The Glories of Ireland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about The Glories of Ireland.


Hyde:  Love Songs of Connacht (Dublin, 1893), Irish Poetry, an Essay in Irish with Translation in English and a Vocabulary (Dublin, 1902), The Religious Songs of Connacht (London, 1906); Meyer:  Ancient Gaelic Poetry (Glasgow, 1906), a Primer of Irish Metrics with a Glossary and an Appendix containing an Alphabetical List of the Poets of Ireland (Dublin, 1909); Dottin-Dunn:  The Gaelic Literature of Ireland (Washington, 1906); Meyer:  Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry (2d edition, London, 1913); Best:  Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed Irish Literature (Dublin, 1913); Loth:  La metrique galloise (Paris, 1902); Thurneysen:  Mittelirische Verslehren, Irische Texte III.; Buile Suibhne (Dublin, 1910).



Ireland has the unique distinction of having preserved for mankind a full and vivid literary record of a period otherwise, so far as native memorials are concerned, clouded in obscurity.  A few fragmentary suggestions, derived from ancient stone monuments or from diggings in tumuli and graves, are all that Gaul or Britain have to contribute to a knowledge of that important period just before and just after the beginning of our era, when the armies of Rome were overrunning western Europe and were brought, for the first time, into direct contact with the Celtic peoples of the West.  Almost all that we know of the early inhabitants of these countries comes to us from the pens of Roman writers and soldiers—­Poseidonius, Caesar, Diodorus, Tacitus.  We may give these observers credit for a desire to be fair to peoples they sometimes admired and often dreaded, but conquerors are not always the best judges of the races they are engaged in subduing, especially when they are ignorant of their language, unversed in their lore and customs, and unused to their ways.  Valuable as are the reports of Roman authorities, we feel at every point the need of checking them by native records; but the native records of Gaul, and in large part also those of Britain and Wales, have been swept away.  Caesar is probably right in saying that the Druids, who were the learned men of their race and day, committed nothing to writing; if they did, whatever they wrote has been irrecoverably lost.

But Ireland was exempt from the sweeping changes brought about through long periods of Roman and Saxon occupation; no great upheaval from without disturbed the native political and social conditions up to the coming of the Norse and Danes about the beginning of the ninth century.  Agricola, standing on the western coast of Britain, looked across the dividing channel, and reflected upon “the beneficial connection that the conquest of Ireland would have formed between the most powerful parts of the Roman Empire,” but, fortunately for the literature of Ireland, if not for her history, he never came.  The early incursions

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The Glories of Ireland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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