
adjudged; the person entitled had to do it himself, accompanied by a
law-agent and witnesses, after, in "distress with time", elaborate
notices at intervals of time sufficient to allow the defendant to
consider his position and find means of satisfying the claim if he
could. In a proper case his hands were strengthened by very explicit
provisions of the law. "If a man who is sued evades justice, knowing
the debt to be due of him, double the debt is payable by him." In
urgent cases "immediate distress" was allowed. In either case the
property seized--usually cattle--was not taken to the plaintiff's
home, but put into a pound, and by similar easy stages became his
property to the amount of the debt. The costs were paid out of what
remained, and any ultimate remainder was returned. On a _fuidir_
(foodyir) = serf or other unfree person resident in the territory
incurring liability to a clansman, the latter might proceed against
the _flaith_ on whose land the defendant lived, or might seize
immediately any property the defendant owned, and if he owned none,
might seize him and make him work off the debt in slavery.

Seizure of property of a person of higher rank than the plaintiff had
to be preceded by _troscead_ (truscah) = fasting upon him. This
consisted in waiting at the door of the defendant's residence without
food until the debt was paid or a pledge given. The laws contained no
process more strongly enforced than this. A defendant who allowed a
plaintiff properly fasting to die of hunger was held by law and by
public opinion guilty of murder, and completely lost his
_eineachlann_. Both text and commentary declare that whoever refuses
to cede a just demand when fasted upon shall pay double that amount.
If the faster, having accepted a pledge, did not in due course
receive satisfaction of his claim, he forthwith distrained, taking
and keeping double the amount of the debt. The law did not allow
those whom it at first respected to trifle with justice.

_Troscead_ is believed to have been of druidical origin, and it
retained throughout, even in Christian times, a sort of supernatural
significance. Whoever disregarded it became an outcast and incurred
risks and dangers too grave to be lightly faced. Besides being a
legal process, it was resorted to as a species of elaborate prayer,
or curse,--a kind of magic for achieving some difficult purpose. This
mysterious character enhanced its value in a legal system deficient
in executive power.

NON-CITIZENS. From what precedes it will be understood that there
were in ancient Ireland from prehistoric times people not comprised
in the clan organization, and therefore not enjoying its rights and
advantages or entitled to any of its land, some of whom were
otherwise free within certain areas, while some were serfs and some
slaves. Those outsiders are conjectured to have originated in the
earlier colonists subdued by the Milesians and reduced to an inferior
condition. But the distinction did not wholly follow racial lines.
Persons of pre-Milesian race are known to have risen to eminence,
while Milesians are known to have sunk, from crime or other causes,
to the lowest rank of the unfree. Here and there a _daer-tuath_ =
"bond community", of an earlier race held together down to the Middle
Ages in districts in which conquest had left them and to which they
were restricted. Beyond that restriction, exclusion from the clan and
its power, some peculiarities of dialect, dress, and manners, and a
tradition of inferiority such as still exists in certain parishes,
they were not molested, provided they paid tribute, which may have
been heavy.

There were also _bothachs_ = cottiers, and _sen-cleithes_ = old
adherents of a _flaith_, accustomed to serve him and obtain benefits
from him. If they had resided in the territory for three generations,
and been industrious, thrifty, and orderly, on a few of them joining
their property together to the number of one hundred head of cattle,
they could emancipate themselves by appointing a _flaithfine_ and
getting admitted to the clan. Till this was done, they could neither
sue nor defend nor inherit, and the _flaith_ was answerable for their

There being no prisons or convict settlements, any person of whatever
race convicted of grave crime, or of cowardice on the field of
battle, and unable to pay the fines imposed, captives taken in
foreign wars, fugitives from other clans, and tramps, fell into the
lowest ranks of the _fuidre_--"serfs." It was as a captive that Saint
Patrick was brought in his youth to Ireland. The law allowed, rather
than entitled, a _flaith_ to keep unfree people for servile
occupations and the performance of unskilled labor for the public
benefit. In reality they worked for his personal profit, oftentimes
at the expense of the clan. They lived on his land, and he was
responsible for their conduct. By analogy, the distinctions _saer_
and _daer_ were recognized among them, according to origin,
character, and means. Where these elements continued to be favorable
for three generations, progress upward was made; and ultimately a
number of them could club together, appoint a _flaithfine_, and apply
to be admitted to the clan.

A _mog_ was a slave in the strict sense, usually purchased as such
from abroad, and legally and socially lower than the lowest _fuidir_.
Giraldus Cambrensis, writing towards the close of the twelfth
century, tells us that English parents then frequently sold their
surplus children and other persons to the Irish as slaves. The Church
repeatedly intervened for the release of captives and mitigation of
their condition. The whole institution of slavery was strongly
condemned as un-Christian by the Synod held in Armagh in 1171.

CRIMINAL LAW. Though there are numerous laws relating to crime, to be
found chiefly in the _Book of Aicill_, criminal law in the sense of a
code of punishment there was none. The law took cognizance of crime
and wrong of every description against person, character, and
property; and its function was to prevent and restrict crime, and
when committed to determine, according to the facts of the case and
the respective ranks of the parties, the value of the compensation or
reparation that should be made. It treated crime as a mode of
incurring liability; entitled the sufferer, or, if he was murdered,
his _fine_, to bring the matter before a brehon, who, on hearing the
case, made the complicated calculations and adjustments rendered
necessary by the facts proved and by the grades to which the
respective parties belonged, arrived at and gave judgment for the
amount of the compensation, armed with which judgment, the plaintiff
could immediately distrain for that amount the property of the
criminal, and, in his default, that of his _fine_. The _fine_ could
escape part of its liability by arresting and giving up the convict,
or by expelling him and giving substantial security against his
future misdeeds.

From the number of elements that entered into the calculation of a
fine, it necessarily resulted that like fines by no means followed
like crimes. Fines, like all other payments, were adjudged and paid
in kind, being, in some cases of the destruction of property,
generic--a quantity of that kind of property. Large fines were
usually adjudged to be paid in three species, one-third in each, the
plaintiff taking care to inform correctly the brehon of the kinds of
property the defendant possessed, because he could seize only that
named, and if the defendant did not possess it, the judgment was "a
blind nut." Crime against the State or community, such as wilful
disturbance of an assembly, was punished severely. These were the
only cases to which the law attached a sentence of death or other
corporal punishment. For nothing whatsoever between parties did the
law recognize any duty of revenge, retaliation, or the infliction of
personal punishment, but only the payment of compensation. Personal
punishment was regarded as the commission of a second crime on
account of a first. There was no duty to do this; but the right to do
it was tacitly recognized if a criminal resisted or evaded payment of
an adjudged compensation. Criminal were distinguished from civil
cases only by the moral element, the sufferer's right in all cases to
choose a brehon, the loss of _eineachlann_, partial or whole
according to the magnitude of the crime, the elements used in
calculating the amount of fine, and the technical terms employed.
_Dire_ (djeereh) was a general name for a fine, and there were
specific names for classes of fines. _Eric_ = reparation, redemption,
was the fine for killing a human being, the amount being affected by
the distinction between murder and manslaughter and by other
circumstances; but in no case was a violent death, however innocent,
allowed to pass without reparation being made. A fine was awarded out
of the property of the convict or of his _fine_ to the _fine_ of the
person slain, in the proportions in which they were entitled to
inherit his property, that being also according to their degrees of
kinship and the degrees in which they were really sufferers. This
gave every clan and every clansman, in addition to their moral
interest, a direct monetary interest in the prevention and
suppression of crime. Hence the whole public feeling of the country
was entirely in support of the law, the honor and interest of
community and individual being involved in its maintenance. The
injured person or _fine_, if unable to recover the fine, might, in
capital cases, seize and enslave, or even kill, the convict. Probably
restrained by the fact that, there being no officers of criminal law,
they had to inflict punishment themselves, they sometimes imprisoned
a convict in a small island, or sent him adrift on the sea in a
_currach_ or boat of hide. Law supported by public opinion, powerful
because so inspired, powerful because unanimous, was difficult to
evade or resist. It so strongly armed an injured person, and so
utterly paralyzed a criminal, that escape from justice was hardly
possible. The only way in which it was possible was by flight,
leaving all one's property behind, and sinking into slavery in a
strange place; and this in effect was a severe punishment rather than
an escape.

FOREIGN LAW. The Danes and other Norsemen were the buccaneers of
northwestern Europe from the eighth to the eleventh century. They
conquered and settled permanently in Neustria, from them called
Normandy, and conquered and ruled for a considerable time England and
part of Scotland and the Isles. In Ireland they were little more than
marauders, having permanent colonies only round the coast; always
subject, nominally at least, to the _ard-ri_ or to the local chief;
paying him tribute when he was strong, raiding his territory when he
was weak, and fomenting recurrent disorder highly prejudicial to law,
religion, and civilization. They never made any pretence of extending
their laws to Ireland, and their attempt to conquer the country was
finally frustrated at Clontarf in 1014.

