A Brief History of Ireland by Paul F. State PDF

By Paul F. State

ISBN-10: 0816075166

ISBN-13: 9780816075164

ISBN-10: 1438116802

ISBN-13: 9781438116808

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The Ulaid’s most illustrious king, Connor, was protected from invaders by Cúchulainn (or Cú Chulainn, Cuchulain; pronounced Coo Hullin), the revered Irish hero in the series of early tales known as the Ulster Cycle, of which the most famous is the Táin Bó Cuailgne. , carrying with them superior weapons and sturdy agricultural implements made of a new metal—iron—that, because it did not bend or break like bronze, proved more effective and efficient, both reusable and adaptable. Led by wealthy chiefs, and aided perhaps by their advanced weaponry, these iron-using tribes originated in central Europe and, from there, moved outward in all directions.

Already Irish monasteries had welcomed thousands of foreign students, who returned to their homelands imbued with Irish learning. The missionary zeal of Irish churchmen brought them first to Scotland. In about 563 Columba (Colm Cille, Columcille, 521–97), from County Donegal, journeyed with a handful of followers first to Iona, a remote island off the west Scottish coast, where he welcomed visitors from across the British Isles. After decreeing a limit of 150 monks, he would send off the surplus in groups of 12 and one—in 29 A Brief History of Ireland emulation of Christ and his apostles—to found other congregations.

He maintained power backed by a single armed force (fianna), an elite military guard of landless young men, often aristocrats who had not yet come into their inheritance of land. The leader of the fianna during mac Airt’s reign was Finn MacCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill), and the stories of Finn and his followers form the Fenian Cycle, tales that mix fact and legend reportedly narrated by his son Oisín. Stories of Finn’s life include defeating a fire-breathing fairy called Aillen and falling in love and marrying Sadbh, a woman turned into a deer by a druid, then turned woman again by Finn’s love, and turned deer once more by an angry druid.

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A Brief History of Ireland by Paul F. State

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