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[Illustration: HOLY ISLAND LOUGH DERG. (_From a painting by Watkins._)]

The Story of the Nations


THE

STORY OF IRELAND

BY

THE HON. EMILY LAWLESS

AUTHOR OF "HURRISH: A STUDY," ETC



WITH SOME ADDITIONS BY

MRS. ARTHUR BRONSON

NEW YORK

LONDON

1896




To

THE EARL OF DUFFERIN, K.P., G.C.B., F.R.S., &c.,

VICEROY OF INDIA.

* * * * *

SGEUL NA H-ÉIREANN

DON ÉIREANNACH AS FIÚ.




PREFACE.


Irish history is a long, dark road, with many blind alleys, many sudden
turnings, many unaccountably crooked portions; a road which, if it has a
few sign-posts to guide us, bristles with threatening notices, now upon
the one side and now upon the other, the very ground underfoot being
often full of unsuspected perils threatening to hurt the unwary.

To the genuine explorer, flushed with justified self-confidence, well
equipped for the journey, and indifferent to scratches or bruises, one
may suppose this to be rather an allurement than otherwise, as he spurs
along, lance at rest, and sword on side. To the less well-equipped
traveller, who has no pretensions to the name of explorer at all, no
particular courage to boast of, and whose only ambition is to make the
way a little plainer for some one travelling along it for the first
time, it is decidedly a serious impediment, so much so as almost to
scare such a one from attempting the _rôle_ of guide even in the
slightest and least responsible capacity.

Another and perhaps even more formidable objection occurs. A history
beset with such distracting problems, bristling with such thorny
controversies, a history, above all, which has so much bearing upon that
portion of history which has still to be born, ought, it may be said, to
be approached in the gravest and most authoritative fashion possible, or
else not approached at all. This is too true, and that so slight a
summary as this can put forward no claim to authority of any sort is
evident enough. National "stories," however, no less than histories,
gain a gravity, it must be remembered, and even at times a solemnity
from their subject apart altogether from their treatment. A good reader
will read a great deal more into them than the mere bald words convey.
The lights and shadows of a great or a tragic past play over their easy
surface, giving it a depth and solidity to which it could otherwise lay
no claim. If the present attempt disposes any one to study at first hand
one of the strangest and most perplexing chapters of human history and
national destiny, its author for one will be more than content.




CONTENTS.

I.

PRIMEVAL IRELAND

Early migrations - The great ice age - Northern character of the fauna and
flora of Ireland - First inhabitants - Formorian, Firbolgs,
Tuatha-da-Dannans - Battle of Moytura Cong - The Scoto-Celtic
invasion - Annals and annalists, how far credible?

II.

THE LEGENDS AND LEGEND-MAKERS

The legends - Their archaic character - The pursuit of Gilla Backer and
his horse - The ollamhs - Positions of the bards or ollamhs in
Primitive Ireland.

III.

PRE-CHRISTIAN IRELAND

Early Celtic law - The Senchus Mor and Book of Aicill - Laws of
inheritance - Narrow conception of patriotism.

IV.

ST. PATRICK THE MISSIONARY

St. Patrick's birth - Capture, slavery, and escape - His return to
Ireland - Arrives at Tara - Visits Connaught and Ulster - Early Irish
missionaries and their enthusiasm for the work.

V.

THE FIRST IRISH MONASTERIES

"The Tribes of the Saints" - Small oratories in the West - Plan of
monastic life - Ready acceptance of Christianity.

VI.

COLUMBA AND THE WESTERN CHURCH

Birth of Columba - His journey to Iona - His character and
humanity - Conversion of Saxon England - Schism between Western Church and
Papacy - Synod of Whitby - The Irish Church at home.

VII.

THE NORTHERN SCOURGE

Ireland divided into five kingdoms - The Ard-Reagh - Arrival of
Vikings - Thorgist or Turgesius? - Later Viking invaders - The round
towers - Dublin founded - Hatred between the two races.

VIII.

BRIAN OF THE TRIBUTE

Two deliverers - Defeat of the Vikings at Sulcost - Brian becomes king of
Munster - Seizes Cashel - Overcomes Malachy - Becomes king of
Ireland - Celtic theory of loyalty - Fresh Viking invasion - Battle of
Clontarf - Death of Brian Boru.

IX.

FROM BRIAN TO STRONGBOW

Result of Brian Boru's death - Chaos returns - Struggle for the
succession - Roderick O'Connor, last native king of Ireland.

X.

THE ANGLO-NORMAN INVASION

First group of knightly invaders - Their relationship - Giraldus

Cambrensis - Motives for invasion - Papal sanction - Dermot McMurrough - He
enlists recruits - Arrival of Robert FitzStephen - Wexford, Ossory, and
Kilkenny captured - Arrival of Strongbow - Struggle with Hasculph the Dane
and John the Mad - Danes defeated - Dublin besieged - Strongbow defeats
Roderick O'Connor, goes to Wexford, and embarks at Waterford - Meets the
king - Arrival of Henry II.

XI.

HENRY II. IN IRELAND

Large military forces of Henry - The chiefs submit and do homage - Irish
theory of Ard-Reagh or Over-Lord - Henry in Dublin - Synod at
Cashel - Henry recalled to England.

XII.

EFFECTS OF THE ANGLO-NORMAN INVASION

Effect of Henry's stay in Ireland - His large schemes - Their practical
failure - Rapacity of adventurers - Contrast between Irish and their
conquerors - Civil war from the outset.

XIII.

JOHN IN IRELAND

John's first visit - His insolence and misconduct - Recalled in
disgrace - Second visit as king - His energy - Overruns Meath and
Ulster - Returns to England - Effect of his visit.

XIV.

THE LORDS PALATINE

The Geraldines - Their possessions in Ireland - The five palatinates - The
heirs of Strongbow - The De Burghs - The Butlers - Importance of the great
territorial owners in Ireland.

XV.

EDWARD BRUCE IN IRELAND

Want of landmarks in Irish history - Edward the I.'s reign - Battle of
Bannockburn - Its effect on Ireland - Scotch invasion under Edward
Bruce - Ravages and famine caused by him - The colonists regain courage:
Battle of Dundalk - Edward Bruce killed - Result of the Scotch invasion.

XVI.

THE STATUTE OF KILKENNY

Reign of Edward III. - A lost opportunity - Duke of Clarence sent to
Ireland - Parliament at Kilkenny - Statute of Kilkenny - Its objects - Two
Irelands - Weakness resorts to cruelty - Effects of the statute.

XVII.

RICHARD II. IN IRELAND

Richard the II.'s two visits to Ireland - Utter disorganization of the
country - The chieftains submit and come in - "Sir Art"
McMurrough - Richard leaves, and Art McMurrough breaks out again - Earl of
March killed - Richard returns - Attacks Art McMurrough - Failure of
attack - Recalled to England - His defeat and death - Confusion redoubles.

XVIII.

THE DEEPEST DEPTHS

Monotony of Irish history - State of Ireland during the Wars of the
Roses - Pillage, carnage, and rapine - The seaport towns - Richard Duke of
York in Ireland - His conciliatory policy - Battle of Towton - The Kildares
grow in power - Geroit Mor - His character.

XIX.

THE KILDARES IN THE ASCENDANT

Effect of the battle of Bosworth - Kildare still in power - Lambert Simnel
in Ireland - Crowned in Dublin - Battle of Stoke - Henry VII. pardons the
rebels - Irish peers summoned to Court - Perkin Warbeck in
Ireland - Quarrels between the Kildares and Ormonds - Sir Edward
Poynings - Kildare's trial and acquital - Restored to power - Battle
of Knocktow.

XX.

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF KILDARE

Rise of Wolsey to power - Resolves to destroy the Geraldines - Geroit Mor
succeeded by his son - Earl of Surrey sent as viceroy - Kildare restored
to power - Summoned to London and imprisoned - Again restored and again
imprisoned - Situation changed - Revolt of Silken Thomas - Seizes
Dublin - Archbishop Allen murdered - Sir William Skeffington to
Ireland - Kildare dies in prison - "The Pardon of Maynooth" - Silken Thomas
surrenders, and is executed.

XXI.

THE ACT OF SUPREMACY

Lord Leonard Grey deputy - Accused of treason, recalled and executed - Act
of Supremacy proposed - Opposition of clergy - Suppression of the
abbeys - Great Parliament summoned in Dublin - - Meeting of hereditary
enemies - Conciliatory measures - Henry VIII. proclaimed king of Ireland
and head of the Church.

XXII.

THE NEW DEPARTURE

A halcyon period - O'Neill, O'Brien, and Macwilliam of Clanricarde at
Greenwich - Receive their peerages, - Attempt at establishing
Protestantism in Ireland - Vehemently resisted - The destruction of the
relics - Archbishop Dowdal - The effect of the new departure - The Irish
problem receives fresh complications.