The Anglo-Norman invaders also seized the seaports. The earlier of
them who went inland partially adopted in the second generation the
Gaelic language, laws, and customs; as many non-Celtic Lowlanders of
Scotland about the same period adopted the Gaelic language, laws, and
customs of the Highlanders. Hence they did not make much impression
on the Gaelic system, beyond the disintegrating effect of their
imperfect adoption of it.

Into the eastern parts of Ireland, however, a fresh stream of English
adventurers continued to flow, as aggressive and covetous as their
means and prudence permitted; calling so much of the country as they
were able to wrench from the Irish "the English Pale", which
fluctuated in extent with their fortunes; and, when compelled to pay
tribute to Irish chiefs, calling it "black rent", to indicate how
they regarded it. Their greatest difficulty was to counteract the
tendency of the earlier colonists to become Hibernicized--a most
unwilling tribute to the superiority of the Irish race. They, and
still more those in England who supported them, knew nothing of the
Irish language, laws, and institutions but that they should all be
impartially hated, uprooted, and supplanted by English people and
everything English as soon as means enabled this to be done. This was
the amiable purpose of the pompously-named "Statute of Kilkenny",
passed by about a score of these colonists in 1367. Presuming to
speak in the name of Ireland, the statute prohibited the English
colonists from becoming Irish in the numerous ways they were
accustomed to do, and excluded all Irish priests from preferment in
the Church, partly because their superior virtue would by contrast
amount to a censure. The purpose was not completely successful even
within the Pale. Outside that precinct, the mass of the Irish were
wholly unconscious of the existence of the "Statute of Kilkenny." But
expressing, as the statute did correctly, the views of fresh
adventurers, it became, in arrogance and in the pretension to speak
for the whole of Ireland, a model for their future legislation and

Under King Henry VI. of England, Richard, Duke of York, being Lord
Deputy, the Parliament of the Pale, assembled in Dublin, repudiated
the authority of the English Parliament in Ireland, established a
mint, and assumed an attitude of almost complete independence. On the
other hand, in 1494, under Henry VII., the Parliament of the Pale,
assembled at Drogheda, passed Poyning's Act, extending all English
laws to Ireland and subjecting all laws passed in Ireland to revision
by the English Council. This, extended to the whole of Ireland as
English power extended, remained in force until 1782. Henry VIII. was
the first English sovereign to take practical measures for the
pacific and diplomatic conquest of the whole of Ireland and the
substitution of English for Irish institutions and methods. His
daughter, Queen Elizabeth, continued and completed the conquest; but
it was by drenching the country in blood, by more than decimating the
Irish people, and by reducing the remnant to something like the
condition of the ancient _fuidre_. Her policy prepared the ground for
her successor, James I., to exterminate the Irish from large tracts,
in which he planted Englishmen and Scotchmen, and to extend all
English laws to Ireland and abolish all other laws. James's English
attorney-general in Ireland, Sir John Davies, in his work, _A
Discoverie of the True Causes, etc._, says:

"For there is no nation of people under the sunne that doth love
equall and indifferent [= impartial] justice better than the Irish;
or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof, although it
bee against themselves; so as they may have the protection and
benefit of the law, when uppon just cause they do desire it."

The ancient Irish loved their laws and took pride in obeying and
enforcing them. The different attitude of the modern Irish towards
foreign laws and administration is amply explained by the morally
indefensible character of those laws and that administration, to be
read in English statutes and ordinances and in the history of English
rule in Ireland--a subject too vast and harrowing, and in every sense
foreign to what has gone before, to be entered upon here. Though the
Parliament of 1782-1800 was little more than a Pale Parliament, in
which the mass of the Irish people had no representation whatever,
one of its Acts, to its credit be it said, was an attempt to mitigate
the Penal Laws and emancipate the oppressed Gaelic and Catholic
population of Ireland. With the partial exception of that brief
interval, law in Ireland has, during the last 360 years, meant
English laws specially enacted for the destruction of any Irish trade
or industry that entered into competition with a corresponding
English trade or industry. In later times those crude barbarities
have been gradually superseded by the more defensible laws now in
force in Ireland, all of which can be studied in statutes passed by
the Parliament, since the Union with Scotland, called British.


Pending the desirable work of a more competent Brehon Law Commission
and translators, the subject must be studied in the six volumes of
_Ancient Laws of Ireland_, produced by the first Commission, from
1865 to 1901, ignoring the long introductions and many of the notes.
Whitley Stokes: Criticism of Atkinson's Glossary (London, 1903); R.
Dareste: Etudes d'histoire de droit (Paris, 1889); d'Arbois de
Jubainville and Paul Collinet: Etudes sur le droit celtique, 2 vols.
(Paris, 1895); Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland, 2 vols.
(London, 1913); Laurence Ginnell: The Brehon Laws (London, 1894).


By W.H. GRATTAN FLOOD, Mus. D., M.R.I.A., K.S.G.

Perhaps nothing so strikingly brings home the association of Ireland
with music as the fact that the harp is emblazoned on the national
arms. Ireland, "the mother of sweet singers", as Pope writes;
Ireland, "where", according to St. Columcille, "the clerics sing like
the birds"; Ireland can proudly point to a musical history of over
2,000 years. The Milesians, the De Dananns, and other pre-Christian
colonists were musical. Hecataeus (B.C. 540-475) describes the Celts
of Ireland as singing songs to the harp in praise of Apollo, and
Aethicus of Istria, a Christian philosopher of the early fourth
century, describes the culture of the Irish. Certain it is that, even
before the coming of St. Patrick, the Irish were a highly cultured
nation, and the national Apostle utilized music and song in his work
of conversion. In the early Lives of the Irish Saints musical
references abound, and the Irish school of music attracted foreign
scholars from the sixth to the ninth century.

Hymnologists are familiar with the hymns written by early Irish
saints and laics, _e.g._, St. Sechnall, St. Columcille, St. Molaise,
St. Cuchuimne, St. Columbanus, St. Ultan, St. Colman, St. Cummain,
St. Aengus, Dungal, Sedulius, Moengal, and others. Who has not heard
of the great music school of San Gallen, founded by St. Gall, "the
wonder and delight of Europe," whither flocked German students? One
of the Irish monks, Tuathal (Tutilo), composed numerous sacred
pieces, including the famous farced Kyrie, "Fons bonitatis", included
in the Vatican edition of the _Kyriale_ (1906). Not alone did Irish
monks propagate sacred and secular music throughout France, Italy,
Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and the far North, but they made their
influence felt In Lindisfarne, Malmesbury, Glastonbury, and other
cities in England, as also in Scotland. St. Aldhelm, one of the
pupils of St. Maeldubh, tells us that at the close of the seventh
century, "Ireland, synonymous with learning, literally blazed like
the stars of the firmament with the glory of her scholars."

During the ninth century we meet with twelve different forms of
instruments in use by the Irish, namely:--the _Cruit_ and
_Clairseach_ (small and large harp); _Timpan_ (_Rotta_ or bowed
_cruit_); _Buinne_ (oboe or bassoon); _Bennbuabhal_ and _Corn_
(horn); _Cuisleanna_ and _Piob_ (bagpipes); _Feadan_ (flute or fife);
_Guthbuinne_ (bass horn); _Stoc_ and _Sturgan_ (trumpet); _Pipai_
(single and double pipes); _Craoibh cuil_ and _Crann cuil_
(cymbalum); _Cnamha_ (castanet); and _Fidil_ (fiddle). The so-called
"Brian Boru's Harp" really dates from the thirteenth century, and is
now in Trinity College, Dublin, but there are numerous sculptured
harps of the ninth and tenth centuries on the crosses at Graig,
Ullard, Clonmacnois, Durrow, and Monasterboice.

Donnchadh, an Irish bishop of the ninth century, who died as abbot of
St. Remigius, wrote a commentary on Martianus Capella, a well-known
musical text book. Towering above all his fellows, John Scotus
Erigena, in 867, wrote a tract _De Divisione Naturae_, in which he
expounds _organum_ or discant, nearly a hundred years before the
appearance of the _Scholia Enchiriadis_ and the _Musica Enchiriadis_.
He also wrote a commentary on Martianus Capella, now in a Paris MS.
of the ninth century.

