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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Crissy Herrell
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« on: February 04, 2009, 03:15:50 pm »

Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions
by James Bonwick
[1894]

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This scholarly, but very readable, book covers what was known about Druids and Irish Paganism at the end of the nineteenth century. It discusses many of the concepts which later would be utilized by the Wiccan movement to construct Celtic Neo-Paganism.


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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 03:16:19 pm »

Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions
by James Bonwick
London: Griffith, Farran
[1894]
Original redaction by Phillip J. Brown, www.belinus.co.uk
Reformatted, pagination, and proofreading at sacred-texts.com, November 2002. J.B. Hare, redactor


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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 03:16:47 pm »

PREFACE
IRELAND, whether viewed from an antiquarian or an ethnological point of view, is one of the most interesting countries in the world. It is not the less an object of attention from the fact, that in its early history there are traces of nearly every kind of pagan belief.

It is curious that its literary treasures should have been so long neglected. Of late years, thanks to literary and scientific societies, including the new association fostered by Sir C. Gavan Duffy, Irish MSS. have engaged much thoughtful investigation.

The author of this work, conscious of the importance of inquiry into ancient faiths, has collected such information upon Irish religions as a lengthened course of general reading has thrown in his way, since it may benefit those who have less leisure or opportunity for research. He is content to state various views, presented in quotations from writers, rather than to put forth any special conjectures of his own. Examinations of old myths and folklore will often throw light upon current notions of nationalities.

This sketch of the ancient Irish mind might help to confirm the conviction that Religion, in the sense of a reverence for something beyond the individual, has been

p. iv

ever associated with human nature. Anything, however apparently absurd to some of us, that tends to restrain vice, and exalt virtue, is not to be despised in the development of our race. The heathen Irish had a worshipful spirit. As to their morals, they certainly honoured woman more than did the favoured Jews or accomplished Greeks.

The Druids, forming one subject of this publication, are still an enigma to us. They were, doubtless, neither so grandly wise, nor so low in reputation, as represented by tradition. Their ethical lessons must have assuredly prepared the way for Christian missions.

However open to criticism in literary merit, the book claims some kindly consideration, as coming from one who, in his seventy-seventh year, retains a confiding hope in the march of human intellect, and the growth of human brotherhood.

JAMES BONWICK

Norwood.

   January 1, 1894



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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 03:17:04 pm »



CONTENTS

 PREFACE
v
 
PART I
IRISH DRUIDS
 
 
WHO WERE THE DRUIDS?
 1
 
WELSH OR BRITISH DRUIDISM
 2
 
IRISH DRUIDISM
 10
 
ST. PATRICK AND THE DRUIDS
 27
 
OPINIONS ON IRISH DRUIDS
 31
 
IRISH BARDS
 37
 
ISLE OF MAN DRUIDISM
 44
 
FRENCH DRUIDISM
 45
 
GERMAN DRUIDISM
 49
 
DRUIDICAL MAGIC
 50
 
NEO-DRUDISM
 62
 
DRUIDICAL BELIEF
 64
 
DRUIDICAL MYSTICISM
 71
 
PART II
EARLY RELIGIONS OF THE IRISH
 
 
INTRODUCTION
 76
 
IRISH SUPERSTITIONS
 79
 
IRISH MAGIC AND TUATH DE DANAANS
 101
 
IRISH GODS
 116
 
IDOL-WORSHIP
 157
 
p. VIII
 
 
SERPENT FAITH
 168
 
SUN-WORSHIP
 189
 
FIRE-WORSHIP
 198
 
STONE-WORSHIP
 198
 
ANIMAL WORSHIP
 211
 
THE SHAMROCK, AND OTHER SACRED PLANTS
 232
 
WELL-WORSHIP
 238
 
HOLY BELLS
 244
 
IRISH CROSSES
 247
 
THE SACRED TARA HILL
 257
 
ROUND TOWER CREED
 263
 
OSSIAN THE BARD
 274
 
THE CULDEES OF DRUIDICAL DAYS
 279
 
THE FUTURE LIFE, OR LAND OF THE WEST
 286
 
ANCIENT IRISH LITERATURE
 303
 
THE LIA FAIL, OR THE STONE OF DESTINY
 313
 


 

Redactors' Note: The page references for sub-sections in the above table may not link to the correct file since the sub-sections often start in the middle of the page; the links above will in most cases lead to the final page in the file before the given sub-section. The main index file has links to the correct files.