XXIII.

THE FIRST PLANTATIONS

Mary becomes queen - Religious struggle postponed - Fercal Leix and Offaly
colonized - Sense of insecurity awakened - No Irish Protestant
martyrs - Commission of Dean Cole - Its failure - Death of Mary.

XXIV.

WARS AGAINST SHANE O'NEILL

Elizabeth becomes queen, - Effect of change on Ireland - Shane
O'Neill - His description, habits, qualities - His campaign against
Sussex - Defeats Sussex - His visit to Court - Returns to Ireland - Supreme
in the North - His attack on the Scots - Sir Henry Sidney marches into
Ulster - The disaster at Derry - Shane encounters the O'Donnells - Is
defeated - Applies to the Scots - Is slain.

XXV.

BETWEEN TWO STORMS

Sir Henry Sidney Lord-deputy - A lull - Sidney's policy and
proceedings - Provincial presidents appointed - Arrest of Desmond - Sir
Peter Carew - His violence - Rebellion in the South - Sir James
Fitzmaurice - Relations between him and Sir John Perrot - He surrenders,
and sails for France.

XXVI.

THE DESMOND REBELLION

An abortive tragedy - State of the Desmond Palatinate - Sir James
Fitzmaurice in France and Spain - Nicholas Saunders appointed
legate - Stukeley's expedition - Fitzmaurice lands in Kerry - Desmond
vacillates - Death of Sir James Fitzmaurice - Concerted attack of Ormond
and Pelham - Horrible destruction of life - Arrival of Spaniards at
Smerwick - Lord Grey de Wilton - Defeat of English troops at
Glenmalure - Attack of and slaughter of Spaniards at Smerwick - Wholesale
executions - Death of the Earl of Desmond and extinction of his house.

XXVII.

BETWEEN TWO MORE STORMS

State of Munster - The new plantations - Perrot's administration - Tyrlough
Luinagh, - Sir William Fitzwilliam - Executions without trial - Alarm of
northern proprietors - Earl of Tyrone - Character of early loyalty - Causes
of dissatisfaction - Quarrel with Bagnall - Preparations for a rising.

XXVIII.

BATTLE OF THE YELLOW FORD

The Northern Blackwater - Attack of Blackwater Fort by Tyrone - Death of
the deputy, Lord Borough - Bagnall advances from Dublin - Battle of the
Yellow Ford - Defeat and death of Bagnall - Retreat of the English
troops - The rising becomes general.

XXIX.

THE ESSEX FAILURE

Essex appointed Lord-Lieutenant - Arrival in Ireland - Mistakes and
disasters - Death of Sir Conyers Clifford in the Curlews - Essex advances
north - Holds a conference with Tyrone - Agrees to an armistice - Anger of
the Queen - Essex suddenly leaves Ireland.

XXX.

END OF THE TYRONE WAR

Mountjoy appointed deputy - Contrast between him and Essex - Reasons for
Mountjoy's greater success - Conquest by starvation - Success of
method - Arrival of Spanish forces at Kinsale: Mountjoy and Carew marched
south and invests Kinsale - Attack of Mountjoy by Tyrone - Failure of
attack - Surrender of Spaniards - Surrender of Tyrone.

XXXI.

THE FLIGHT OF THE EARLS

The last chieftain rising against England - Condition of affairs at close
of war - Tyrone's position impossible - Reported plot - Tyrone and
Tyrconnel take flight - Confiscation of their territory - Sir John
Davis - The Ulster Settlement.

XXXII.

THE FIRST CONTESTED ELECTION

Parliament summoned - Anxiety of government to secure a Protestant
majority - Contested election - Narrow Protestant majority - Furious
quarrel over election of Speaker - Parliament dissolved - The king
appealed to - Attainder of Tyrone and Tyrconnel - Reversal of statute
of Kilkenny.

XXXIII.

OLD AND NEW OWNERS

Further plantations - The Connaught landowners - Their positions - Charles
I.'s accession and how it affected Ireland - Lord Falkland appointed
viceroy - Succeeded by Wentworth.

XXXIV.

STRAFFORD

Arrival of Wentworth in Ireland - His methods and theory - Dissolves
parliament - Goes to Connaught - Galway jury fined and imprisoned - His
ecclesiastical policy - His Irish army - Return to England - Attainder,
trial, and death.

XXXV.

'FORTY-ONE

Confusion and disorder - Strafford's army disbanded, but still in the
country - Plot to seize Dublin Castle - Plot transpires - Sir Phelim
O'Neill seizes Charlemont - Attack upon the Protestant
settlers - Barbarities and counter barbarities.