The eulogy of Giraldus Cambrensis, or Gerald Barry, who came to
Ireland in 1183, on Irish harpers and minstrels is too well known to
be repeated, but Brompton and John of Salisbury are equally
enthusiastic. Ground bass, or pedal point, and singing in parts, as
well as bands of harpers and pipers, were in vogue in Ireland before
the coming of the English. Dante, quoted by Galilei, testifies to the
fact that Italy received the harp from Ireland; and, it may be added,
the Irish harp suggested the pianoforte. In the Anglo-Norman ballad,
"The Entrenchment of New Ross"--in 1265--allusion is made to pipes
and flutes, and carols and dancing. Another poem, dating from about
1320, refers to Irish dances in a flattering manner.

John Garland (1190-1264) wrote a treatise on _Organum_, and outlined
a scheme of dividing the interval, which developed into
ornamentation, passing notes, and grace notes. The Dublin _Troper_ of
the thirteenth century has a number of farced Kyries and Glorias,
also a collection of Sequences. A Dublin _Processionale_ of the
fourteenth century contains the most elaborate form of the _Officium
Sepulchri_, with musical notation on a four-line stave--the
foundation of the Miracle Play of the Resurrection. Another Dublin
_Troper_ dates from 1360 and was used in St. Patrick's Cathedral. It
contains the hymn, "Angelus ad Virginem", alluded to by Chaucer. The
Christ Church Psaltery, about 1370, has musical notation and is
exquisitely illuminated. Lionel Power, an Anglo-Irishman, wrote the
first English treatise on music in 1395. Exactly a century later, in
1495, a music school was founded in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

The Irish Annals of the thirteenth to the fifteenth century have
numerous references to distinguished harpers and singers, and there
are still sung many beautiful airs of this period, including "The
Coulin" and "Eibhlin a ruin." John Lawless was a famous Irish
organ-builder of the second half of the fifteenth century, and his
successor, James Dempsey, built many fine organs between the years
1530 and 1565.

Notwithstanding the many penal enactments against Irish minstrels,
all the great Anglo-Irish nobles of the Pale retained an Irish harper
and piper in their service. Under date of 1480, we find Chief Justice
Bermingham having an Irish harper to teach his family, as also "to
harp and to dance." A century later "Blind Cruise, the
harper"--Richard Cruise--composed a lamentation song on the fall of
the Baron of Slane, the air of which is still popular. It is to the
credit of the Irishman, William Bathe (who subsequently became a
Jesuit), that he wrote the first printed English treatise on music,
published in 1584--thus ante-dating by thirteen years Morley's work.
Bathe wrote a second musical treatise in 1587, and he was the first
to call measures by the name of bars. He also formulated methods of
transposition and sight reading that may still be studied with

Thomas Campion, the poet and composer, was born in Dublin in 1567,
but spent nearly all his life in England. Other Irish composers, to
mention only the most distinguished, were William Costello
(madrigalist), Richard Gillie, Edward Shergold, and Walter Kennedy.
Strange as it may seem, Queen Elizabeth retained in her service an
Irish harper, Cormac MacDermot, from 1591 to 1603, and on the death
of the queen he was given an annual pension of L46 10s. 10d.--nearly
L500 a year of our present money.

Shakespeare refers to eleven Irish tunes, of which the famous
"Callino Casturame" (_Cailin og a stuir me_) is still fresh. Irish
dances were extremely popular at the English court from 1600 to 1603
and were introduced into the Masks. Shakespeare's "intrinsic friend,"
John Dowland of Dublin, was one of the greatest lutenists in Europe
from 1590 to 1626. In the dedication of a song "to my loving
countryman, Mr. John Foster the Younger, merchant of Dublin in
Ireland," Dowland sufficiently indicates his nationality, and his
compositions betray all the charm and grace of Irish melody. It is of
interest to add that the earliest printed "Irish Dance" is in
_Parthenia Inviolata_, of which work, published in 1613-4, there is
only one copy known--now in the New York Public Library. From
1600-1602, Charles O'Reilly was harpist to the court of Denmark at
200 thalers a year. His successor was Donal _Dubh_ ("the black")
O'Cahill (1602-1610), who followed Anne of Denmark to the English
court. Walter Quin of Dublin was music master to King James's eldest
son, Prince Henry, from 1608 to 1611. Other noted harpers of the
first half of the seventeenth century are: Rory _dall_ ("the blind")
O'Cahan; Nicholas _dall_ Pierce; Tadhg MacRory; John, Rory, and Henry
Scott; Owen MacKeenan; Owen MacDermot; Tadhg O'Coffey; and Father
Robert Nugent, S.J. Darby Scott was harper to the Danish Court from
1621 till his death, at Copenhagen, on December 19, 1634. Pierce
Ferriter, a "gentleman harper", was executed at Killarney in 1652.
Myles O'Reilly and the two Connellans were famous harpers between the
years 1660-1680. Evelyn, the English diarist, in 1668, praises the
excellent performance on the harp of Sir Edward Sutton, who, in the
following year, was granted by King Charles II. the lands of Confey,
Co. Kildare. Two beautiful harps of this period are still
preserved--the Fitzgerald Harp and the Fogarty Harp.

There are many exquisite airs of the seventeenth century, some of
which have been incorporated in Moore's _Irish Melodies_. The titles
of several airs of this epoch are of historical interest, _e.g._,
"Sarsfield's Lament," "Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill," "MacAlistrum's
March," "Ned of the Hill," "The Breach of Aughrim," "Limerick's
Lamentation," "Lilliburlero," "Ballinamona," "The Boyne Water," and
"The Wild Geese." Irish tunes abound in the various editions of
Playford's _Country Dances_ from 1651 to 1720.

Turlogh O'Carolan (1670-1738), who has been styled "the last of the
Irish bards", wrote and composed innumerable songs, also Planxties,
Plearacas, and Lamentations. It is here merely necessary to note that
twenty-six of O'Carolan's airs are included in Moore's _Irish
Melodies_, although his claim to them has only recently been proved
by the present writer. Goldsmith's eulogy of O'Carolan is well known.

The Jacobite period from 1710 to 1750 considerably influenced Irish
minstrelsy, and some of the most delightful airs were adapted to
Jacobite lyrics. "Seaghan buidhe," "An Sean duine," "Lament for
Kilcash," "Ormonde's Lament," "Morin ni Chullenain," "All the Way to
Galway" (the air of "Yankee Doodle"), "Caitlin ni Houlihan," "Balance
a straw" ("The Wearing of the Green"), "St. Patrick's Day," "Plancam
Peirbhig," are amongst the tunes in vogue at this period.

As early as 1685 the Hibernian Catch Club was established and still
flourishes. Cecilian celebrations were held from 1727 to 1732, and a
Dublin Academy of Music was founded in 1728. The Charitable and
Musical Society (founded in 1723) built the Fishamble Street Music
Hall in 1741, and assisted at the first performance of _The Messiah_,
conducted by Handel himself, on 13th April, 1742. Kitty Clive, Peg
Woffington, and Daniel Sullivan were noted Irish singers of this
epoch, while John Clegg, Dr. Murphy, and Burke Thumoth were famous
instrumentalists. In 1741 Richard Pockrich invented the Musical
Glasses, for which Gluck wrote some pieces: it was afterwards
improved by Benjamin Franklin. On the continent, Henry Madden was
music director of the Chapel Royal at Versailles in 1744 (in
succession to Campra), and was also canon of St. Quentin.

In 1764 the Earl of Mornington, Mus. D., was appointed first
professor of music in Dublin University. A few years later Charles
Clagget invented the valve-horn. Michael Kelly of Dublin was
specially selected by Mozart to create the parts of Basilio and Don
Curzio at the first performance of the opera of _Figaro_, on May 1st,
1786. Kane O'Hara, Samuel Lee, Owenson, Neale, Baron Dillon, Dr.
Doyle, T.A. Geary, Mahon, and the Earl of Westmeath were
distinguished musicians--while the fame of Carter, Mountain,
Moorehead, and Dr. Cogan was not confined to Ireland.

Among native minstrels, Jerome Duigenan, Dominic Mongan, Denis
Hempson, Charles Byrne, James Duncan, Arthur Victory, and Arthur
O'Neill were celebrated as harpers. The Belfast meeting of 1792
revived the vogue of the national instrument. Nor was the bagpipe
neglected. Even in America, in 1778, Lord Rawdon had a band of
pipers, with Barney Thomson as Pipe Major. At home, Sterling,
Jackson, MacDonnell, Moorehead, Kennedy, and Macklin sustained the
reputation of this ancient instrument.

Ere the close of the eighteenth century John Field of Dublin was a
distinguished pianist. He subsequently (1814) invented the nocturne,
developed by Chopin. Sir John Stevenson (the arranger of the _Irish
Melodies_), Tom Cooke, William Southwell (inventor of the damper
action for pianofortes), Henry Mountain, Andrew Ashe (flautist),
Barton, Rooke, and Bunting were world-famed.

