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Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 779 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.
all the saints have manifested from the earliest ages.  This hymn is written in the Bearla Feine, or most ancient Gaedhilic dialect.  Dr. O’Donovan well observes, that it bears internal evidence of its authenticity in its allusion to pagan customs.  Tirechan, who wrote in the seventh century, says that there were four honours paid to St. Patrick in all monasteries and churches throughout the whole of Ireland.  First, the festival of St. Patrick was honoured for three days and nights with all good cheer, except flesh meat [which the Church did not allow then to be used in Lent].  Second, there was a proper preface for him in the Mass.  Third, his hymn was sung for the whole time.  Fourth, his Scotic hymn was sung always.  As we intend publishing a metrical translation of his hymn suitable for general use, we hope it will be “said and sung” by thousands of his own people on his festival for all time to come.

[126] Hell.—­O’Curry, p. 539.  This is translated from the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick.

[127] Moment.—­Keating, Vol ii. p. 15.

[128] Land.—­Near the present town of Killala, co.  Mayo.

[129] Protected him.—­Book of Armagh and Vit.  Trip.

[130] Death.—­Vit.  Trip.  It was probably at this time St. Patrick wrote his celebrated letter to Caroticus.

[131] Daire.—­Book of Armagh, fol. 6, b.a.

[132] Confessio.—­This most remarkable and interesting document will be translated and noticed at length in the Life of St. Patrick, which we are now preparing for the press.

[133] St. Tussach.—­All this Dr. Todd omits.  The Four Masters enter the obituary of St. Patrick under the year 457.  It is obvious that some uncertainty must exist in the chronology of this early period.

[134] Oracle.—­It is said that, three years before St. Patrick’s apostolic visit to Ireland, the druids of King Laeghaire predicted the event to their master as an impending calamity.  The names of the druids were Lochra and Luchat Mael; their prophecy runs thus:—­

“A Tailcenn will come over the raging sea, With his perforated garment, his crook-headed staff, With his table at the east end of his house, And all his people will answer ‘Amen, Amen.’”

The allusions to the priestly vestments, the altar at the east end of the church, and the pastoral staff, are sufficiently obvious, and easily explained.  The prophecy is quoted by Macutenius, and quoted again from him by Probus; but the original is in one of the most ancient and authentic Irish MSS., the Book of Armagh.

[135] Died.—­O’Curry, p. 273.

[136] Burial.—­“The body of Laeghaire was brought afterwards from the south, and interred with his armour of championship in the south-east of the outer rampart of the royal rath of Laeghaire, at Tara, with his face turned southwards upon the men of Leinster, as fighting with them, for he was the enemy of the Leinster men in his lifetime.”—­Translated from the Leabhar na Nuidhre. Petrie’s Tara, p. 170.

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