CHAPTER XII.

Christianity improves the Social State of Ireland—A Saxon Invasion of
Ireland—Domestic Wars—The English come to Ireland for Instruction—A
Famine and Tempests—The First Danish Invasion—Cruelty of the
Danes—The Black and White Gentiles—King Cormac Mac
Cullinan—Cashel—Amlaff the Dane—Plunder of the Towns—Arrival of
Sitric—Death of Nial Glundubh—The Circuit of Ireland—Malachy the
Second—Entries in the Annals.

[A.D. 693-926.]
V

ery few events of any special interest occur between the commencement
of the seventh century and the Danish invasion. The obituaries of
ecclesiastics and details of foreign missions, which we have already
recorded, are its salient points. The wars of the Saxon Heptarchy and
the Celtic Pentarchy almost synchronize, though we find several Irish
kings influenced by the examples of sanctity with which they were
surrounded, and distinguished for piety, while Charlemagne pronounces
their neighbours a perfidious and perverse race, worse than pagans.
There can be no doubt that Charlemagne's high opinion of the Irish was
caused by the fact, that so many of the heads of his schools were of
that nation, which was then in the vanguard of civilization and
progress. The cloister, always the nursery of art, the religious, always
the promoters of learning, were pre-eminent in this age for their
devotion to literary pursuits. In the present work it is impossible to
give details of their MSS. still preserved, of their wonderful skill in
caligraphy, still the admiration of the most gifted, and of the
perfection to which they brought the science of music; but I turn from
this attractive subject with less regret, from the hope of being soon
able to produce an Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, in which such
details will find their proper place, and will be amply expanded.[192] The revolution of social feeling which was effected in Ireland by the
introduction of Christianity, is strongly marked. Before the advent of
St. Patrick, few Irish monarchs died a natural death—ambition or
treachery proved a sufficient motive for murder and assassination; while
of six kings who reigned during the eighth and ninth centuries, only one
died a violent death, and that death was an exception, which evidently
proved the rule, for Nial was drowned in a generous effort to save the
life of one of his own servants.

The fatal pestilence, already recorded, did not appear again after its
severe visitation, which terminated in 667. In 693 Finnachta Fleadhach
(the Hospitable) commenced his reign. He remitted the Boromean Tribute
at the request of St. Moling, and eventually abdicated, and embraced a
religious life. In the year 684, Egfrid, the Saxon King of
Northumberland, sent an army to Ireland, which spared neither churches
nor monasteries, and carried off a great number of the inhabitants as
slaves. Bede denounces and laments this barbarous invasion, attributing
the defeat and death of King Egfrid, which took place in the following
year, to the vengeance of heaven.[193] St. Adamnan was sent to
Northumbria, after the death of this prince, to obtain the release of
the captives. His mission was successful, and he was honoured there as
the worker of many miracles.

The generosity of Finnachta failed in settling the vexed question of
tribute. Comgal, who died in 708, ravaged Leinster as fiercely as his
predecessors, and Fearghal, his successor, invaded it "five times in one
year." Three wonderful showers are said to have fallen in the eighth
year of his reign (A.D. 716 according to the Four Masters)—a shower of
silver, a shower of honey, and a shower of blood. These were, of course,
considered portents of the awful Danish invasions. Fearghal was killed
at the battle of Almhain (Allen, near Kildare), in 718. In this
engagement, the Leinster men only numbered nine thousand, while their
opponents numbered twenty-one thousand. The Leinster men, however, made
up for numbers by their valour; and it is said that the intervention of
a hermit, who reproached Fearghal with breaking the pacific promise of
his predecessor, contributed to the defeat of the northern forces.
Another battle took place in 733, when Hugh Allan, King of Ireland, and
Hugh, son of Colgan, King of Leinster, engaged in single combat. The
latter was slain, and the Leinster men "were killed, slaughtered, cut
off, and dreadfully exterminated." In fact, the Leinster men endured so
many "dreadful exterminations," that one almost marvels how any of their
brave fellows were left for future feats of arms. The "northerns were
joyous after this victory, for they had wreaked their vengeance and
their animosity upon the Leinster men," nine thousand of whom were
slain. St. Samhthann, a holy nun, who died in the following year, is
said to have predicted the fate of Aedh, Comgal's son, if the two Aedhs
(Hughs) met. Aedh Allan commemorated her virtues in verse, and concludes
thus:—

"In the bosom of the Lord, with a pure death, Samhthann passed from her sufferings."