XXXVI.

THE WATERS SPREAD

The rising at first local - Attitude of the Pale gentry - They resolve to
join the rising - Disorganization of the northern insurgents - Incapacity
of Sir Phelim O'Neill - Arrival of Owen Roe O'Neill and Preston - Meeting
of delegates at Kilkenny - Charles decides upon a _coup de main_.

XXXVII.

CIVIL WAR

Effect of the Ulster massacres on England - An agrarian rather than
religious rising - The Confederates' terms Glamorgan sent to Ireland, The
secret treaty transpires, Arrival of Rinucini, Battle of Benturb, Ormond
surrenders Dublin to the Parliament.

XXXVIII.

THE CONFUSION DEEPENS

Total confusion of aims and parties, The "poor Panther" Inchiquin,
Alliance between Jones and Owen Roe O'Neill, Ormond advances upon
Dublin, Battle of Baggotrath and defeat of the Royalists, Arrival
of Cromwell.

XXXIX.

CROMWELL IN IRELAND

Cromwell's mission, Assault of Drogheda, and slaughter of its garrison,
Wexford garrison slaughtered, Cromwell's discipline, The "country
sickness," Confusion in the Royalist camp, Signature of the Scotch
covenant by the king, Final surrender of O'Neill and the Irish army.

XL.

CROMWELL'S METHODS

Loss of life during the eight years of war, Punishment of the
vanquished, Executions, Wholesale scheme of eviction, The New Owners,
"The Burren," Sale of women to the West Indian plantations,
Dissatisfaction amongst the soldiers and debenture holders, Irish
Cromwellians.

XLI.

THE ACT OF SETTLEMENT

The Restoration, Henry Cromwell, Coote and Broghill, Court of claims
established in Dublin, Prolonged dispute, Final settlement, Condition of
Irish Roman Catholics at close of the struggle.

XLII.

OPPRESSION AND COUNTER OPPRESSION

Effects of the Restoration upon the Ulster Presbyterians - A new Act of
Uniformity - Exodus of Presbyterians from Ireland - The Popish
plot - Insane panic - Execution of Archbishop Plunkett - Sudden reversal of
the tide - Tyrconnel sent as viceroy - Terror of Protestant
settlers - William of Orange in England - James II. arrives in Ireland.

XLIII.

WILLIAM AND JAMES IN IRELAND

Popular enthusiasm for James - Struggle between his English and Irish
adherents - James advances to Londonderry - Siege of Londonderry - Its
garrison relieved - Debasing the coinage - Reversal of the Act of
Settlement - Bill of Attainder - Arrival of William III. - Battle of the
Boyne - Flight of James - First siege of Limerick - Athlone captured by
Ginkel - Battle of Aughrim.

XLIV.

THE TREATY OF LIMERICK

Sarsfield refuses to surrender - Second siege of Limerick - The Limerick
treaty - Its exact purport - The military treaty - Departure of the exiles.

XLV.

THE PENAL CODE

A new century and new fortunes - Mr. Lecky's "Eighteenth
Century" - Reversal of all the recent Acts - The Penal Code - Burke's
description of it - How evaded - Its effects upon Protestants and
Catholics.

XLVI.

THE COMMERCIAL CODE

The "Protestant Ascendency" - England's jealousy of her Colonists, Act
passed prohibiting export of Irish woollen goods, Effects of the Act
upon Ireland, Smuggling on an immense scale, Collapse of industry,
Strained relations.

XLVII.

MOLYNEUX AND SWIFT

The "Ingenious Molyneux," Irish naturalists, Molyneux's "Case of
Ireland," Effect of its publication, Death of Molyneux, Dean Swift, His
position in Irish politics, The "Drapier Letters," Their line of attack,
Effect on popular opinion, Wood's halfpence suspended.

XLVIII.

HENRY FLOOD

Forty dull years, Parliamentary abuses, Charles Lucas, Flood enters
Parliament, His struggle with the Government, Lord Townsend recalled,
Flood accepts office, Effect of that acceptance, Rejoins the Liberal
side, Tries to outbid Grattan, Failure and end.

XLIX.

HENRY GRATTAN

Unanimity of opinion about Grattan, His character, Enters Parliament,
The "Declaration of Rights," Carried by the Irish Parliament,
Declaratory Act of George I. repealed, A spell of prosperity, Rocks
ahead, Disaster following disaster, Grattan and the Union,
Grattan's death.

