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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 4382 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #285 on: February 22, 2009, 01:00:19 am »

before the twelfth century. Toland, in his History of the Druids, agrees with O'Curry in the statement that Irish MSS. are older and more numerous than Welsh. Many are scattered in the libraries of Europe, particularly in Paris, Spain, Copenhagen, arid the Vatican.

Leland, time of Henry VIII., accounts for some destruction of MSS. As the Norman conquerors of Ireland built churches wherever they established themselves, Leland says that the native Irish made a practice of burning churches in their hatred to the new men. As the pious Normans were great patrons of monasteries, these buildings often shared a similar fate from the like cause, and vast collections of Irish MSS. so perished in the flames. The Danes, in the pillaging of Armagh, and other centres of ancient learning, were responsible for much of the Vandalism.

A curious story is told by Christopher Anderson. "In the reign of Elizabeth," says he, "the King of Denmark applied to England for proper persons who might translate the ancient Irish books in his possession; and an Irishman in London, then in prison, being applied to on the subject, was ready to engage in the work. But, upon a council being called, a certain member, it is said, who may be nameless, opposed the scheme, lest it should be prejudicial to the English interest."

Of one thing there can be no doubt; viz. that Irish scholars find great difficulties in reading and translating Irish MSS. They are so obscure and rude, have been so often interpolated at various periods, and are so liable to be misunderstood by the most conscientious and pains-taking student, that outsiders are puzzled by the contradictory results of examination.

It is generally allowed that the Fenian poems are the most classical. Hardiman, in Irish Minstrelsy, is "fully convinced

p. 307

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