Indeed, the Irish kings of this period manifested their admiration of
peaceful living, and their desire for holy deaths, in a more practical
way than by poetic encomiums on others. In 704 Beg Boirche "took a
pilgrim's staff, and died on his pilgrimage." In 729 Flahertach
renounced his regal honours, and retired to Armagh, where he died. In
758 Donal died on a pilgrimage at Iona, after a reign of twenty years;
and in 765 his successor, Nial Frassagh, abdicated the throne, and
became a monk at Iona. Here he died in 778, and was buried in the tomb
of the Irish kings in that island.

An Irish poet, who died in 742, is said to have played a clever trick on
the "foreigners" of Dublin. He composed a poem for them, and then
requested payment for his literary labours. The Galls,[194] who were
probably Saxons, refused to meet his demand, but Rumrann said he would
be content with two pinguins (pennies) from every good man, and one
from each bad one. The result may be anticipated. Rumrann is described
as "an adept in wisdom, chronology, and poetry;" we might perhaps add,
and in knowledge of human nature. In the Book of Ballymote he is called
the Virgil of Ireland. A considerable number of Saxons were now in the
country; and it is said that a British king, named Constantine, who had
become a monk, was at that time Abbot of Rahen, in the King's county,
and that at Cell-Belaigh there were seven streets[195] of those
foreigners. Gallen, in the King's county, was called Galin of the
Britons, and Mayo was called Mayo of the Saxons, from the number of
monasteries therein, founded by members of these nations.

The entries during the long reign of Domhnall contain little save
obituaries of abbots and saints. The first year of the reign of Nial
Frassagh is distinguished by a shower of silver, a shower of wheat, and
a shower of honey. The Annals of Clonmacnois say that there was a most
severe famine throughout the whole kingdom during the early part of his
reign, so much that the king himself had very little to live upon. Then
the king prayed very fervently to God, being in company with seven holy
bishops; and he asked that he might die rather than see so many of his
faithful subjects perishing, while he was helpless to relieve them. At
the conclusion of his prayer, the "three showers" fell from heaven; and
then the king and the seven bishops gave great thanks to the Lord.

But a more terrible calamity than famine was even then impending, and,
if we may believe the old chroniclers, not without marvellous
prognostications of its approach. In the year 767 there occurred a most
fearful storm of thunder and lightning, with "terrific and horrible
signs." It would appear that the storm took place while a fair was going
on, which obtained the name of the "Fair of the clapping of hands." Fear
and horror seized the men of Ireland, so that their religious seniors
ordered them to make two fasts, together with fervent prayer, and one
meal between them, to protect and save them from a pestilence, precisely
at Michaelmas.[196]

The first raid of the Danish pirates is recorded thus: "The age of
Christ 790 [recte 795]. The twenty-fifth year of Donnchadh. The
burning of Reachrainn[197] by plunderers; and its shrines were broken
and plundered." They had already attacked the English coasts, "whilst
the pious King Bertric was reigning over its western division." Their
arrival was sudden and so unexpected, that the king's officer took them
for merchants, paying with his life for the mistake.[198] A Welsh
chronicle, known by the name of Brut y Tywysogion, or the Chronicle of
the Chieftains, has a corresponding record under the year 790: "Ten
years with fourscore and seven hundred was the age of Christ when the
pagans went to Ireland." Three MSS. add, "and destroyed Rechren."

Another chronicle mentions, that the black pagans, who were the first of
their nation to land in Ireland, had previously been defeated in
Glamorganshire, and after their defeat they had invaded Ireland, and
devastated Rechru.

If by bravery we understand utter recklessness of life, and utter
recklessness in inflicting cruelties on others, then the Vikings may be
termed brave. The heroism of patient endurance was a bravery but little
understood at that period. If the heathen Viking was brave when he
plundered and burned monastic shrines—when he massacred the defenceless
with wanton cruelty—when he flung little children on the points of
spears, and gloated over their dying agonies; perhaps we may also admit
those who endured such torments, either in their own persons, or in the
persons of those who were dear to them, and yet returned again and again
to restore the shrine so rudely destroyed, have also their claim to be
termed brave, and may demand some commendation for that virtue from
posterity.

