as the head would be an aire. In consequence of this organization the homesteads of airig commonly included several families, those of his brothers, sons, &c. (see Brehon Laws).
The ancient Irish never got beyond very primitive notions of justice. Retaliation for murder and other injuries was a common method of redress, although the church had endeavoured to introduce various reforms. Hence we find in the Brehon Laws a highly complicated system of compensatory payment; but there was no authority except public opinion to enforce the payment of the fines determined by the brehon in cases submitted to him.
There were many kinds of popular assemblies in ancient Ireland. The sept had its special meeting summoned by its chief for purposes such as the assessment of blood-fines due from the sept, and the distribution of those due to it. At larger gatherings the question of peace and war would be deliberated. But the most important of all such assemblies was the fair (oenach), which was summoned by a king, those summoned by the kings of provinces having the character of national assemblies. The most famous places of meeting were Tara, Telltown and Carman. The oenach had many objects. The laws were publicly promulgated or rehearsed; there were councils to deal with disputes and matters of local interest; popular sports such as horse-racing, running and wrestling were held; poems and tales were recited, and prizes were awarded to the best performers of every dán or art; while at the same time foreign traders came with their wares, which they exchanged for native produce, chiefly skins, wool and frieze. At some of these assemblies match-making played a prominent part. Tradition connects the better known of these fairs with pagan rites performed round the tombs of the heroes of the race; thus the assembly of Telltown was stated to have been instituted by Lugaid Lámfada. Crimes committed at an oenach could not be commuted by payment of fines. Women and men assembled for deliberation in separate airechta or gatherings, and no man durst enter the women’s airecht under pain of death.
The noble professions almost invariably ran in families, so that members of the same household devoted themselves for generations to one particular science or art, such as poetry, history, medicine, law. The heads of the various professions in the tuath received the title of ollam. It was the rule for them to have paying apprentices living with them. The literary ollam or fili was a person of great distinction. He was provided with mensal land for the support of himself and his scholars, and he was further entitled to free quarters for himself and his retinue. The harper, the metal-worker (cerd), and the smith were also provided with mensal land, in return for which they gave to the chief their skill and the product of their labour as customary tribute (béstigi).
(7 vols., Dublin, 1856); Annals of Ulster (4 vols., London, 1887-1892); Keating’s Forus Feasa ar Éirinn (3 vols., ed. D. Comyn and P. Dinneen, London, 1902-1908); E. Windisch, Táin Bó Cúalnge (Leipzig, 1905), with a valuable introduction; P. W. Joyce, A Social History of Ancient Ireland (2 vols., London, 1903), also A Short History of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1608 (London, 1895); A. G. Richey, A Short History of the Irish People (Dublin, 1887); W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland (3 vols., Edinburgh, 1876-1880); J. Rhys, “Studies in Early Irish History,” in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. i.; John MacNeill, papers in New Ireland Review (March 1906-February 1907); Leabhar na gCeart, ed. O’Donovan (Dublin, 1847); E. O’Curry, The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, ed. W. K. Sullivan (3 vols., London, 1873); G. T. Stokes, Ireland and the Celtic Church, revised by H. J. Lawlor (London6, 1907); J. Healy, Ireland’s Ancient Schools and Scholars (Dublin3, 1897); H. Zimmer, article “Keltische Kirche” in Hauck’s Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche (trans. A. Meyer, London, 1902), cf. H. Williams, “H. Zimmer on the History of the Celtic Church,” Zeitschr. f. celt. Phil. iv. 527-574; H. Zimmer, “Die Bedeutung des irischen Elements in der mittelalterlichen Kultur,” Preussische Jahrbücher, vol. lix., trans. J. L. Edmands, The Irish Element in Medieval Culture (New York, 1891); J. H. Todd, St Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland (Dublin, 1864); J. B. Bury, Life of St Patrick (London, 1905); W. Reeves, Adamnan’s Life of Columba (Dublin, 1857; also ed. with introd. by J. T. Fowler, Oxford, 1894); M. Roger, L’Enseignement des lettres classiques d’Ausone à Alcuin (Paris, 1905); J. H. Todd, The War of the Gædhil with the Gall (London, 1867); L. J. Vogt, Dublin som Norsk By (Christiania, 1897); J. Steenstrup, Normannerne, vols. ii., iii. (Copenhagen, 1878-1882); W. G. Collingwood, ScandinavianBritain (London, 1908).