L.

THE IRISH VOLUNTEERS

Revolt of the American Colonies, Its effect on Ireland, Disastrous
condition of the country, Volunteer movement begun in Belfast, Rapid
popularity, Its effect upon politics, Free Trade, Declaratory Act
repealed, The Volunteers disband.

LI.

DANGER SIGNALS

Reform the crying necessity of the hour - Corruption steadily
increasing - Attempt to obtain free importation of goods to England - Its
failure - Disturbed state of the country - Its causes - "White boys," "Oak
boys," and "Steel boys" - Faction war in the North - Orange
lodges - "Society of United Irishmen" - The one hope for the future.

LII.

THE FITZWILLIAM DISAPPOINTMENT

General desire for Catholic Emancipation - Lord Sheffield's evidence - The
Catholic delegates received by the king - Lord Fitzwilliam sent as
Lord-Lieutenant - Popular enthusiasm - Recalled - Result of his recall.

LIII.

'NINETY-EIGHT

Wolfe Tone, his character and autobiography - The other leaders of the
rebellion - England and France at war - Hoche's descent - Panic - Habeas
Corpus Act suspended - Misconduct of soldiers - Arrest of Lord Edward
Fitzgerald - Outbreak of the rebellion - The rising in Wexford - Bagenal
Harvey - Arklow, New Ross, and Vinegar Hill - Suppression of the
rebellion - Final incidents - Death of Wolfe Tone.

LIV.

THE UNION

State of Ireland after the rebellion - Pitt resolved to pass the
Union - Inducements offered - Discrepancy of statements upon the
subject - Bribery or not bribery? - Lord Cornwallis and Lord
Castlereagh - The Union carried.

LV.

O'CONNELL AND CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION

The Union not followed by union - The Emmett outbreak, - Young Daniel
O'Connell - The new Catholic Association - The Clare election - Catholic
Relief Bill carried - The "Incarnation of a people" - Repeal - The
O'Connell gatherings - The meeting proclaimed at Clontarf - Prosecution
and condemnation of O'Connell - Released on appeal - Never regained his
power - Despondency and death.

LVI.

"YOUNG IRELAND"

"The Nation" - Sir C. Gavan Duffy - Thomas Davis - Smith O'Brien - Effect of
O'Connell's death on the "Young Ireland" party - James Lalor - His
influence on Mitchell - The "United Irishmen" newspaper started - Arrest
and transportation of Mitchell - The end of the "Young Ireland" movement.

LVII.

THE FAMINE

First symptoms of the potato disease - The fatal night - Beginning of
Famine - Rapid mortality - Mr. Forster's reports - Relief works - Soup
kitchens - Failure of preventive measures - Famine followed by
ruin - Clearances and Emigration - Emigrant ships - Permanent effects of
the Famine on Ireland.

LVIII.

THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT

Encumbered Estates Act - Tenant League of North and South - The "Brass
Band" - A lull - The Phoenix organization - The Fenian "scare" - Rescue of
Fenian prisoners at Manchester - The Clerkenwell explosion - The Irish
Church Act - The Irish Land Act of 1870 - Failure of Irish Education Act,
and retirement of the Liberals - Mr. Butt and Mr. Parnell - The Land
League established - Return of the Liberals to power - The Irish Land Act
of 1881 - Arrest and release of Land League Leaders - Murders in the
Phoenix Park - James Carey - - His death - The agrarian struggle - Home
Rule - Its eventual destiny - The untravelled Future.

LIX.

CONCLUSION

Irish heroes - Causes of their want of popularity - Irish _versus_ Scotch
heroes - "Prince Posterity".

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

[Nearly all the archaeological illustrations in this volume are from
"The Early Christian Architecture of Ireland," by Miss M. Stokes, who
has kindly allowed them to be reproduced. The portraits are chiefly from
engravings, &c., kept in the Prints Room of the British Museum.]