As plunder was the sole object of these barbarians, they naturally
sought it first where it could be obtained most easily and surely. The
islands on the Irish coast were studded with monasteries. Their position
was chosen as one which seemed peculiarly suitable for a life of retreat
from worldly turmoil, and contemplation of heavenly things. They were
richly endowed, for ancient piety deemed it could never give enough to
God. The shrines were adorned with jewels, purchased with the wealth
which the monks had renounced for their own use; the sacred vessels were
costly, the gifts of generous hearts. The Danes commenced their work of
plunder and devastation in the year 795. Three years after, A.D. 798,
they ravaged Inis-patrick of Man and the Hebrides. In 802 they burned
"Hi-Coluim-Cille." In 806 they attacked the island again, and killed
sixty-eight of the laity and clergy. In 807 they became emboldened by
success, and for the first time marched inland; and after burning
Inishmurray, they attacked Roscommon. During the years 812 and 813 they
made raids in Connaught and Munster, but not without encountering stout
resistance from the native forces. After this predatory and internecine
warfare had continued for about thirty years, Turgesius, a Norwegian
prince, established himself as sovereign of the Vikings, and made Armagh
his head-quarters, A.D. 830. If the Irish chieftains had united their
forces, and acted in concert, the result would have been the expulsion
of the intruders; but, unhappily, this unity of purpose in matters
political has never existed. The Danes made and broke alliances with the
provincial kings at their own convenience, while these princes gladly
availed themselves of even temporary assistance from their cruel foes,
while engaged in domestic wars, which should never have been undertaken.
Still the Northmen were more than once driven from the country by the
bravery of the native commanders, and they often paid dearly for the
cruel wrongs they inflicted on their hapless victims. Sometimes the
Danish chiefs mustered all their forces, and left the island for a brief
period, to ravage the shores of England or Scotland; but they soon
returned to inflict new barbarities on the unfortunate Irish.[199]

Burning churches or destroying monasteries was a favourite pastime of
these pirates, wherever they could obtain a landing on Christian shores;
and the number of religious houses in Ireland afforded them abundant
means of gratifying their barbarous inclinations. But when they became
so far masters as to have obtained some permanent settlement, this mode
of proceeding was considered either more troublesome or less profitable
than that of appropriating to themselves the abbeys and churches.
Turgesius, it is said, placed an abbot of his own in every monastery;
and as he had already conferred ecclesiastical offices on himself and on
his lady, we may presume he was not very particular in his selections.
The villages, too, were placed under the rule of a Danish captain; and
each family was obliged to maintain a soldier of that nation, who made
himself master of the house, using and wasting the food for lack of
which the starving children of the lawful owner were often dying of
hunger.

All education was strictly forbidden; books and manuscripts were burned
and drowned; and the poets, historians, and musicians imprisoned and
driven to the woods and mountains. Martial sports were interdicted, from
the lowest to the highest rank. Even nobles and princes were forbidden
to wear their usual habiliments, the cast-off clothes of the Danes being
considered sufficiently good for slaves.

The clergy, who had been driven from their monasteries, concealed
themselves as best they could, continuing still their prayers and fasts,
and the fervent recital of the Divine Office. The Irish, true to their
faith in every trial, were not slow to attribute their deliverance to
the prayers of these holy men.

In 831 Nial Caille led an army against them, and defeated them at Derry;
but in the meanwhile, Felim, King of Cashel, with contemptible
selfishness, marched into Leinster to claim tribute, and plundered every
one, except the Danes, who should have been alone considered as enemies
at such a time. Even the churches were not spared by him, for he laid
waste the termon-lands of Clonmacnois, "up to the church door." After
his death,[200] A.D. 843, a brave and good king came to the rescue of
his unfortunate country. While still King of Meath, Meloughlin had freed
the nation from Turgesius, one of its worst tyrants, by drowning him in
Lough Owel. His death was a signal for a general onslaught on the Danes.
The people rose simultaneously, and either massacred their enemies, or
drove them to their ships. In 846 Meloughlin met their forces at Skreen,
where they were defeated; they also suffered a reverse at Kildare.