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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 03:17:29 pm »



IRISH DRUIDS
Who were the Druids?

This question has agitated the minds of the learned for a long period; and various, as well as contradictory, have been the replies. Tradition preserves their memory as of a pious and superior race, prominently associated with the British Isles and France, and, in a lesser degree, with Belgium, Holland, Germany, and the lands of Scandinavia.

Much romance has been long attached to them. We hear their chants in the Stone Circles. We listen to the heaven-inspired utterances of the Archdruid, as be stands on the capstone of a cromlech, in the eye of the sun, surrounded by the white-robed throng, with the bowed worshippers afar. We see the golden sickle reverently cutting off the sacred mistletoe. We follow, in imagination, the solemn procession, headed by the cross-bearer. We look under the old oak at the aged Druid, instructing disciples in mystic lore, in verses never to be committed to writing. We gaze upon the assembly of kings and chieftains, before whom the wise men debate upon some points of legislation.

Then, again, we recognize the priests as patriots, resisting the invaders of their homes, and loudly chanting the Battle Hymn. We are at the convocation of Brehons, in their

p. 2

deliberations on law, and, awestruck, wait upon the observers of sun and stars, or of the signs of the times in the investigation of terrestrial phenomena. We go with them to the judgment upon offenders of an unwritten code, and witness the dread ordeal, or the fiery human sacrifice.

But our inquiry is, What has Irish tradition or literature to say to these interesting details concerning Druids?

Were the Irish Druids like those of whom we read belonging to other lands? Did they spring up from among the Irish people, or were they strangers from another and distant shore? Could they have formed a distinct community, like the tribe of Levi, intermarrying among themselves only? Amidst much ignorance, and even barbarism, can the Druids have been distinguished by the learning and refinement attributed to them?

With our conceptions of the ancient religions of Ireland, should we credit the Druids with the introduction 'of Sun worship, Serpent reverence, and the adoration of Idols? Were they, on the contrary, new corners, arriving subsequent to the establishment of these various forms of paganism, and merely known a little before the rise of Christianity in Erin?

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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 01:08:55 pm »

WELSH OR BRITISH DRUIDISM.
Druidism has been of late years so persistently appropriated by the Welsh, that English, Scotch, and Irish have seemed to have no part in the property. Even Stonehenge has been claimed by the Welsh, on the very doubtful story of the Britons, Cæsar's Teutonic Belgæ, being driven by Romans to Wales. The true Welsh--the Silures, or Iberians--were in the land before the Romans appeared. Gaels from Ireland, Cymry from Scotland and England, Belgæ from Germany, Bretons, Britons, Saxons, Normans,

p. 3

English, Irish, and Flemings go to make up the rest. We know nothing of Welsh prehistoric races.

Even allowing cromlechs, circles, and pillar-stones to be called Druidical, there are fewer of these stone remains in Wales than in Scotland, Ireland, England, or France. As to other antiquities, Ireland is richer than Wales in all but Roman ruins.

It is hard upon Ireland that her Druids should have been so long neglected, and the honours of mystic wisdom become the sole possession of Wales. It is true, however, that the Irish have been less eager about their ancestral glory in that aspect, and have not put forward, as the Welsh have done, a Neo-Druidism to revive the reputation of the ancient Order. But Ireland had its Druids, and traditionary lore testifies that country in the acknowledgment of those magi or philosophers.

The Welsh have a great advantage over the Irish in the reputed possession of a literature termed Druidical. They assume to know who the Druids were, and what they taught, by certain writings conveying the secret information. The Irish do not even pretend to any such knowledge of their Druids. The Welsh, therefore, look down with pity upon their insular neighbours, and plume themselves on being the sole successors of a people who were under true Druidical teaching, and whose transmitted records reveal those mysteries.

The revival of the ancient faith, in the organization called Druids of Pontypridd,--having members in other parts of Wales, but claiming a far larger number of adherents in America,--has given more prominence to Druidical lore. The fact of the late simple-minded but learned Archdruid, Myfyr Morganwg, a poet and a scholar, after thirty years' preaching of Christianity, publicly proclaiming the creed of his heathen forefathers, has naturally startled many

p. 4

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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 01:09:09 pm »

thoughtful minds. The writer can affirm, from personal knowledge of Myfyr, that he was no pretender, but an absolute believer in the tenets he taught; it is not therefore surprising that students of anthropology should inquire into this revival.

