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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 #270 on: February 22, 2009, 12:58:30 am »

passage led. This they called Tir-na-n' Og, i. e. the country of perpetual youth. In this they supposed the virtuous and brave to roam among fields covered with sweet flowers, and groves laden with delicious fruits. Here some, as the taste inclined, promenaded in happy groups, some reclined in pleasant bowers, while others exercised themselves with hunting, wrestling, running races, martial feats, and other manly exercises. No person ever grew old in this happy abode, nor did the inhabitants feel tedious of enjoyment, or know how centuries passed away."

The early Christian preachers tried hard to dispel these images of the heathen paradise, and that by details of a terrible Hell--the Avernus of the pagan Orientals. When, however, St. Patrick told Oisin, as is recorded, that the hero Fingal was roasting in hell, the old Fenian cried out--"If the children of Morni, and the many tribes of the clan Ovi, were alive, we would force brave Fingal out of hell, or the habitation should be our own."

In the early ecclesiastical writings of Ireland, there is the same strange medley of old pagan superstitions and supposed scriptural ideas, to be found in other lands of the period. But this is also mixed up with the Babylonian horrors that found their way into the Talmud, making the Jewish idea of the Future so different from that of the Prophets in Scripture. We have but to read of the so-called Purgatory of St. Patrick for an apt illustration.

The entrance to this Purgatory was that known to the heathen Irish as leading to the Nether World. But the application came centuries after the usually recognized date of the Saint, and was unknown to such writers as Nennius and Probus. Irish tradition preserved the notion of descent into the lower regions, as with Oisin and others. Ecclesiastics, in like manner, record visits to St. Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg.

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