Irish Story

City and rural scenes of Ireland

 Irish Bard





Writing came late to Ireland ,and even then was reserved for commercial transactions, marking monuments and copying the Christian Bible. The Brehon Laws, the history of the people and their cultural traditions were passed down the generations orally. Brehon Law persisted until 1603, when England officially abolished it.

Bards and harpers were greatly respected, deriving their status from the pre-Christian authority of the Druids. When a storyteller came to the area, the people gathered to hear him. These storytellers wandered the land, gathering news as well as tales of heroes ancient and modern to put into songs and poems. They were not expected to work for a living, and it was considered an offence against God and Man to harm a bard or to fail to provide a welcoming place at the hearth.

Probably as a result of the storytelling tradition, the Irish have a reputation for being able to make the dullest facts into an interesting story and for being able to talk their way out of trouble. The word “blarney”, meaning smooth, flattering talk designed to gain favour by persuasion, comes from Ireland. Blarney Castle, near Cork, contains a stone high up in its tower, which is said to confer the power of persuasive speech on anyone who kisses it. Tourists flock to kiss the Blarney Stone, despite a tiring climb and the requirement to dangle backwards over the wall to reach it.


  Blarney Castle. Click to view larger photo



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