Historical Reprints History Story of Ancient Irish Civilization

Story of Ancient Irish Civilization

Story of Ancient Irish Civilization
Catalog # SKU3634
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name P. W. Joyce
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


The Story of
Ancient Irish Civilization

P. W. Joyce

There are many English and many Anglo-Irish people who think, merely from ignorance, that Ireland was a barbarous and half-savage country before the English came among the people and civilised them.

Larger Print, 15 point font, Illustrated



There were in Ireland, from times beyond the reach of history, kings, who were of various grades according to the extent of the country or district they ruled over. The highest of all was the king of Ireland, who lived in the royal palace at Tara. He was called the Ard-ri [ard-ree], i.e., 'High king' or Over-king, because he claimed authority over all the others. There was also a king over each of the five provinces---Leinster, Munster, Connaught, Ulster, and Meath---who were subject to the Ard-ri. The provinces were divided into a number of territories, over which were kings of a still lower grade, each under the king of his own province. If the district was not large enough to have a king, it was ruled by a chief, who was subject to the king of the larger territory in which the district was included.

The king was always chosen from one particular ruling family; and when a king died, those chiefs who had votes held a meeting, lasting for three days and three nights, at which they elected whatever member of that family they considered the wisest, best, and bravest. After this a day was fixed for inaugurating the new king, a ceremony corresponding in some respects with the crowning of our present monarchs. This Inauguration, or 'making' of a king as it is called in Irish, was a great affair, and was attended by all the leading people, both clergymen and laymen. There was always one particular spot for the ceremony, on which usually stood a high mound or fort, with an 'Inauguration Stone' on top, and often a great branching old tree, under the shade of which the main proceedings were carried on.

The new king, standing on the Inauguration Stone, swore a solemn oath in the hearing of all, that he would govern his people with strict justice, and that he would observe the laws of the land, and maintain the old customs of the tribe or kingdom. Then he put by his sword; and one of the chiefs, whose special office it was, put into his hand a long, straight, white wand. This was to signify that he was to govern, not by violence or harshness, but by justice, and that his decisions were to be straight and stainless like the wand. Several other forms had to be gone through till the ceremony was completed; and he was then the lawful king.

The old Irish kings lived in great style, especially those of the higher ranks, and---like the kings of our own day---kept in their palaces numbers of persons to attend on them, holding various offices, all with good salaries. The higher the grade of the king the greater the number of his household, and the grander the persons holding offices. Forming part of his retinue there were nobles, who did nothing at all but wait on him, merely to do him honour. There were Ollaves, i.e., learned and distinguished men, of the several professions---Historians, Poets, Physicians, Builders, Brehons or Judges, Musicians, and so forth. All were held in high honour, and exercised their several professions for the benefit of the king and his household, for which each had a house and a tract of land free, or some other equivalent stipend.

192 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover