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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.

[40] Country.—­We find the following passages in a work purporting to be a history of Ireland, recently published:  “It would be throwing away time to examine critically fables like those contained in the present and following chapter.”  The subjects of those chapters are the colonization of Partholan, of the Nemedians, Fomorians, Tuatha De Dananns, and Milesians, the building of the palace of Emania, the reign of Cairbre, Tuathal, and last, not least, the death of Dathi.  And these are “fables”!  The writer then calmly informs us that the period at which they were “invented, extended probably from the tenth to the twelfth century.”  Certainly, the “inventors” were men of no ordinary talent, and deserve some commendation for their inventive faculties.  But on this subject we shall say more hereafter.  At last the writer arrives at the “first ages of Christianity.”  We hoped that here at least he might have granted us a history; but he writes:  “The history of early Christianity in Ireland is obscure and doubtful, precisely in proportion as it is unusually copious.  If legends enter largely into the civil history of the country, they found their way tenfold into the history of the Church, because there the tendency to believe in them was much greater, as well as the inducement to invent and adopt them.”  The “inventors” of the pre-Christian history of Ireland, who accomplished their task “from the tenth to the twelfth century,” are certainly complimented at the expense of the saints who Christianized Ireland.  This writer seems to doubt the existence of St. Patrick, and has “many doubts” as to the authenticity of the life of St. Columba.  We should not have noticed this work had we not reason to know that it has circulated largely amongst the middle and lower classes, who may be grievously misled by its very insidious statements.  It is obviously written for the sake of making a book to sell; and the writer has the honesty to say plainly, that he merely gives the early history of Ireland, pagan and Christian, because he could not well write a history of Ireland and omit this portion of it!

[41] Pillars.—­The monuments ascribed to the Tuatha De Dananns are principally situated in Meath, at Drogheda, Dowlet, Knowth, and New Grange.  There are others at Cnoc-Aine and Cnoc-Greine, co.  Limerick, and on the Pap Mountains, co.  Kerry.

CHAPTER IV.

The Scythians Colonists—­Testimony of Josephus—­Magog and his Colony—­Statements of our Annals confirmed by a Jewish Writer—­By Herodotus—­Nennius relates what is told by the “Most Learned of the Scoti”—­Phoenician Circumnavigation of Africa—­Phoenician Colonization of Spain—­Iberus and Himerus—­Traditions of Partholan—­Early Geographical Accounts of Ireland—­Early Social Accounts of Ireland.

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