An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 eBook

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.
they waited an attack or surrender of the Tuatha De Danann army.  But the magical skill, or, more correctly, the superior abilities of this people, proved them more than equal to the occasion.  The chronicler gives a quaint and most interesting account of the Tuatha De Danann arrangements.  Probably the Crimean campaign, despite our nineteenth century advancements in the art of war, was not prepared for more carefully, or carried out more efficiently.

Nuada called a “privy council,” if we may use the modern term for the ancient act, and obtained the advice of the great Daghda; of Lug, the son of Cian, son of Diancecht, the famous physician; and of Ogma Grian-Aineach (of the sun-like face).  But Daghda and Lug were evidently secretaries of state for the home and war departments, and arranged these intricate affairs with perhaps more honour to their master, and more credit to the nation, than many a modern and “civilized” statesman.  They summoned to their presence the heads of each department necessary for carrying on the war.  Each department was therefore carefully pre-organized, in such a manner as to make success almost certain, and to obtain every possible succour and help from those engaged in the combat, or those who had suffered from it.  The “smiths” were prepared to make and to mend the swords, the surgeons to heal or staunch the wounds, the bards and druids to praise or blame; and each knew his work, and what was expected from the department which he headed before the battle, for the questions put to each, and their replies, are on record.

Pardon me.  You will say I have written a romance, a legend, for the benefit of my country[40]—­a history of what might have been, of what should be, at least in modern warfare, and, alas! often is not.  Pardon me.  The copy of the tracts from which I have compiled this meagre narrative, is in existence, and in the British Museum.  It was written on vellum, about the year 1460, by Gilla-Riabhach O’Clery; but there is unquestionable authority for its having existed at a much earlier period.  It is quoted by Cormac Mac Cullinan in his Glossary, in illustration of the word Nes, and Cormac was King of Munster in the year of grace 885, while his Glossary was compiled to explain words which had then become obsolete.  This narrative must, therefore, be of great antiquity.  If we cannot accept it as a picture of the period, in the main authentic, let us give up all ancient history as a myth; if we do accept it, let us acknowledge that a people who possessed such officials had attained a high state of intellectual culture, and that their memory demands at least the homage of our respect.

The plain on which this battle was fought, retains the name of the Plain of the Towers (or Pillars) of the Fomorians, and some very curious sepulchral monuments may still be seen on the ancient field.

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