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Ireland during the "Dark Ages" (476-1000)

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Decebal View Drop Down
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  Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ireland during the "Dark Ages" (476-1000)
    Posted: 01-Nov-2005 at 12:28

Hello everybody,

I was wondering if anyone has some expertise, or knows where to find reliable resources on Ireland during the period 476-1000. All I've been able to find on the internet are general statements that affirm that Ireland went through a golden age during the period 476-800. After 800 or so, Norse Viking raids plunged Ireland into its own dark age.

Between 476 and 800 though, apparently Ireland had a very original culture based on a mixture of druidic traditions and Christianity. The political system was a confederacy under the aegis of the so called High Kings of Tara. The best known example of Irish art from the period is "The Book of Kells", but apparently a rich artistic legacy remains from the period.

Does anybody know more about this?

What is history but a fable agreed upon?
Napoleon Bonaparte

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.- Mohandas Gandhi

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Cywr View Drop Down
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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2005 at 12:34
He, coming to think of it, i was just reading something about Butter. The Irish invented their take on the wooden butter churn sometime during this peroid, and used to make their butter with garlic and herbs, but, this is the best bit, they'd then bury it for a few years to as to enrich the flavour.
Now thats wierd
Arrrgh!!"
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Herschel View Drop Down
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  Quote Herschel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Nov-2005 at 15:06
I recommend you search for the author Thomas Cahill. His book "How the Irish saved Western Civilization" is a classic and is reading in many high schools and universities.
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Decebal View Drop Down
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  Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Nov-2005 at 11:58

I've read this book and frankly I'm not too impressed with it. It's 213 pages, out of which maybe 40 are actually relevant to this question. The author rambles on about Ausonius and St.Augustine for 50 pages, about the ancient Irish for 50 (specifically the Tain-an Irish epic), St.Patrick for another 50. He finally answers the question in the title of the book by page 180. It's easy to read, but it's also extremely Eurocentric, and manages to insult the Germans, the Mexicans and the intelligence of the reader (by assuming that the reader would not be able to read Plato). It is also rather disorganized. If a university student would present this book as a scholastic essay, he/she would get a pretty poor mark.

Anyway, the gist of it is that the christianized Irish sent out missionaries in the 6th to the early 9th centuries, which founded monasteries in the rest of Europe, mostly in Britain, France and Germany, which eventually became centers of knowledge.

It does have some good information though. The Irish monasteries were the centers of culture and learning; much Latin literature was saved by being copied there. The Irish had a culture which was much more liberal than the rest of Christian Europe, expecially the status of women. One of their major contributions to the Catholic church is the private confession. The political structure was a sort of confederacy, where hundreds of petty chieftains (called "Kings"), elected one of their own for a year to be the High King of Tara: more of a symbolic figure than anything else. Lacking in urban centers, with the arrival of christianity, the true center of power in the land passed on to the abbots.The end of this golden age of learning in monasteries and sending out missionaries came at the beginning of the 9th century, with the Viking attacks.

What is history but a fable agreed upon?
Napoleon Bonaparte

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.- Mohandas Gandhi

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arsenka View Drop Down
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  Quote arsenka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Dec-2005 at 12:51

Recently I've read several stories about Finn Mc While(sorry!
I don't know exactly how to spell his name).

Could anybody tell me wheather he's a real person or not? It's very interesting!

arsenka
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