Such teaching is quite different from the Neo-Druidism which arose a few years ago, and whose imaginative interpretation of writings in Welsh, under the names of Taliesin, &c., were endorsed by several distinguished ministers of the Christian religion. Neo-Druidism was brought forward at Eisteddfods, and works were written to show that Welsh Druidism was simply the truth as recorded in the biblical account of the Hebrew Patriarchs.

The Pontypridd Archdruid held quite another doctrine. He embraced within his fold not only Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the promulgators of Hindooism, Buddhism, and all the ancient systems of so-called idolatry. He recognized his principles in them all, as they simply represented the forces of Nature, under the guise of personalities.

The mantle of the octogenarian leader has fallen upon Mr. Owen Morgan, better known as Morien, long an able and voluminous writer for the Press. His version of Welsh Druidism can be studied in the recently published Light of Britannia. He assumes for his Druids the priority of learning. From the mountains of Britain proceeded the light which produced the wisdom of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, India, Phœnicia, Judea, and Greece.

They who deem this too large a draft upon faith for acceptance, will assuredly discover in that unique work a mass of curious facts bearing upon ancient science, and be constrained to admit that the Light of Britannia is not the product of unreasoning Welsh enthusiasm, but is among the most candidly expressed books ever printed.

It was Dr. Lanigan who asserted, "The Christian missionaries

p. 5

early opened schools in opposition to Druids." It was the opinion of Arthur Clive that much Druidism "blended with the Christian learning of the seventh and subsequent centuries." The same might be affirmed of Welsh Druidism. Alluding to an astronomical MS. of the fourteenth century, Clive says, "I believe that it, or rather the knowledge which it contains, is a Druidic survival, a spark transmitted through the dark ages." Gomme tells us, "that Druidism continued to exist long after it was officially dead can be proved."

Dr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, in his Irish Saints, associates the Welsh Saint David with an Irish Druid. St. David was the son of an Irish Christian lady. He came to Menevia, on the Welsh promontory, made a fire on the shore, and its smoke filled the land. The Bishop then goes on to say:--

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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 01:09:26 pm »

"The owner of the district was an Irishman, named Baya, a pagan and a Druid. He was one of those successful rovers who years before had carved out territories for themselves on the Welsh coast, and continued to hold them by the sword. He was filled with horror when he saw the smoke that arose from St. David's fire, and cried out to those that were with him, 'The enemy that has lit that fire shall possess this territory as far as the smoke has spread.' They resolved to slay the intruders, but .their attempt was frustrated by a miracle. Seeing this, Baya made a grant of the desired site, and of the surrounding Country, to St. David, whose monastery quickly arose."

Welsh patriotic zeal would receive a shock from Professor O'Curry's statement. "It appears then that it was from Erinn that the Isle of Mona (Anglesey) received its earliest Colony; and that that colony was of a Druidical people." This view has been supported by other testimony. The Welsh Cerrig Edris (Cader Idris) has been identified

p. 6

with the Irish Carrick. Carrick Brauda of Dundalk, like Carig Bradyn of Mona, was renowned for astronomical observations.

Owen Morgan, in the Light of Britannia, has brought forward authorities to support his theory that the Welsh, at any rate, could claim for ancestors the Druids of classical writers. But Leflocq declares the language of the so-called Welsh Druids of the early Christian centuries is modern; and that even Sharon Turner--"for the mythological poems dare not assign them to the sixth century, nor attribute them to Taliesin." He considers the mystery of the Bards of Britain consists of a number of Christian sentences, interpreted according to the arbitrary system of modern mysticism; and concludes, "Such are the narrow bases of the vast pre-conceived system of our days as to the true religion of the Gauls."

But Rhys in Celtic Britain asserts that "the Goidelic Celts appear to have accepted Druidism, but there is no evidence that it ever was the religion of any Brythonic people." Again, "The north-west of Wales, and a great portion of the south of it, had always been in the possession of a Goidelic people, whose nearest kinsmen were the Goidels of Ireland."--"The Brythonic Celts, who were polytheists of the Aryan type; the non-Celtic natives were under the sway of Druidism; and the Goidelic Celts, devotees of a religion which combined polytheism with Druidism." He says the word Cymry "merely meant fellow-countrymen"; though, as he adds, "The Cymry people developed a literature of their own, differing from that of the other Brythonic communities." He makes Carlisle the centre of their influence before coming down into Wales.