Among the Irish musicians of the last century the following names are
typical: Thomas Moore, J. A. Wade, Balle (_Bohemian Girl_), Wallace
(_Maritana_), Osborne, Sir Frederick Ouseley, Scotson Clarke, Howard
Glover, Horncastle, J. W. Glover, Sir Robert Stewart, Augusta Holmes,
R. M. Levey, Joseph Robinson, Forde, Lover, Kearns, Allen, Barker,
Torrance, Molloy, Guernsey, Gilmore, Thunder, Harvey, Goodman, Sir
Arthur Sullivan (_Pinafore, Mikado_), Miss Davis, Halliday (inventor
of the Kent bugle), Latham, Duggan, Gaskin, Lacy, Pontet
(Piccolomini), Hudson, Pigot, Horan, Marks, and W. C. Levey. Famous
vocalists like Catherine Hayes, Mrs. Scott Fennell, Signer Foli
(Foley), Barton McGuckin, Denis O'Sullivan, and William Ludwig
deserve inclusion.

In our own day, it is only necessary to mention composers like Sir
Charles Villiers Stanford, Dr. C. Woods, Victor Herbert, Mrs.
Needham, Dr. Sinclair, Norman O'Neill, and Arthur O'Leary; singers
like Egan, Burke, Plunket Greene, John MacCormack, P. O'Shea, Charles
Manners, and Joseph O'Mara; violinists like Maud McCarthy, Emily
Keady, Arthur Darley, and Patrick Delaney; organists like Dr. Charles
Marchant, Brendan Rogers, Dr. Joze, and Professor Buck; writers like
Mrs. Curwen, Dr. Annie Patterson, Mrs. Milligan Fox, Professor
Mahaffy, A.P. Graves, Dr. Collison, and G.B. Shaw; and conductors
like Hamilton Harty and James Glover.


Walker: Irish Bards (1786); O'Curry: Lectures (1870); Hardiman: Irish
Mistrelsy (2 vols., 1834); The Complete Petrie Collection (3 vols.,
1902-1904); Grattan Flood: History of Irish Music (3rd ed., 1913),
Story of the Harp (1906), Story of the Bagpipe (1911); Mrs. Milligan
Fox: Annals of the Irish Harpers (1911); Mason: Song Lore of Ireland
(1910); Armstrong: Musical Instruments (2 vols., 1904-1908); O'Neill:
Irish Folk Music (1911), Irish Minstrels and Musicians (1913).



From the earliest times in the history of western Europe Ireland has
been renowned for her work in metal. The first metal used was copper,
and copper weapons are found in Ireland dating from 2,000 B.C., or
even earlier, the beautiful designs of which show that the early
inhabitants of the country were skilled workers in metal. Fields of
copper exist all along the southern seaboard of Ireland. Numbers of
flat copper celts, or axes, have been found modelled on the still
earlier stone implements. By degrees the influence of the early stone
axe disappears and axes of a true metal type are developed. Primitive
copper knives and awls are also abundant. The fineness of the early
Irish copper work is seen at its best in the numerous copper halberd
blades found in Ireland. These blades, varying from nine to sixteen
inches in length, were fastened at right angles by rivets into wooden
shafts. The blades show a slight sickle-like curve and are of the
highest workmanship. Halberds somewhat similar in type have been
found in Spain, North Germany, and Scandinavia.

Between the years 2000 and 1800 B.C. the primitive metalworkers
discovered that bronze, a mixture of tin and copper, was a more
suitable metal than pure copper for the manufacture of weapons; and
the first period of the bronze age may be dated from 1800 to 1500
B.C. The bronze celts at first differed little from those made of
copper, but gradually the type developed from the plain wedge-shaped
celt to the beautiful socketed celt, which appears on the scene in
the last, or fifth, division of the bronze age (900-350 B.C.). It was
during the age of bronze that spears came into general use, as did
the sword and rapier. The early spear-heads were simply knife-shaped
bronze weapons riveted to the ends of shafts, but by degrees the
graceful socketed spear-heads of the late bronze age were developed.

Stone moulds for casting the early forms of weapons have been found,
but, as the art of metalworking became perfected, the use of sand
moulds was discovered, with the result that there are no extant
examples of moulds for casting the more developed forms of weapons.
The bronze weapons--celts, swords, and spear-heads--are often highly
decorated. In these decorations can be traced the connection between
the early Irish civilization and that of the eastern Mediterranean.
The bronze age civilization in Europe spread westward from the
eastern Mediterranean either by the southern route of Italy, Spain,
France, and thence to Ireland, or, as seems more probable, up the
river Danube, then down the Elbe, and so to Scandinavia, whence
traders by the north of Scotland introduced the motives and patterns
of the Aegean into Ireland. Whichever way the eastern civilization
penetrated into Ireland, it left England practically untouched in her
primitive barbarity.

Of gold work, for which Ireland is especially famous, the principal
feature in the bronze age was the lunula, a crescent-shaped flat gold
ornament generally decorated at the ends of the crescent. These
lunulae are found in profusion all over Ireland. A few have been
found in Cornwall and Brittany, and a few in Scotland and Denmark.
One has been found in Luxemburg and one in Hanover.

Gold collars are numerous in Ireland and also date from the bronze
age. The earliest form of collar is the "torc" of twisted gold.
Another type, later in date than the torc, is the gold ring-shaped
collar. Two splendid examples of this latter type were found at
Clonmacnois, the decoration of which, in _La Tene_, or trumpet,
pattern, shows the connection between the Irish and continental

A find of prehistoric gold ornaments in county Clare should be
mentioned. An immense number was there discovered in 1854 hidden
together in a cist, the value of the whole being estimated at over

After the bronze age comes the iron age. The introduction of iron
wrought a great change in metalworking, but, as iron is a metal very
subject to oxidization, comparatively few early iron remains are
found. There are some swords of an early pattern in the National
Museum at Dublin.

It has been shown that the pre-Christian metalwork of Ireland is well
worthy of attention, but it is to the early Christian metalworkers
that Ireland owes her pre-eminent fame in this field. In early
Christian Ireland metalworking was brought to a pitch rarely equalled
and never excelled. The remains found, such as the Tara Brooch, the
Cross of Cong, and the Ardagh Chalice, are among the most beautiful
metalwork in the world. The wonderful interlaced patterns, which are
typically Celtic, bewildering in their intricacy, and fascinating in
the freedom and boldness of their execution, lend themselves readily
to metal work.

The connecting link between the metalwork of the late pagan period
and that of early Christian times is chiefly exemplified by the
penannular brooches, of which great numbers have been found in
Ireland. Examples of this characteristically Celtic ornament may be
seen in all Celtic countries.

In its earliest form this brooch is simply a ring, with a gap in it,
to which a pin is loosely attached by a smaller ring. Gradually the
open ends of the ring, which need some enlargement in order to
prevent the pin slipping off, became larger and ornamented. In time
these became regular trumpet-shaped ends, generally ornamented with
characteristic "trumpet" patterns. The next stage was to close the
gap, leaving a ring with a crescent-shaped disc at one side. Space
does not permit of the description of the numerous brooches found. It
will be sufficient to describe the Tara Brooch, which is the crowning
glory not only of the Irish but of any metalworker's art.

The Tara Brooch, whose only connection with Tara is its name, was
found near Drogheda; it is about seven inches in diameter and the pin
about fifteen inches long. It is made of bronze covered with the most
elaborate interlaced ornament in gold. The fineness of the interlaced
work may be compared with, and is quite equal to, that of the best
illuminated manuscripts; the freedom of its execution is amazing.
Besides panels of ribbon ornament, which include spirals, plaited
work, human heads, and animal forms, the front of the brooch is
decorated with enamel and settings of amber and colored glass. The
back of the brooch is, as is often the case in Irish work, decorated
in a bolder manner than the front, and the "trumpet" pattern is there
very marked. The head of the pin is also elaborately decorated. The
minute and intricate style of the work is strikingly shown by the
fact that, even after prolonged study, some patterns escaped notice
and have only lately been discovered. Further, each of the gold lines
is made of tiny gold balls, so small as only to be seen by means of a
magnifying glass.

With the introduction of Christianity, the attention of artificers
was turned to the manufacture of church vessels and shrines. Of these
perhaps the most beautiful are the Ardagh Chalice, the Cross of Cong,
and the Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell, though great numbers of other
sacred ornaments, such as the Shrine of St. Lactan's Arm and the
numerous bell shrines, are also fine examples of the work of an
unsurpassed school of metalworkers.

The date of the Tara Brooch is not easy to determine, but it may
probably be placed in the eighth century of our era. The Ardagh
Chalice belongs probably to about the same date. It was found in a
rath at Ardagh, county Limerick, in 1868. It measures 7 inches in
height and 9-1/2 in diameter. Around the cup is a band of fine
filigree interlaced ornament in the form of panels divided by half
beads of enamel. Below this are the names of the twelve Apostles in
faint Celtic lettering. The two handles are beautifully decorated
with panels of interwoven ornament, and on the sides are two circular
discs divided into ornamented panels. The under side of the foot of
the Chalice is also very beautifully decorated.