(E. C. Q.)
History from the Anglo-Norman Invasion.
According to the Metalogus of John of Salisbury, who in 1155 went on a mission from King Henry II. to Pope Adrian IV., the only Englishman who has ever occupied the papal chair, the pope in response to the envoy’s “Bull” of Adrian IV. prayers granted to the king of the English the hereditary lordship of Ireland, sending a letter, with a ring as the symbol of investiture. Giraldus Cambrensis, in his Expugnatio Hibernica, gives what purports to be the text of this letter, known as “the Bull Laudabiliter,” and adds further a Privilegium of Pope Alexander III. confirming Adrian’s grant. The Privilegium is undoubtedly spurious, a fact which lends weight to the arguments of those who from the 19th century onwards have attacked the genuineness of the “Bull.” This latter, indeed, appears to have been concocted by Gerald, an ardent champion of the English cause in Ireland, from genuine letters of Pope Alexander III., still preserved in the Black Book of the Exchequer, which do no more than commend King Henry for reducing the Irish to order and extirpating tantae abominationis spurcitiam, and exhort the Irish bishops and chiefs to be faithful to the king to whom they had sworn allegiance.
Henry was, indeed, at the outset in a position to dispense with the moral aid of a papal concession, of which even if it existed he certainly made no use. In 1156 Dermod MacMurrough (Diarmait MacMurchada), deposed for his tyranny from the kingdom of Leinster, repaired to Henry in Aquitaine (see Early History above). The king was busy with the French, but gladly seized the opportunity, and gave Dermod a letter authorizing him to raise forces in England. Thus armed, and provided with gold extorted from his former subjects in Leinster, Dermod went to Bristol and sought the acquaintance of Richard de Clare, earl of Pembroke, a Norman noble of great ability but broken fortunes. Earl Richard, whom later usage has named Strongbow, agreed to reconquer Dermod’s kingdom for him. The stipulated consideration was the hand of Eva his only child, and according to feudal law his sole heiress, to whose issue lands and kingdoms would naturally pass. But Irish customs admitted no estates of inheritance, and Eva had no more right to the reversion of Leinster than she had to that of Japan. It is likely that Strongbow had no conception of this, and that his first collision with the tribal system was an unpleasant surprise. Passing through Wales, Dermod agreed with Robert Fitzstephen and Maurice Fitzgerald to invade Ireland in the ensuing spring.
About the 1st of May 1169 Fitzstephen landed on the Wexford shore with a small force, and next day Maurice de Prendergast brought another band nearly to the same spot. Dermod joined them, and the Danes of Wexford soon The invasion of Strongbow. submitted. According to agreement Dermod granted the territory of Wexford, which had never belonged to him, to Robert and Maurice and their heirs for ever; and here begins the conflict between feudal and tribal law which was destined to deluge Ireland in blood. Maurice Fitzgerald soon followed with a fresh detachment. About a year after the first landing Raymond Le Gros was sent over by Earl Richard with his advanced guard, and Strongbow himself landed near Waterford on the 23rd of August 1170 with 200 knights and about 1000 other troops.
The natives did not understand that this invasion was quite different from those of the Danes. They made alliances with the strangers to aid them in their intestine wars, and the annalist writing in later years (Annals of Lough Cé) describes with pathetic brevity the change wrought in Ireland:—“Earl Strongbow came into Erin with Dermod MacMurrough to avenge his expulsion by Roderick, son of Turlough O’Connor; and Dermod gave
- The whole question is discussed by Mr J. H. Round in his article on “The Pope and the Conquest of Ireland” (Commune of London, 1899, pp. 171-200), where further references will be found.