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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/379

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371
Celtic Myth and Saga.

were even contemporarily associated with the cemetery, no doubt subsequently overshadowed in tradition the actual persons interred there" (p. 82).

But is it likely that the "contemporary association", which Mr. Coffey assumes, existed unless there was some basis of fact for it, unless, that is, Crimthann really did choose an ancient hallowed spot for his burial-place? And is it not strange that the introduction of Christianity should, ex hypothesi, have "broken the pagan traditions" connected with the high-kings of Ireland and left whole the far more pagan traditions connected with the Tuatha de Danann?

Future archæological investigation may perhaps tell us if there are in the Brugh district traces of older burial than that of the first century Irish kings, or of an overlapping or mixture of races such as would seem to be implied by the historical tradition.

One point should be noted in view of recent controversies as to the origin of the belief in fairies. This belief, as still held by the Gaelic-speaking peasants of Ireland and Scotland, is, essentially, the same as that found in the Irish premediæval and mediæval romances concerning the Tuatha de Danann. As early as the 10th century at least, and probably very much earlier, the Tuatha De were prominently associated with the monuments in the Brugh district, and these monuments are not the dwelling-places of any former dwarf races, but, without doubt, served as a burial-place to the ancestors of present Irishmen.

To praise Mr. Standish Hayes O'Grady's Silva Gadelica is an easy matter. The first requisite in the study of Celtic antiquity and literature is still the publication and translation of texts, so that the bringer of such a stately pile of sheaves gathered from eight centuries of Irish storytelling and comprising many of the remains of Irish romance most interesting to the artist, most valuable to the historian, cannot but be sure of a hearty welcome. And when the gathering is made by a scholar who joins to a native knowledge of the Irish language and literature