The shrines of the bells of the Irish saints are interesting examples
of Irish metal work. As is fitting, the finest of these is the Shrine
of St. Patrick's Bell. This was made by order of King Domnall
O'Lachlainn between the years 1091 and 1105 to contain St. Patrick's
Bell, a square iron bell made of two plates of sheet iron riveted
together. The shrine is made of bronze plates, to which gold filigree
work and stones are riveted. The top of the shrine, curved to receive
the handle of the bell, is of silver elaborately decorated. The back
is overlaid with a plate of silver cut in cruciform pattern. Around
the margin of the back is engraved the following inscription in
Irish: "A prayer for Domnall Ua Lachlainn, by whom this bell [shrine]
was made, and for Domnall, successor of Patrick, by whom it was made,
and for Cathalan Ua Maelchallann, the keeper of the bell, and for
Cudulig Ua Inmainen with his sons, who fashioned it." The whole is
executed in a very fine manner and is the most beautiful object of
its kind in existence. Another beautiful shrine, known as the Cross
of Cong, made to enshrine a piece of the true cross presented by the
pope in 1123, was made for King Turlogh O'Conor at about that date.
It is 2 feet 6 inches high and 1 foot 6-3/4 inches wide. It is made
of oak cased with copper and enriched with ornaments of gilded
bronze. The ornamentation is of the typical Irish type, as on the
Ardagh Chalice and the Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell. A quartz crystal
set in the centre of the front of the cross probably held the relic.

It is clear from the succession of beautiful work executed from the
eighth to the twelfth century, that there must have existed in
Ireland during that period a school of workers in metal such as has
seldom been equalled by any individual worker or guild before or
since, and never excelled. The examples described are only the more
famous of the remains of early Irish Christian art in metal, but they
are surrounded by numerous examples of pins, brooches, and shrines,
each worthy to rank with the finest productions of the metalworker.
The Shrine of St. Moedoc (date uncertain) ought perhaps to be
mentioned. On it are found several figures, including three nuns, men
with books, sceptres, and swords, and a lifelike figure of a harper.

Besides articles of ornament, articles of use, such as bits for
horses and household utensils, have been found, which show that the
Irish smiths were as well able to produce articles for every-day use
as the artificers were to create works of art in metal.

With the landing of the English in 1169 the arts and sciences in
Ireland declined. Indeed, from that time on and for long afterwards,
almost the only metalworkers needed were makers of arms and weapons
of offense and defense.


British Museum, Bronze Age Guide; Coffey: Bronze Age in Ireland;
Allen: Celtic Art; Abercrombie: Bronze Age Pottery; Wilde: Catalogue
of the Royal Irish Academy's Collection; Allen: Christian Symbolism;
Stokes: Christian Art in Ireland; Petrie: Ecclesiastical Architecture
in Ireland; Coffey: Guide to the Celtic Antiquities of the Christian
Period perserved in the National Museum, Dublin; Kane: Industrial
Resources of Ireland; O'Curry: Manners and Customs of the Ancient
Irish; Coffey: New Grange and other incised Tumuli in Ireland;
Dechelette: Manuel d'Archeologie pre-historique; Ridgeway: Origin of
Currency and Weight Standards.



In the dark ages of Europe, whilst new civilizations were in the
making and all was unrest, art and religion, like the lamp of the
sanctuary, burned brightly and steadily in Ireland, and their rays
penetrated the outer gloom. Scattered through the libraries of Europe
are the priceless manuscripts limned by Irish scribes. The earliest
missionaries to the continent, disciples of St. Columbanus and St.
Gall, doubtless brought with them into exile beautiful books which
they or their brothers of the parent monastery had wrought in a labor
of love; or mayhap many a monk crossed the seas bearing the treasured
volumes into hiding from the spoiling hands of the Dane. Yet,
fortunately, in the island home where their beauty was born the most
superb volumes still remain.

From almost prehistoric times the Irish were skilled artificers in
gold and bronze, and, at the advent of Christianity, had already
evolved and perfected that unique system of geometrical ornament
which is known as Celtic design. The original and essential features
of this system consisted in the use of spirals and interlacing
strapwork, but later on this type was developed by transforming the
geometrical fret into a scheme of imaginary or nondescript animals,
portions of which, such as the tails and ears, were prolonged and
woven in exquisite fancy through the border. The artistic features of
Celtic book decoration consist chiefly of initial letters of this
nature embellished with color. Amongst the ancient Irish there was a
keen knowledge of color and an exceptional appreciation of color
values. Thus it was that in the early centuries of Christian Ireland
the learned monks, transcribing the Gospels and longing to make the
book beautiful, were able to bring to their task an artistic skill
which was hereditary and almost instinctive. The colors which they
used were mostly derived from mineral substances and the black was
carbon, made, it is conjectured, from charred fish-bones; but with
them was combined some gummy material which made them cling softly to
the vellum and has held for us their lustre for more than a thousand
years. It is noteworthy that neither gold nor silver was used for
book decoration, and this would appear to be a deliberate avoidance
of the glitter and glare which distinguish eastern art.

_The Book of Durrow _(in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin) is
the oldest specimen of Celtic illumination and, if not the work of
St. Columcille, is certainly of as early a date. Each of the Gospels
opens with a beautiful initial succeeded by letters of gradually
diminishing size, and there are full page decorations embodying such
subjects as the symbols of the Evangelists. The colors are rich and
vivid and all the designs are of the purest and most Celtic

_The Gospels of MacRegol _(now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford) is
the work of an Abbot of Birr who died A.D. 820. It is a volume of
unusually large size, copiously ornamented with masterly designs and
containing illuminated portraits of Saints Mark, Luke, and John. The
first part of the book with the portrait of St. Matthew is missing.
_The Book of Kells _(in the Library of T.C.D.) is the all-surpassing
masterpiece of Celtic illuminative art and is acknowledged to be the
most beautiful book in the world. This copy of the four Gospels was
long deemed to have been made by the saintly hands of Columcille,
though it probably belongs to the eighth century. Into its pages are
woven such a wealth of ornament, such an ecstasy of art, and such a
miracle of design that the book is today not only one of Ireland's
greatest glories but one of the world's wonders. After twelve
centuries the ink is as black and lustrous and the colors are as
fresh and soft as though but the work of yesterday. The whole range
of colors is there--green, blue, crimson, scarlet, yellow, purple,
violet--and the same color is at times varied in tone and depth and
shade, thereby achieving a more exquisite combination and effect. In
addition to the numerous decorative pages and marvellous initials,
there are portraits of the Evangelists and full-page miniatures of
the Temptation of Christ, His Seizure by the Jews, and the Madonna
and Child surrounded by Angels with censers. Exceptionally beautiful
are these angels and other angelic figures throughout the book, their
wings shining with glowing colors amid woven patterns of graceful
design. The portraits and miniatures and the numerous faces centred
in initial letters are not to be adjudged by the standard of
anatomical drawing and delineation of the human figure, but rather by
their effect as part of a scheme of ornamentation; for the Celtic
illuminator was imaginative rather than realistic, and aimed
altogether at achieving beauty by means of color and design. The Book
of Kells is the Mecca of the illuminative artist, but it is the
despair of the copyist. The patience and skill of the olden scribe
have baffled the imitator; for, on an examination with a magnifying
glass, it has been found that, in a space of a quarter of an inch,
there are no fewer than a hundred and fifty-eight interlacements of a
ribbon pattern of white lines edged by black ones on a black ground.
Surely this is the manuscript which was shown to Giraldus Cambrensis
towards the close of the twelfth century and of whose illuminations
he speaks with glowing enthusiasm; "they were," he says, "supposed to
have been produced by the direction of an angel at the prayer of St.

_The Gospels of MacDurnan _(now in the Archbishop's Library at
Lambeth) is a small and beautiful volume which was executed by an
abbot of Armagh who died in the year 891. A full-page picture of the
Evangelist precedes each Gospel, and a composite border frames each
miniature in a bewildering pattern of intertwining strapwork and
wonderful designs of imaginary beasts. Ornamental capitals and rich
borders give a special beauty to the initial pages of the Gospels.

_The Book of Armagh _(in the Library of T.C.D.) was carefully guarded
and specially venerated through the ages in the erroneous belief that
it was in part the handiwork of St. Patrick. It was written about the
year 800, and would appear to have been copied from documents
actually written by the patron saint of Ireland. The book is
exceptionally interesting by reason of the fact that it contains St.
Patrick's Confession, that beautiful story of how he found his
mission, how the captive grew to love his captors, and how, after his
escape, he came back to them bearing the lamp of Holy Faith. Although
the ornamentation of the manuscript is infrequent, there are
occasional beautiful examples which compare in richness with those in
the Book of Kells.

