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A social history of ancient Ireland by P. W. Joyce

By P. W. Joyce

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21, 23, below. Castledermot Church and derniot and Durrow " : Round Tower drawn by Petrie. In Kildare : St. Though constructed round a framework Lives, as they have reached us, are of truth, these much mixed with legend and fable, a circumstance which detracts from their value as mere historical records though it does not at all ; affect our researches. The long intervals account in great for oral tradition tends, part for the marvellous element in the slow lapse of ages, to magnify everything, and to attribute all unusual occurrences of past times to preter: natural agency.

This remarkable custom is mentioned in innumerable passages in both the lay and ecclesiastical literature as existing in the most remote pagan times it was not in the least affected by war or invasion, but people, : ; CHAP. LAYING THE FOUNDATION I] 5 continued uninterruptedly from age to age down to our own time, as may be seen by reference to pp. 450, 451 below. But one momentous effect of the Danish and AngloNorman invasions must here be noted they arrested the : progress of native learning and art, which, though disturbed by the Danes, still lingered on for several centuries after English settlements, but gradually declined, and Ireland presents the spectacle of an died out.

All 408), with crowds of students may and the vast assemblages at the described in Vol. pp. , the chariots and horse alone extended along a distance of six miles. , p. D. 656-664) the people grew so numerous that for the first time the use of fences became general. C. , Ireland should have been behindhand in this respect at that time and subsequently. Besides all that has been said, there is another most important observation to be made. It seems inconceivable that such a complete, close, and symmetrical network of laws and institutions as will be found described in the fol- lowing pages, embracing every member of the community, from the highest to the lowest, could have grown up and * Boate, Nat.

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