An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 eBook

Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 946 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.

[9] Erinn.—­Keating says:  “We will set down here the branching off of the races of Magog, according to the Book of Invasions (of Ireland), which was called the Cin of Drom Snechta; and it was before the coming of Patrick to Ireland the author of that book existed.”—­See Keating, page 109, in O’Connor’s translation.  It is most unfortunate that this devoted priest and ardent lover of his country did not bring the critical acumen to his work which would have made its veracity unquestionable.  He tells us that it is “the business of his history to be particular,” and speaks of having “faithfully collected and transcribed.”  But until recent investigations manifested the real antiquity and value of the MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, his work was looked on as a mere collection of legends.  The quotation at present under consideration is a case in point.  He must have had a copy of the Cin of Drom Snechta in his possession, and he must have known who was the author of the original, as he states so distinctly the time of its compilation.  Keating’s accuracy in matters of fact and transcription, however, is daily becoming more apparent.  This statement might have been considered a mere conjecture of his own, had not Mr. O’Curry discovered the name of the author in a partially effaced memorandum in the Book of Leinster, which he reads thus:  “[Ernin, son of] Duach [that is], son of the King of Connacht, an Ollamh, and a prophet, and a professor in history, and a professor in wisdom:  it was he that collected the Genealogies and Histories of the men of Erinn in one book, that is, the Cin Droma Snechta.”  Duach was the son of Brian, son of the monarch Eochaidh, who died A.D. 305.

[10] Besides.—­O’Curry, page 16.

[11] Sages.—­M.  Nigra, the Italian Ambassador at Paris, is at this moment engaged in publishing continental MSS.

[12] Vellum.—­The use of vellum is an indication that the MSS. must be of some antiquity.  The word “paper” is derived from papyrus, the most ancient material for writing, if we except the rocks used for runes, or the wood for oghams.  Papyrus, the pith of a reed, was used until the discovery of parchment, about 190 B.C.  A MS. of the Antiquities of Josephus on papyrus, was among the treasures seized by Buonaparte in Italy.

[13] Acquainted.—­O’Curry’s MS. Materials, page 24.

[14] Collection.-A recent writer in the Cornhill says that Lord Ashburnham refuses access to this collection, now in his possession, fearing that its contents may be depreciated so as to lessen its value at a future sale.  We should hope this statement can scarcely be accurate.  Unhappily, it is at least certain that access to the MSS. is denied, from whatever motive.


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An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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