_The Liber Hymnorum _(in the Franciscan Monastery, Dublin) contains a
number of hymns associated with the names of Irish saints. The
ornamentation consists of colored initials, designed with a striking
use of fanciful animal figures interlaced and twined with delightful
freedom around the main structural body.

The _Garland of Howth_ and the _Stowe Missal_ (both in Trinity
College Library) belong to the eighth century and are beautiful
examples of early illuminative art. The former, which is very
incomplete, has only two ornamental pages left, each containing
figure-representations inserted in the decorative work.

The _Gospels of St. Chad_ (in the Cathedral Library at Lichfield) and
the _Gospels of Lindisfarne_, which are "the glory of the British
Museum", form striking examples of the influence of Celtic art. St.
Chad was educated in Ireland in the school of St. Finian, where he
acquired his training in book decoration. The Gospels of Lindisfarne
were produced by the monks of Iona, where St. Columcille founded his
great school of religion, art, and learning. This latter manuscript
is second only to the Book of Kells in its glory of illuminative
design, and, from its distinctive scheme of colors, the tones of
which are light and bright and gay, it forms a contrast to the
quieter shades and the solemn dignity of the more famous volume.

_The Book of the Dun Cow, The Book of Leinster_, and the other great
manuscripts of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries are
interesting as literature rather than as art, for they tell the
history of ancient Erin and have garnered her olden legends and
romantic tales. It is only the Gospels and other manuscripts of
religious subjects that are illuminated. In the apparel of the
ancient Irish, the number of colors marked the social rank: the king
might wear seven colors, poets and learned men six; five colors were
permitted in the clothes of chieftains, and thus grading down to the
servant, who might wear but one. All this the scribe knew well. We
can picture the humble servant of God, clad in a coarse robe of a
single color, deep in his chosen labor of recording the life and
teachings of his Master, and striving to endow this record with the
glory of the seven colors which were rightly due to a King alone. As
we gaze on his work today its beauty is instinct with life, and the
patient love that gave it birth seems to cling to it still. The white
magic of the artist's holy hands has bridged the span of a thousand


O'Curry: Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish
History (Dublin, 1861); Brunn: An Enquiry into the Art of the
Illuminated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages, Part I, Celtic
Illuminated Manuscripts (Edinburgh, 1897); Robinson: Celtic
Illuminative Art in the Gospels of Durrow, Lindisfarne, and Kells
(Dublin, 1908); Westwood: The Book of Kells, a lecture given in
Oxford, November, 1886 (Dublin, 1887); Gougaud: Repertoire des
fac-similes des manuscripts irlandais (Paris, 1913).



The ruins of Ireland are her proudest monuments. They stand as a
lasting revelation to all mankind--a distinct and definite
proclamation that the Irish people, century after century, were able
to raise and adorn some of the finest buildings in stone that western
civilization has seen or known. It is recognized the world over that
Irish art has a beauty and distinction all its own, in its own Irish
setting unrivalled, throned in its own land, in its own natural
surroundings. The shrines and gospels, the reliquaries and missals,
the crosses and bells that are still existent, many in Ireland,
others in every country in the world, attest beyond any dispute that
Irish art-workers held a preeminent place in the early middle ages,
and that works of Irish art are still treasured as unique in their
day and time. No country has been plundered and desolated as Ireland
has been. Dane, Norman, English--each in turn swept across the fair
face of Ireland, carrying destruction in their train, yet withal
Ireland has her art treasures and her ruins that bear favorable
comparison with those of other civilizations.

In Dublin and in many private Irish collections can be found
hand-written books of parchment, illuminated with glowing colors that
time has scarce affected or the years caused to fade. On one page
alone of the Book of Kells, ornament and writing can be seen penned
and painted in lines too numerous even to count. They are there by
the thousand: a magnifying glass is required to reveal even a
fragment of them. Ireland produced these in endless number--every
great library or collection in Europe possesses one or more examples.

As with books, so with reliquaries, crosses, and bells. When the
Island of Saints and Scholars could produce books, it could make
shrines and everything necessary to stimulate and hand down the piety
and the patient skill of a people steeped in art-craft and religious
feeling. What they could do on parchment--like the Books of Kells and
Durrow--what they could produce in bronze and precious metals--like
the Cross of Cong, the Shrine of Saint Patrick's Bell, the Tara
Brooch, and the Chalice of Ardagh--not to write of the numberless
bronze and gold articles of an age centuries long preceding their
production--they could certainly vie with in stone.

Of this earlier work a word must go down. In Ireland still at the
present day, after all the years of plunder she has undergone, more
ancient gold art-treasures remain than in any other country, museum,
or collection, most of them pre-Christian, and what the other
countries do possess are largely Irish or of Celtic origin. We must
have this borne into the minds of every one of Irish birth or origin,
that this great treasure was battered into shape by Irish hands on
Irish anvils, designed in Irish studios, ornamented with Irish skill
for Irish use.

With such workmen, having such instincts and training, what of the
housing and surroundings to contain them and give them a fit and
suitable setting? The earliest stone structures in Ireland still
remaining are the great stone cashels or circular walls enclosing
large spaces--walls of great thickness, unmortared, in which there
are vast quantities of masonry. Around their summits a chariot might
be driven, inside their spaces horse races might be run. As a few
examples, there are Staigue, in Kerry; Dun Angus, in Aran, off
Galway; Aileach, above the walls of Derry. Of the earliest churches,
cyclopean in construction and primitive in character, built of stone,
with thick sloping walls from foundation to ridge, Gallerus still
remains, and the Skelligs, those wondrous sea-girt rocks, preserve
both church and cell almost perfect. There are many other examples,
some of a later date, such as Temple Cronan and Maghera and Banagher
in Derry, St. Finan's oratory in county Cork, St. Fechin's at Fore,
and St. Molaise's at Devenish.

From the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, there are innumerable
examples of oratories, some with stone roofs, others with roofs not
so permanent, but all having the common features of an altar window
facing the east, through which the sun fell at the beginning of the
day to tell the early missioner that his hour of devotion had
arrived, and a west door, through which the rays of the declining sun
fell across the altar steps, speaking of a day that was closing. A
south window was added close to the east end, and it, too, was a
sun-dial; it told the hour of angelus, the mid-day, when the bell was
rung and a calm reverence fell on all within its hearing. Such
churches can still be seen at Aran and Inismurray, on the islands of
Lough Derg, Lough Ri, and in many other places.

A few years later these oratories were too small for the growing
faith, and larger churches were built, some using the older structure
as chancels. Where the west door was built a circular arch was made
and the new and old united. This can well be seen at Inis-na-ghoill
in Lough Corrib, on the Aran Islands off Galway, at Glendalough, at
Inis-cleraun in Lough Ri, at Clonmacnois, at Iniscaltra, and on many
another island and promontory of the south and west.

During this time, and after, we find the most elaborate carvings on
door and arch and window, equal in skill to what is found in book or
metal work.

It must have been at this time that the Galls, or strangers, first
invaded Ireland, bearing havoc in their train, for then it was that
the _cloicteach_, or Round Towers, were built. It is now admitted by
all Irish authorities of any repute, and that beyond dispute, that
the Round Towers, the glory of Ireland, were built by Irish people as
Christian monuments from which the bells might be rung, and as places
of strength for the preservation of the valued articles used in
Christian worship; here they might be safely stored. They were also
used for the preservation of life in case of sudden attack and
onslaught by unexpected enemies. All the towers are on ecclesiastical
sites, many are incorporated in church buildings, such as those of
Glendalough in Wicklow and Clonmacnois on the Shannon, The records of
the construction of some of them in the tenth and eleventh centuries
are still extant, and this is conclusive. There are today about
seventy Round Towers in Ireland, and many have been destroyed.

The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
These gray old pillar temples--these conquerors of time.

Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,
And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,
And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the east,
And the crozier of the pontiff, and the vestments of the priest.

_D.F. MacCarthy_.

This was the time when the High Crosses of Ireland were carved and
set up. They vie with the Round Towers in interest and in the display
of skill. What the towers have in perfection, masonry and
construction, the crosses have in artistic carving and symbolic
design. No two crosses are alike; they are as varied as the clouds in
an Irish sky or the pebbles on the beach or the flowers in a garden.
They were carved in reverence by those who knew and esteemed their
art, and lavished all their skill and knowledge on what they most
valued and treasured. They were not set up as grave-marks
merely--theirs was a higher and loftier mission. They were raised in
places where some great event or period was to be commemorated--they
were erected where some early disciple of the Cross could stand
beside one of them and from any panel could tell the foundation of
the Faith, for there in stone was story after story, from the Old
Testament and the New, that gave him his text, and so, as at the
Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnois, a missioner could preach on
every recurring holy day from Christmas to Christmas, with ever his
text in stone before him. Many a broken and mutilated cross has been
set up in Ireland in recent years, proving that the heart of the
Gael, no matter how rent and broken, is still inclined to bind up the
broken wounds of her past glories.

