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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 5741 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #240 on: February 22, 2009, 12:48:18 am »

their faith and the honour of the country, pronounce them Christian edifices. The most eminent, perhaps Dr. Petrie, asserts that they "are of Christian ecclesiastical origin, and were erected at various periods between the fifth and thirteenth centuries;" that is, mostly raised by the Norman conquerors of Ireland as belfries. O'Curry regards Petrie as unassailable. Miss Stokes is deservedly a high authority for her Early Christian Architecture in Ireland; but she would place them as pre-Norman.

Petrie and others point to the fact of skeletons being found in some, and these lying east and west, as a proof of Christian origin. Yet, as is replied, all this existed under paganism. Christian emblems, found only in three out of sixty-three, have been regarded as modern alterations. The silence about the Towers in Irish hagiography, as the Acta sanctorum, &c., would seem to indicate a non-Christian origin, as early monkish authors forbore reference to paganism.

It is further asked, Where is the Christian prototype? If an Irish style of Christian building, why did it not appear in countries known to have been under Irish missionary influence,--as in Cornwall, Isle of Man, Scotland, France, Germany, &c.? Why did not Culdees leave such memorials in the Hebrides, in Lindisfarne, and other localities?

"There are weighty authorities on both sides," writes Gradwell, "but there are sufficiently high names who maintain they were already in existence when the Saint was brought to Ireland. If they belong to a later period, when Ireland was Christian, it seems strange that the architects of those times should have displayed such surpassing skill in the construction of these Towers, for which it is difficult to assign any adequate purpose; and not, on the other hand, have left us no monuments whatever of a more useful kind."

p. 266

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