The Danes themselves were now divided into two parties—the Dubh Galls,
or Black Gentiles; and the Finn Galls, or White Gentiles. A fierce
conflict took place between them in the year 850, in which the Dubh
Galls conquered.[201] In the following year, however, both parties
submitted to Amlaff, son of the Norwegian king; and thus their power was
once more consolidated. Amlaff remained in Dublin; his brothers, Sitric
and Ivar, stationed themselves in Waterford and Limerick. A great
meeting was now convened by the ecclesiastics of Ireland at Rathugh, for
the purpose of establishing peace and concord amongst the native
princes. The northern Hy-Nials alone remained belligerent; and to defend
themselves, pursued the usual suicidal course of entering into an
alliance with the Danes. Upon the death of the Irish monarch, the
northern chief, Hugh Finnlaith, succeeded to the royal power; broke his
treaty with Amlaff, which had been only one of convenience; and turned
his arms vigorously against the foreigners. This prince was married to a
daughter of Kenneth M'Alpine, the first sole Monarch of Scotland. After
the death of the Irish prince, his wife married his successor, Flann,
who, according to the alternate plan of succession, came of the southern
Hy-Nial family, and was a son of Meloughlin, once the formidable
opponent of the lady's former husband. During the reign of Flann, Cormac
Mac Cullinan, a prelate distinguished for his learning and sanctity, was
obliged to unite the office of priest and king. This unusual
combination, however, was not altogether without precedent. The
archbishopric of Cashel owes its origin remotely to this great man; as
from the circumstance of the city of Cashel having been the seat of
royalty in the south, and the residence of the kings of Munster, it was
exalted, in the twelfth century, to the dignity of an archiepiscopal
see.

Of Cormac, however interesting his history, we can only give a passing
word. His reign commenced peaceably; and so wise—perhaps we should
rather say, so holy—was his rule, that his kingdom once more enjoyed
comparative tranquillity, and religion and learning flourished again as
it had done in happier times.

But the kingdom which he had been compelled to rule, was threatened by
the very person who should have protected it most carefully; and Cormac,
after every effort to procure peace, was obliged to defend his people
against the attacks of Flann. Even then a treaty might have been made
with the belligerent monarch; but Cormac, unfortunately for his people
and himself, was guided by an abbot, named Flahertach, who was by no
means so peaceably disposed as his good master. This unruly ecclesiastic
urged war on those who were already too willing to undertake it; and
then made such representations to the bishop-king, as to induce him to
yield a reluctant consent. It is said that Cormac had an intimation of
his approaching end. It is at least certain, that he made preparations
for death, as if he believed it to be imminent.

On the eve of the fatal engagement he made his confession, and added
some articles to his will, in which he left large bounties to many of
the religious houses throughout the kingdom. To Lismore he bequeathed a
golden chalice and some rich vestments; to Armagh, twenty-four ounces of
gold and silver; to his own church of Cashel, a golden and a silver
chalice, with the famous Saltair. Then he retired to a private place for
prayer, desiring the few persons whom he had informed of his approaching
fate to keep their information secret, as he knew well the effect such
intelligence would have on his army, were it generally known.

ROCK OF CASHEL.

ROCK OF CASHEL.

Though the king had no doubt that he would perish on the field, he still
showed the utmost bravery, and made every effort to cheer and encourage
his troops; but the men lost spirit in the very onset of the battle, and
probably were terrified at the numerical strength of their opponents.
Six thousand Munster men were slain, with many of their princes and
chieftains. Cormac was killed by falling under his horse, which missed
its footing on a bank slippery with the blood of the slain. A common
soldier, who recognized the body, cut off his head, and brought it as a
trophy to Flann; but the monarch bewailed the death of the good and
great prince, and reproved the indignity with which his remains had been
treated. This battle was fought at a place called Bealagh Mughna, now
Ballaghmoon, in the county of Kildare, a few miles from the town of
Carlow.[202]

Flahertach survived the battle, and, after some years spent in penance,
became once more minister, and ultimately King of Munster. As he
advanced in years, he learned to love peace, and his once irascible
temper became calm and equable.

The Rock of Cashel, and the ruins of a small but once beautiful chapel,
still preserve the memory of the bishop-king. His literary fame also has
its memorials. His Rule is contained in a poem of fourteen stanzas,
written in the most pure and ancient style of Gaedhilic, of which, as
well as of many other languages, the illustrious Cormac was so profound
a master. This Rule is general in several of its inculcations; but it
appears to have been written particularly as an instruction to a priest,
for the moral and spiritual direction of himself and his flock. He was
also skilled in the Ogham writings, as may be gathered from a poem
written by a contemporary, who, in paying compliments to many of the
Irish kings and chiefs, addresses the following stanza to Cormac:—

"Cormac of Cashel, with his champions,
Munster is his,—may he long enjoy it!

Around the King of Raith-Bicli are cultivated
The letters and the trees."

The death of Cormac is thus pathetically deplored by Dallan, son of
Môr:—

"The bishop, the soul's director, the renowned, illustrious doctor,
King of Caiseal, King of Farnumha: O God! alas for Cormac!"