The assumptions of Welsh advocates may not be very satisfactory to scholars, and all we know of Irish Druids

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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2009, 01:09:38 pm »

furnishes little evidence for romantic conclusions; but why should tradition hold so tenaciously to the theory? Making all allowance for extravagance of views, and their variety, it is not easy to explain these early and particular accounts.

Although Welsh Druidism is represented by Welsh writers as being so different from the Gaulish, as pictured by French authors, or the Irish of Irish scholars, a few words may be allowed from the publication of the enthusiastic Morien of Wales.

"It is evident," says he, "that the Druid believed in the eternity of matter in an atomic condition, and also in the eternity of water; and that the passive, that is, the feminine principle of the Divine nature, pervaded both from eternity."--"He imagined a period before creation began, when darkness and silence pervaded illimitable space."--"The Sun is the son of the Creator, who is referred to by the Druids as the higher sun of the circle of Infinitudes above the Zodiacal Sun."--"Wherever the solar rites relating to the ancient worship had been performed, those places were still regarded by the masses as sacred."

The Annwn of Morien is Hades or Erebus, and that "of northern ideas is cold." Of the Archdruid he says, "The Divine Word incarnate, such was our Druidic High Priest;" especially when standing on the Logan stone. The Holy Greal was the cauldron of Ceridwen, or Venus. The Druids' ecclesiastical year commenced at midnight, March 20-21.

God was regarded through the symbol of three letters / | or rods, representing the light, or descent of rays, the true Logos, Hu, the divine Sun, was the Menw incarnate. The grave is the matrix of Ced, who bears the same relation to Venus as the Creator does to Apollo the Sun. The twelve battles of Arthur, or the Sun, relate to the signs of the Zodiac, Morien observes two sects in Druidism--the

p. 8

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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009, 01:09:52 pm »

party of the Linga, and that of the Logos. His Druidism is simply solar worship,--or, in another sense, pure Phallicism. According to him, "The Christian religion is scientifically arranged on the most ancient framework of British Druidism."

A perusal of Morien's Light of Britannia will give the reader an explicit account of the mystery of Welsh Druidism, but fail to prove its identity with Irish Druidism; although the connection of Ireland with Wales was most intimate before the Danish invasion, traditional Irish saints having converted to Christianity their wilder neighbours of North and South Wales, as they did of those in Cornwall and other places.

The Druid, according to Morien, and his distinguished master, the Archdruid Myfyr Morganwg, was a more picturesque individual than the person figured by Irish writers, and he is strictly associated with so-called Druidical circles, cromlechs, &c. Stonehenge and Avebury, not less than Mona and Pontypridd, are claimed as the scenes of their performances. All that tradition has represented them, or poets have imagined them, the Druids were in the estimation of modern Welsh authorities.

"Theirs were the hands free from violence,
Theirs were the mouths free from calumny,
Theirs the learning without pride,
And theirs the love without venery."

They were more than what Madame Blavatsky said--"only the heirs of the Cyclopean lore left to them by generations of mighty hunters and magicians." They were, as Diodorus declared, "Philosophers and divines whom they (Gauls) call Saronidæ, and are held in great veneration." Myfyr left it on record, "That the Druids of Britain were Brahmins is beyond the least shadow of a doubt."

Much has been written about Druids' dress, their

p. 9

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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2009, 01:10:02 pm »

ornaments, and the mysteries of their craft,--as the glass boat, the cup, the cross, &c. Archdruid Myfyr, at Pontypridd (not Dr. Price), explained to the present writer, his processional cross, with movable arms; his wonderful egg, bequeathed from past ages; his Penthynen, writing rods, or staff book; his rosary,--used by ancient priests, not less than by modern Mahometans and Christians; his glass beads; his torque for the neck; his breastplate of judgment; his crescent adornments; his staff of office, &c.

The staff or Lituus was of magical import. Wands of tamarisk were in the hands of Magian priests. The top of such augur rods were slightly hooked. One, found in Etruria, had budded in the hand. The barsom, or bundle of twigs, is held by Parsee priests. Strabo noted twigs in hand at prayer. The Thyrsus had several knots. Prometheus hid the fire from heaven in his rod.

