Read e-book online A Popular History of Ireland: from the Earliest Period to PDF

By Thomas D'Arcy McGee

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Extra info for A Popular History of Ireland: from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics

Example text

The growth of Iona was as the growth of the grain of mustard seed mentioned in the Gospel, even during the life of its founder. Formed by his teaching and example, there went out from it apostles to Iceland, to the Orkneys, to Northumbria, to Man, and to South Britain. A hundred monasteries in Ireland looked to that exiled saint as their patriarch. His rule of monastic life, adopted either from the far East, from the recluses of the Thebaid, or from his great contemporary, Saint Benedict, was sought for by Chiefs, Bards, and converted Druids.

Eight years he led the life of a monk in that sacred Isle, where his grave is one of those of "the three Irish Kings," still pointed out in the cemetery of the Kings. He is but one among several Princes, his cotemporaries, who had made the same election. We learn in this same century, that Cellach, son of the King of Connaught, died in Holy Orders, and that Bec, Prince of Ulidia, and Ardgall, son of a later King of Connaught, had taken the "crostaff" of the pilgrim, either for Iona or Armagh, or some more distant shrine.

Lastly, the royal brothers fell themselves victims to the epidemic, which so sadly signalizes their reign. The only conflicts that occurred on Irish soil with a Pictish or an Anglo-Saxon force--if we except those who formed a contingent of Congal's army at Moira--occurred in the time of the hospitable Finnacta. D. D. 684) seems not to have been either expected or guarded against. As leading to the mention of other interesting events, we must set this inroad clearly before the reader. The Saxons had now been for four centuries in Britain, the older inhabitants of which--Celts like the Gauls and Irish--they had cruelly harassed, just as the Milesian Irish oppressed their Belgic predecessors, and as the Normans, in turn, will be found oppressing both Celt and Saxon in England and Ireland.

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A Popular History of Ireland: from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics by Thomas D'Arcy McGee


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