Flann's last years were disturbed by domestic dissensions. His sons,
Donough and Conor, both rebelled against him; but Nial Glundubh (of the
black knee), a northern Hy-Nial chief, led an army against them, and
compelled them to give hostages to their father. Flann died the
following year, A.D. 914, and was succeeded by the prince who had so
ably defended him. Meanwhile, the Danes were not idle. Amlaff[203] has
signalized his advent by drowning Conchobhar, "heir apparent of Tara;"

by slaying all the chieftains of the Deisi at Cluain-Daimh; by killing
the son of Clennfaeladh, King of Muscraighe Breoghain; by smothering
Machdaighren in a cave, and by the destruction of Caitill Find (Ketill
the White) and his whole garrison. Oisill is the next chief of
importance; and he "succeeded in plundering the greatest part of
Ireland." It is not recorded how long he was occupied in performing this
exploit, but he was eventually slain, and his army cut off, by the men
of Erinn. The deaths of several Danish chieftains occured about this
period, and are referred to the vengeance of certain saints, whose
shrines they had desecrated. In A.D. 864 according to the Four Masters,
867 according to O'Flaherty, the Danes were defeated at Lough Foyle, by
Hugh Finnliath, King of Ireland. Soon after, Leinster and Munster were
plundered by a Scandinavian chief, named Baraid, who advanced as far as Ciarraighe (Kerry): "And they left not a cave under ground that they
did not explore; and they left nothing, from Limerick to Cork, that they
did not ravish." What treasures the antiquarian of the nineteenth
century must have lost by this marauder! How great must have been the
wealth of the kings and princes of ancient Erinn, when so much remains
after so much was taken! In 877 the Black Gentiles took refuge in
Scotland, after suffering a defeat in an engagement with the White
Gentiles. They were, however, consoled by a victory over the men of
Alba, in which Constantine, son of Kenneth, was slain, and many others
with him. Their success proved beneficial to Ireland, for we are told
that a period of "rest to the men of Erinn" ensued. The Danes still held
their own in Dublin and at Limerick, occasionally plundered the
churches, and now and then had a skirmish with the "men of Erinn;" but
for forty years the country was free from the foreign fleets, and,
therefore, enjoyed a time of comparative quiet.

In the year 913 new fleets arrived. They landed in the harbour of
Waterford, where they had a settlement formerly; but though they
obtained assistance here, they were defeated by the native Irish, both
in Kerry and in Tipperary. Sitric came with another fleet in 915, and
settled at Cenn-Fuait.[204] Here he was attacked by the Irish army, but
they were repulsed with great slaughter. Two years after they received
another disastrous defeat at Cill-Mosanhog, near Rathfarnham. A large
cromlech, still in that neighbourhood, probably marks the graves of the
heroes slain in that engagement. Twelve kings fell in this battle. Their
names are given in the Wars of the Gaedhil, and by other authorities,
though in some places the number is increased. Nial Glundubh was amongst
the slain. He is celebrated in pathetic verse by the bards. Of the
battle was said:—

"Fierce and hard was the Wednesday
On which hosts were strewn under the fall of shields;

It shall be called, till judgment's day,
The destructive burning of Ath-cliath."

The lamentation of Nial was, moreover, said:—

"Sorrowful this day is sacred Ireland,
Without a valiant chief of hostage reign!
It is to see the heavens without a sun,
To view Magh-Neill[205] without a Nial."

"There is no cheerfulness in the happiness of men;
There is no peace or joy among the hosts;
No fair can be celebrated
Since the sorrow of sorrow died."

Donough, son of Flann Sinna, succeeded, and passed his reign in
obscurity, with the exception of a victory over the Danes at Bregia. Two
great chieftains, however, compensated by their prowess for his
indifference; these were Muircheartach, son of the brave Nial Glundubh,
the next heir to the throne, and Callaghan of Cashel, King of Munster.
The northern prince was a true patriot, willing to sacrifice every
personal feeling for the good of his country: consequently, he proved a
most formidable foe to the Danish invader. Callaghan of Cashel was,
perhaps, as brave, but his name cannot be held up to the admiration of
posterity. The personal advancement of the southern Hy-Nials was more to
him than the political advancement of his country; and he disgraced his
name and his nation by leaguing with the invaders. In the year 934 he
pillaged Clonmacnois. Three years later he invaded Meath and Ossory, in
conjunction with the Danes. Muircheartach was several times on the eve
of engagements with the feeble monarch who nominally ruled the country,
but he yielded for the sake of peace, or, as the chroniclers quaintly
say, "God pacified them." After one of these pacifications, they joined
forces, and laid "siege to the foreigners of Ath-cliath, so that they
spoiled and plundered all that was under the dominion of the foreigners,
from Ath-cliath to Ath-Truisten."[206]