With the religious orders there came to Ireland a widespread desire
to add something to the older sanctuaries of the Gael, to widen their
borders and strengthen their cords, and so the abbeys were founded.
Here and there we find them still--by winding rivers, on rich
meadows, in glens and glades, by the sea margin, or on the slopes of
the rugged mountain. Their crumbling walls and broken windows can
still be traced, their towers are still to be seen over tree tops and
in the centre of many a slumbering town. By the shores of Donegal Bay
the old Franciscan house, where the Four Masters compiled what is
perhaps the most remarkable record possessed by any nation, is still
clothed in ivy. At Kilconnell, in Galway, their old place is almost
as they left it, but roofless, with the tears of the friars upon the
altar steps. Clare Galway has a tower worth travelling half a
continent to see. By the Boniet River, at Drumahaire, on the banks of
Lough Gill, are the mason marks of the cloister builders, and the
figure of St. Francis talking to the birds is still there. The abbey
is roofless and empty, and so the birds of the air are his constant

Space forbids, or endless abbeys might be described. The Black Abbey
at Kilkenny, with its long row of Butler effigies, or the Cathedral
of Saint Canice, still perfect, with its soaring round tower beside
it, or the mystical seven light window of the Franciscan friary by
the Nore, with the old mill-weirs running free to this day. How long
could we ponder by the east window of Kilcooley, with tracery like a
spider's web, and listen to the mystical bells, or gaze at the
beautiful oriel at Feenagh, or stand at Jerpoint, with its spacious
cloisters and stone-groined choir, with Saint Christopher in Irish
marble beside us.

Cashel, one of the wonders of the world, grows up suddenly into sight
on a high rock rising from level land crowned with buildings. A great
abbey dominates; beside it clings that carved gem of a stone-roofed
church, Cormac's Chapel. Round Tower and Cross are there, and many a
sculptured tomb.

Not far from Cashel is the Abbey of Holy Cross, with its lovely
mitred windows, shadowed in the river passing at its feet. The
circular pillars and arches of Boyle Abbey are splendidly
proportioned, whilst the cloisters of Sligo display in their long,
shadowy recesses and ornamented pillars great dignity and beauty. The
windows and monuments of Ennis Friary, founded by the O'Briens, are
of unusual interest, the carving of figure-subjects being equal to
the best of their age.

We have Thomastown and Callan, Dunbrody and Tintern, all having an
individual charm and interest that not only dim the eye and make the
blood course freely in every one of Irish stock when he looks upon
what is and thinks of what was, but even in the coldest light give
food for thought to every one desirous of knowing something of the
growth and civilization of a great people.

Of the many castles and stout Irish strongholds it is hard to write
in such a short paper as this. Those on the Boyne, such as Trim, for
strong building and extent, excel in many ways. Carlingford,
Carrickfergus, and Dunluce have by their size and picturesque
situations ever appealed to visitors. They are each built on rocks
jutting into the sea, Dunluce on a great perpendicular height, the
Atlantic dashing below. Dunamace, near Maryborough, in the O'More
country, appears like Cashel, but is entirely military. The famed
walled cities of Kells, in Kilkenny, and Fore, in Westmeath, are
remarkable. Each has an abbey, many towers, gates, and stout
bastions. The great keeps of the midland lords, the towers of
Granuaile on the west coast, and the traders' towers on the east
coast, especially those of Down, afford ample material for a study of
the early colonizing efforts of different invaders, as well as
providing incidents of heroism and romance. These square battlemented
towers can be seen here and there in every district.

Every portion of Ireland has its ruins. Earthworks, stone forts,
prehistoric monuments, circular stone huts, early churches, abbeys,
crosses, round towers, castles of every size and shape are to be
found in every county, some one in every parish, all over Ireland. It
is almost invidious to name any in particular where the number is so


Proceedings of Royal Irish Academy (Dublin); Proceedings of Society
of Antiquaries (Dublin); Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Old Series
and New Series, edited by F.J. Bigger, Belfast; Wakeman: Handbook of
Irish Antiquities (Dublin, 1891); Stokes: Early Christian Art in
Ireland (Dublin, 1887); Petrie: Round Towers and Ancient Architecture
of Ireland (Dublin, 1845).



_Librarian, University College, Dublin_.

It would be difficult to dispute, in view of her innumerable and
excellent artists, that there has always been in modern times an art
consciousness in Ireland, but it is impossible to assert that there
has been any artistic unity in her people. She has produced no
school, but merely a great number of brilliant painters, sculptors,
and engravers, chiefly for export. With all our acknowledged artistic
capacity, we have not, except in one notable instance, produced a
cumulative art effect. The history of Irish art is almost uniformly a
depressing narrative. During a comparatively brief period in the
eighteenth century--significantly enough, it was while the country
enjoyed a short spell of national life--there was something like a
national patronage of the artist, and the result is visible in the
noble public buildings and beautiful houses of the Irish capital,
with their universally admired mantelpieces, doors, ceilings,
fanlights, ironwork, and carvings. In short, while Ireland had even a
partly unfettered control of her own concerns, the arts were
generously encouraged by her government and by the wealthy
individual. When other European capitals were mere congeries of
rookeries, Dublin, the centre of Irish political life, possessed
splendid streets, grandly planned. But there was little solidarity
among the artistic fraternity. Various associations of artists were
formed, which held together fairly well until the flight of the
resident town gentry after the Union, and many admirable artists were
trained in the schools of the Royal Dublin Society, but, since the
opening of the nineteenth century, there has been almost no visible
art effort in Dublin. True, there have been many fine artists, who
have made a struggle to fix themselves in Dublin, but, as with the
Royal Hibernian Academy, of which the best of them were members, the
struggle has been a painful agony. Usually the artist migrated to
London to join the large group of Irishmen working there; a few
others went to America and obtained an honored place in her art
annals. Those who went to England secured in many cases the highest
rewards of the profession. Several, like Barry, Hone, Barrett, and
Cotes, were founders or early members of the Royal Academy; one, Sir
Martin Shee, became its President. Nevertheless, many distinguished
artists remained in Dublin, where the arts of portrait-painting and
engraving were carried to a high pitch of excellence.

This record must necessarily be of a chronological character, and can
only take note of those whose works have actual value and interest,
historical or other. Edward Luttrell (1650-1710) did some excellent
work in crayon or pastel, while Garrett Murphy (fl. 1650-1716),
Stephen Slaughter (d. 1765), Francis Bindon (d. 1765), and James
Latham (1696-1747), have each left us notable portraits of the great
Irish personages of their day. To fellow countrymen in London,
Charles Jervas (1675?-1739), Thomas Hickey (d. 1816?), and Francis
Cotes, R.A. (1725-1770), we owe presentments of other famous people.
George Barrett, R.A. (1728-1784), one of the greatest landscapists of
his time; Nathaniel Hone, R.A. (1718-1784), an eccentric but gifted
painter, with an individuality displayed in all his portraits; James
Barry, R.A. (1741-1806), still more eccentric, with grand conceptions
imperfectly carried out in his great historical and allegorical
pictures:--these, with Henry Tresham, R.A. (1749?-1814), and Matthew
Peters, R.A. (1742-1814), historical painters of considerable merit,
upheld the Irish claim to a high place in English eighteenth century
art. A little later, miniaturists such as Horace Hone, A.R.A.
(1756-1825), George Chinnery (1774-1852), and Adam Buck (1759-1844),
also worked with remarkable success in London. Among resident Irish
artists, the highest praise can be given to the miniature painters,
John Comerford (1770?-1832) and Charles Robertson (1760-1821), and to
the portrait-painters, Robert Hunter (fl. 1750-1803) and (especially)
Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808), of whose work Ireland possesses
many distinguished examples. Some day Hamilton's pictures will appeal
to a far wider public than his countrymen can provide. One must omit
the names of many clever Irish artists like the Wests, Francis and
Robert, who were the most successful teachers of perhaps any time in
Ireland, and come at once to that branch of art in which Ireland
stands second to none--mezzotint-engraving.