Glass was known in Egypt some three or four thousand years before Christ. Amber beads--Hesiod's tears of the sisters of Phœbus--were in use by Phœnicians, brought probably from the Baltic. Torques have been found in many lands. As Bacon remarked, "Religion delights in such shadows and disguises."

Nash, in his remarks upon the writings of Taliesin, writes:--"The only place in Britain in which there is any distinct evidence, from the Roman authorities, of the existence of Druids, should be the Isle of Anglesey, the seat of the Irish population before the migration (from Scotland) of the Cambrian tribes, the ancestors of the modern Welsh." He thus fixes the Irish Druids in Wales.

While history and philology are tracing the great migration of Cambrians into North Wales from Scotland, where their language prevailed before the Gaelic, why is North Britain so little affected with the mysticism associated with Welsh Druidism? A natural reply would be, that this

p. 10

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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2009, 01:10:15 pm »

peculiar manifestation came into Wales subsequent to the Cambrian migration from the Western Highlands through Cumberland to the southern side of the Mersey, and did not originate with the Cambrian Druids. It must not be forgotten that two distinct races inhabit Wales; the one, Celtic, of the north; the other, Iberian, dark and broad-shouldered, of the south. Some Iberians, as of Spain and North Africa, retain the more ancient language; others adopted another tongue. Many of the so-called Arabs, in the Soudan, are of Iberian parentage.

No one can read Morien's most interesting and suggestive Light of Britannia, without being struck with the remarkable parallel drawn between the most ancient creeds of Asia and the assumed Druidism of Wales. The supposition of that industrious author is, that the British Druids were the originators of the theologies or mythologies of the Old World.

Ireland, in his calculation, is quite left out in the cold. Yet it is in Ireland, not in Wales, that Oriental religions had their strongest influence. That country, and not Wales, would appear to have been visited by Mediterranean traders, though tradition, not well substantiated, makes Cornwall one of their calling-places.



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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2009, 01:10:38 pm »

IRISH DRUIDISM.
Turning to Irish Druidism, we may discern a meaning, when reading between the lines in Irish MSS., but the mystery is either not understood by the narrators, or is purposely beclouded so as to be unintelligible to the vulgar, and remove the writers (more or less ecclesiastics) from the censure of superiors in the Church. Elsewhere, in the chapter upon "Gods," History, as seen in lives of Irish heroes and founders of tribes, is made the medium for the

p. 11

communication, in some way, of esoteric intelligence. If the Druids of Erin were in any degree associated with that assumed mythology, they come much nearer the wisdom of British Druids than is generally supposed, and were not the common jugglers and fortune-tellers of Irish authorities.

As the popular Professor O'Curry may be safely taken as one leading exponent of Irish opinion upon Irish Druids, a quotation from his able Lectures will indicate his view:--

"Our traditions," says he, "of the Scottish and Irish Druids are evidently derived from a time when Christianity had long been established. These insular Druids are represented as being little better than conjurers, and their dignity is as much diminished as the power of the King is exaggerated. He is hedged with a royal majesty which never existed in fact. He is a Pharaoh or Belshazzar with a troop of wizards at command; his Druids are sorcerers and rain-doctors, who pretend to call down the storms and the snow, and frighten the people with the fluttering wisp, and other childish charms. They divined by the observation of sneezing and omens, by their dreams after holding a bull-feast, or chewing raw horseflesh in front of their idols, by the croaking of their ravens and chirping of tame wrens, or by the ceremony of licking the hot edge of bronze taken out of the rowan-tree ****. They are like the Red Indian medicine men, or the Angekoks of the Eskimo, dressed up in bull's-hide coats and bird-caps with waving wings. The chief or Arch-Druid of Tara is shown to us as a leaping juggler with ear clasps of gold, and a speckled cloak; he tosses swords and balls into the air, and like the buzzing of bees on a beautiful day is the motion of each passing the other."

This, perhaps, the ordinary and most prosaic account of the Irish Druid, is to be gathered from the ecclesiastical annals of St. Patrick. The monkish writers had assuredly

p. 12

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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 01:10:54 pm »

no high opinion of the Druid of tradition; and, doubtless, no respect for the memory of Taliesin or other members of the Craft.

Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that these same authorities took for granted all the stories floating about concerning transformations of men and women into beasts and birds, and all relations about gods of old.