In the twenty-second year of Donough, Muircheartach determined on a
grand expedition for the subjugation of the Danes. He had already
conducted a fleet to the Hebrides, from whence he returned flushed with
victory. His first care was to assemble a body of troops of special
valour; and he soon found himself at the head of a thousand heroes, and
in a position to commence "his circuit of Ireland." The Danish chief,
Sitric, was first seized as a hostage. He then carried off Lorcan, King
of Leinster. He next went to the Munster men, who were also prepared for
battle; but they too yielded, and gave up their monarch also, "and a
fetter was put on him by Muircheartach." He afterwards proceeded into
Connaught, where Conchobhar, son of Tadhg, came to meet him, "but no
gyve or lock was put upon him." He then returned to Oileach, carrying
these kings with him as hostages. Here he feasted them for five months
with knightly courtesy, and then sent them to the Monarch Donough.

After these exploits we cannot be surprised that Muircheartach should be
styled the Hector of the west of Europe. But he soon finds his place in
the never-ceasing obituary. In two years after his justly famous
exploit, he was slain by "Blacaire, son of Godfrey, lord of the
foreigners." This event occurred on the 26th of March, A.D. 941,
according to the chronology of the Four Masters. The true year, however,
is 943. The chroniclers briefly observe, that "Ard-Macha was plundered
by the same foreigners, on the day after the killing of
Muircheartach."[207]

Donough died in 942, after a reign of twenty-five years. He was succeeded by Congallach, who was killed by the Danes, A.D. 954. Donnell
O'Neill, a son of the brave Muircheartach, now obtained the royal power,
such as it was; and at his death the throne reverted to Maelseachlainn,
or Malachy II., the last of his race who ever held the undisputed
sovereignty of Ireland. But it must not be supposed that murders and
massacres are the staple commodities of our annals during this eventful
period. Every noteworthy event is briefly and succinctly recorded. We
find, from time to time, mention of strange portents, such as double
suns, and other celestial phenomena of a more or less remarkable
character. Fearful storms are also chronicled, which appear to have
occurred at certain intervals, and hard frosts, which proved almost as
trying to the "men of Erinn" as the wars of the Gentiles, black or
white. But the obituaries of abbots or monks, with the quaint remarks
appended thereto, and epitomes of a lifetime in a sentence, are by no
means the least interesting portion of those ancient tomes. In one page
we may find record of the Lord of Aileach, who takes a pilgrim's staff;
in another, we have mention of the Abbot Muireadhach and others, who
were "destroyed in the refectory" of Druim-Mesclainn by Congallach; and
we read in the lamentation of Muireadhach, that he was "the lamp of
every choir." Then we are told simply how a nobleman "died in religion,"

as if that were praise enough for him; though another noble, Domhnall,
is said to have "died in religion, after a good life." Of some abbots
and bishops there is nothing more than the death record; but in the age
of Christ 926, when Celedabhaill, son of Scannal, went to Rome on his
pilgrimage from the abbacy of Beannchair, we are given in full the four
quatrains which he composed at his departure,—a composition which
speaks highly for the poetic powers and the true piety of the author. He
commences thus:—

"Time for me to prepare to pass from the shelter of a habitation,
To journey as a pilgrim over the surface of the noble lively sea;
Time to depart from the snares of the flesh, with all its guilt;

Time now to ruminate how I may find the great Son of Mary;
Time to seek virtue, to trample upon the will with sorrow;
Time to reject vices, and to renounce the demon.

"Time to barter the transitory things for the country of the King of heaven;

Time to defy the ease of the little earthly world of a hundred pleasures;
Time to work at prayer in adoration of the high King of angels."


The obituary notices, however, were not always complimentary. We find
the following entry in the Annals of Clonmacnois:—"Tomhair Mac Alchi,
King of Denmark, is reported to go [to have gone] to hell with his
pains, as he deserved."


GREY MAN'S PATH, GIANT'S CAUSEWAY.

GREY MAN'S PATH, GIANT'S CAUSEWAY.


RATH AT LEIGHLIN, CARLOW

RATH AT LEIGHLIN, CARLOW