One of the earliest engravers in this style was Edward Luttrell,
already named as a painter, but it was John Brooks (fl. 1730-1756)
who is justly considered the real founder of that remarkable group of
Irish engravers whose work may be more correctly described as
belonging to a school than any other of the period. For many years in
Dublin, and afterwards in London, a succession of first-rate artists
of Irish birth produced work which remains and always must remain one
of the glories of Ireland. Limits of space allow only the bare
mention of the names of James McArdell (1728?-1765), Charles Spooner
(d. 1767), Thomas Beard (fl. 1728), Thomas Frye (1710-1762), Edward
Fisher (1722-1785?), Michael Ford (d. 1765), John Dixon (1740?-1811),
Richard Purcell (fl. 1746-1766), Richard Houston (1721?-1775), John
Murphy (1748?-1820), Thomas Burke (1749-1815), Charles Exshaw (fl.
1747-1771), and Luke Sullivan (1705-1771)--artists of whom any
country might be proud, and whose works have in most cases outlasted
the remembrance of the persons whose likenesses they sought to
reproduce. Separate monographs might be justifiably written on most
of the gifted artists here enumerated, and one can only regret not
being able in short space to compare and estimate their various
qualities. Thomas Chambers, A.R.A. (1724?-1784), William Nelson
Gardiner (1766-1814), James Egan (1799-1842), and William Humphreys
(1794-1865) are other Irish engravers who cannot be overlooked in a
survey of the art of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth

Contemporaneously with the remarkable development of the art of
engraving arose a group of Irish architects. Rather earlier in point
of time was Sir Edward Lovat Pearce (d. 1733), who was one of the
chief architects of the Irish Parliament House, and Thomas Burgh (d.
1730), to whom we owe the Library of Trinity College, Dublin; but
Thomas Cooley (1740-1784), designer of the handsome Royal Exchange of
that city; Richard Castle (d. 1751), a foreigner who settled in
Ireland and built a number of beautiful Irish residences; Francis
Johnston (1761-1829), an excellent architect whose chief claim to
remembrance, however, is as founder of the Royal Hibernian Academy;
and, above all, James Gandon (1743-1823), whose superb Custom House,
Four Courts, and part of the Irish Parliament House will perpetuate
his name in Dublin while that city lasts--each helped to make the
capital, even in its decay, one of the most interesting in Europe.
Nor should we forget Thomas Ivory (d. 1786), whose Foundling Hospital
is another of Dublin's many graceful edifices; nor Sir Richard
Morrison (1767-1849) and his son William (1794-1838), much of whose
work remains to testify to their skill and ingenuity.

Ecclesiastical architecture in Ireland is indebted to Patrick Byrne
(fl. 1840), James J. McCarthy (d. 1882), J.B. Keane (d. 1859), and
James Murray (1831-1863), for many well designed churches and chapels
throughout Ireland; but the great names in modern Irish architecture
are those of Benjamin Woodward (1815-1861), whose premature death was
a serious loss to Irish art; Sir Thomas Deane (1792-1871); and his
son, Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1828-1899). The elder Deane was, with
Woodward, the architect of the Oxford Museum and of the splendid
Engineering Hall of Trinity College, Dublin, buildings which have
elicited enthusiastic praise from John Ruskin and other eminent
critics. Deserving of respectful mention, too, to come down to our
own days, are Sir Thomas Drew (1838-1910) and William H. Lynn, who is
still living.

In sculpture, again, Ireland has done memorable work. In the
eighteenth century she gave us admirable craftsmen like Edward Smyth
(1749-1812), John Hickey (1756-1795), and Christopher Hewitson (fl.
1772-1794), whose dignified monument of Bishop Baldwin is one of the
most distinguished pieces of sculpture in Trinity College, Dublin.
But it was not till the appearance of a later group of sculptors,
including John Hogan (1800-1858), John Edward Carew (1785-1868), John
Henry Foley, R.A. (1818-1874), and Patrick MacDowell, R.A.
(1799-1870), that Irish sculpture obtained more than local renown.
Fortunately, most of the best work of Hogan and Foley remains in
Ireland; that of Carew and MacDowell is chiefly to be found in the
Houses of Parliament and other institutions in London. The
incomparable "Goldsmith," "Burke," "Grattan," and other statues by
Foley, together with an almost complete collection of casts of his
other works, are in his native country. Hogan is represented in
Dublin by his "Thomas Davis" and his "Dead Christ," to name but two
of his principal works. The names at least of James Heffernan
(1785-1847), of John Edward Jones (1806-1872), of Terence Farrell
(1798-1876), of Samuel F. Lynn (1834-1876), and perhaps of
Christopher Moore (1790-1863), an excellent sculptor of busts, may be
set down here. Sir Thomas Farrell (1827-1900) and the living
sculptors, John Hughes, Oliver Sheppard, and Albert Bruce Joy, are
responsible for some of the more admirable of the public monuments of
Dublin. It is much to be deplored that of the work of one of the
greatest of Dublin-born artists, Augustus Saint Gaudens, we have only
one example--the statue of Parnell. Ireland may surely claim him as
one of her most gifted sons. And perhaps a word might be said in this
place of some of the other Irishmen who made their home in America:
of Hoban the architect who designed the White House at Washington,
modelling it after Leinster House in Dublin; of painters like Charles
Ingham, W.G. Wall, William Magrath, the Morans, James Hamilton, and
Thomas Hovenden; and of sculptors like John Donoghue, John Flanagan,
Andrew O'Connor, John F. Kelly, Jerome Connor, John J. Boyle, and
Martin Milmore. But they belong rather to the history of American art
than to that of Ireland.

Before leaving the subject of Irish sculpture, the work of the
medallists, an allied branch of the art in which Irishmen did much
valued work, should not be overlooked. The medals of William Mossop
(1751-1805), of his son, William Stephen Mossop (1788-1827), and of
John Woodhouse (1835-1892), to mention only three of its chief
representatives in Ireland, are greatly prized by collectors.

Most modern Irish art of high importance has been largely produced
out of Ireland, which has been perforce abandoned by those artists
who have learned how little encouragement is to be met with at home.
One can blame neither the artist nor the Irish public for this
unfortunate result; there is sufficient reason in the political and
economic condition of Ireland since the Union to explain the fact.
But for this cause men like Daniel Maclise, R.A. (1806-1870), William
Mulready, R.A. (1786-1863), Francis Danby, A.R.A. (1793-1861), and
Alfred Elmore, R.A. (1815-1881), might have endeavored to emulate the
spirit of James O'Connor (1792-1841), the landscapist, Richard
Rothwell (1800-1868), a charming subject painter, and Sir Frederic W.
Burton (1816-1900), one of the most distinguished artists of his
time, who at least spent some of their active working career in their
native land. The same words apply to artists who succeeded in other
branches of the profession, men like John Doyle (1797-1868), a
caricaturist with all the power, without the coarseness, of his
predecessors; his son, Richard Doyle (1824-1883), a refined and
delicate artist; John Leech (1817-1864), the humorist, a member of an
Irish Catholic family; Paul Gray (1842-1866), who died before his
powers had fully matured; and Matthew James Lawless (1837-1864), who
also died too early. William Collins, R.A. (1788-1847) and Clarkson
Stanfield, R.A. (1793-1867), both eminent representatives of English
art, though of Irish extraction, more properly belong to England than
to Ireland.

Not discouraged by the melancholy history of many gifted Irish
artists, Ireland still produces men who are not unworthy of
association with the best who have gone before. Our most recent
losses have been heavy--notably those of Walter F. Osborne
(1859-1903) and Patrick Vincent Duffy (1832-1909), but we still have
artists of genius in the persons of Nathaniel Hone, a direct
descendant of his famous namesake; John Butler Yeats; John Lavery,
A.R.A.; and William Orpen, A.R.A. Many other names might be given,
but already this attempt at a survey suffers by its enumeration of
artists, who, however, could hardly be neglected in such a record.

Crowded as the list may be, it is a careful selection, and it
demonstrates that, notwithstanding all the disadvantages under which
Ireland suffers, the country has an almost unlimited capacity for
fine achievement, and that, with prosperity and contentment, she may
be expected to rival the most illustrious of art centres. It is only
within living memory that any attempt has been made to direct the
known artistic skill of the Irish people to industrial effort. But
the remarkable success achieved in the modern designs for Irish lace
in the English art competitions is an instance of what might be done
generally in the applied arts. Though they are in their infancy, the
new carpet and stained glass industries in Ireland also hold out
considerable hope for the future. But one can only barely indicate
what has been and might be done in the furtherance of Irish art. If
we only had under one roof a judiciously made collection of all the
best work done by Irish artists of all styles and periods, it would
more eloquently justify our claim than endless columns of praise.


Anthony Pasquin [John Williams]: History of Professors of Painting in
Ireland (1795); T.J. Mulvany: Life of James Gandon; John O'Keeffe:
Reminiscences, vol. I; Taft: American Sculpture; W.G. Strickland:
Dictionary of Irish Artists (2 vols., 1913).




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