O'Beirne Crowe has some doubt about Druid stories and primitive missionaries. He finds in the Hymn of St. Patrick the word Druid but once mentioned; and that it is absent alike in Brocan's Life of St. Brigit, and in Colman's Hymn. "Though Irish Druidism," says he, "never attained to anything like organization, still its forms and practices, so far as they attained to order, were in the main the same as those of Gaul."

Those Christian writers admitted that the Druids had a literature. The author of the Lecan declared that St. Patrick, at one time, burnt one hundred and eighty books of the Druids. "Such an example," he said, "set the converted Christians to work in all parts, until, in the end, all the remains of the Druidic superstition were utterly destroyed." Other writers mention the same fact as to this burning of heathen MSS. Certainly no such documents had, even in copies, any existence in historic times, though no one can deny the possibility of such a literature. The Welsh, however, claim the possession of Druidic works. But the earliest of these date from Christian times, bearing in their composition biblical references, and, by experts, are supposed to be of any period between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Villemarque dates the earliest Breton Bards from the sixth century; other French writers have them later.

At the same time, it must be allowed that early Irish MSS., which all date since Christianity came to the island,

p. 13

contain references of a mystical character, which might be styled Druidical. Most of the Irish literature, professedly treating of historical events, has been regarded as having covert allusions to ancient superstitions, the individuals mentioned being of a mythical character.

A considerable number of such references are associated with Druids, whatever these were thought then to be. Miracles were abundant, as they have been in all periods of Irish history. The Deity, the angels, the spirits of the air or elsewhere, are ever at hand to work a marvel, though often for little apparent occasion. As the performances of Saints are precisely similar to those attributed to Druids, one is naturally puzzled to know where one party quits the field and the other comes on.

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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2009, 01:11:11 pm »

A large number of these references belong to the Fenian days, when the Tuatha Druids practised their reported unholy rites. Thus, Teige was the father of the wife of the celebrated Fenian leader, Fionn MacCurnhaill, or Fionn B'Baoisgne, slain at Ath-Brea, on the Boyne. But Matha MacUmoir was a Druid who confronted St. Patrick. St. Brigid was the daughter of the Druid Dubhthach. The Druid Caicher foretold that the race he loved would one day migrate to the West.

In Ninine's Prayer it is written--

"We put trust in Saint Patrick, chief apostle of Ireland;
He fought against hard-hearted Druids."

As told by T. O'Flanagan, 1808, King Thaddy, father of Ossian, was a Druid. Ierne was called the Isle of learned Druids. Plutarch relates that Claudius, exploring, "found on an island near Britain an order of Magi, reputed holy by the people." Tradition says that Parthalon, from Greece, brought three Druids with him. These were Fios, Eolus, and Fochmarc; that is, observes O'Curry, "if we

p. 14

seek the etymological meaning of the words, Intelligence, Knowledge, and Inquiry."

The Nemidians reached Ireland from Scythia, but were accompanied by Druids; who, however, were confounded by the Fomorian Druids. At first the Nemidians were victorious, but the Fomorian leader brought forward his most powerful spells, and forced the others into exile. Beothach, Nemid's grandson, retired with his clan to northern Europe, or Scandinavia; where "they made themselves perfect in all the arts of divination, Druidism, and philosophy, and returned, after some generations, to Erinn under the name of the Tuatha de Danaan." The last were most formidable Druids, though overcome in their turn by the Druids of invading Milesians from Spain.

There were Druids' Hills at Uisneath, Westmeath, and Clogher of Tyrone. The Draoithe were wise men from the East. Dubhtach Mac Ui' Lugair, Archdruid of King Mac Niall, became a Christian convert. The Battle of Moyrath, asserted by monkish writers to have taken place in 637, decided the fate of the Druids. And yet, the Four Masters relate that as early as 927 B.C., there existed Mur Ollavan, the City of the Learned, or Druidic seminary.

Bacrach, a Leinster Druid, told Conchobar, King of Ulster, something which is thus narrated:--"There was a great convulsion. 'What is this?' said Conchobar to his Druid. 'What great evil is it that is perpetrated this day? 'It is true indeed,' said the Druid, 'Christ, the Son of God is crucified this day by the Jews. It was in the same night He was born that you were born; that is, in the 8th of the Calends of January, though the year was not the same. It was then that Conchobar believed; and he was one of the two men that believed in God in Erinn before the coming of the faith."

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