HOLY ISLAND, LOUGH DERG.
MAP OF IRELAND IN REIGN OF HENRY VII.
CROSS IN CEMETERY OF TEMPUL BRECCAN.
WEST CROSS, MONASTERBOICE.
DOORWAY OF MAGHERA CHURCH.
KILBANNON TOWER.
KELLS ROUND TOWER.
BASE OF TUAM CROSS.
DOORWAY OF KILLESHIN CHURCH.
INTERIOR OF CORMAC'S CHAPEL (CASHEL).
WEST FRONT OF ST. CRONAN'S CHURCH.
WEST DOORWAY OF FRESHFORD CHURCH.
SIR HENRY SIDNEY (PORTRAIT OF).
ASKEATON CASTLE.
CATHERINE, THE "OLD" COUNTESS OF DESMOND.
SIR JOHN PERROT (PORTRAIT OF).
CAHIR CASTLE (IN 1599).
CAPTURE OF THE EARL OF ORMOND BY THE O'MORES.
IRELAND IN THE REIGN OF JAMES I.
THOMAS WENTWORTH, EARL OF STRAFFORD, 1641.
ARCHBISHOP USSHER (PORTRAIT OF).
JAMES, DUKE OF ORMOND (PORTRAIT OF).
HENRY CROMWELL (PORTRAIT OF).
"TIGER" ROCHE.
DEAN SWIFT (PORTRAIT OF).
PHILIP, EARL OF CHESTERFIELD (PORTRAIT OF).
RIGHT HON. HENRY FLOOD (PORTRAIT OF).
RIGHT HON. HENRY GRATTAN, M.P. (PORTRAIT OF).
JAMES CAULFIELD, EARL OF CHARLEMONT (PORTRAIT OF).
RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE (PORTRAIT OF).
THE EARL OF MOIRA ("A MAN OF IMPORTANCE").
RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE (SKETCH FROM LIFE).
THEOBALD WOLFE TONE (PORTRAIT OF).
LORD EDWARD FITZGERALD (PORTRAIT OF).
THE FOUR COURTS, DUBLIN.
MARQUIS CORNWALLIS (PORTRAIT OF).
ROBERT EMMETT (PORTRAIT OF).
DANIEL O'CONNELL, M.P. (SKETCH OF).
LESSER ILLUSTRATIONS (AT ENDS OF CHAPTERS).
CROMLECH ON HOWTH.
MOUTH OF SEPULCHRAL CHAMBER AT DOWTH.
ST. KEVIN'S CHURCH.
CORMAC'S CHAPEL AND ROUND TOWER.
ROUND TOWER AT DEVENISH.
SOUTH WINDOW OF ST. CAEMIN'S CHURCH.
FIGURES ON KILCARN FONT.
TRIM CASTLE.
FIGURES ON KILCARN FONT.
INITIAL LETTER (FROM THE BOOK OF KELLS).
ST. PATRICK'S BELL.
INITIAL LETTER (FROM THE BOOK OF KELLS).
CINERARY URN.
TARA BROOCH.
DOORWAY OF ST. CAEMIN'S CHURCH.
SHRINE OF ST. PATRICK'S BELL.
ST. COLUMBA'S ORATORY.
INITIAL LETTER (FROM THE BOOK OF KELLS).
CRYPT OF CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL.




THE STORY OF IRELAND.

I.

PRIMEVAL IRELAND.

"It seems to be certain," says the Abbé McGeoghehan, "that Ireland
continued uninhabited from the Creation to the Deluge." With this
assurance to help us on our onward way I may venture to supplement it by
saying that little is known about the first, or even about the second,
third, and fourth succession of settlers in Ireland. At what precise
period what is known as the Scoto-Celtic branch of the great Aryan stock
broke away from its parent tree, by what route its migrants travelled,
in what degree of consanguinity it stood to the equally Celtic race or
races of Britain, what sort of people inhabited Ireland previous to the
first Aryan invasion - all this is in the last degree uncertain, though
that it was inhabited by some race or races outside the limits of that
greatest of human groups seems from ethnological evidence to be
perfectly clear.

When first it dawns upon us through that thick darkness which hangs
about the birth of all countries - whatever their destiny - it was a
densely wooded and scantily peopled island "lying a-loose," as old
Campion, the Elizabethan historian, tells us, "upon the West Ocean,"
though his further assertion that "in shape it resembleth an egg, plain
on the sides, and not reaching forth to the sea in nooks and elbows of
Land as Brittaine doeth" - cannot be said to be quite geographically
accurate - the last part of the description referring evidently to the
east coast, the only one with which, like most of his countrymen, he was
at that time familiar.

Geographically, then, and topographically it was no doubt in much the
same state as the greater part of it remained up to the middle or end of
the sixteenth century, a wild, tangled, roadless land, that is to say,
shaggy with forests, abounding in streams, abounding, too, in lakes - far
more, doubtless, than at present, drainage and other causes having
greatly reduced their number - with rivers bearing the never-failing
tribute of the skies to the sea, yet not so thoroughly as to hinder
enormous districts from remaining in a swamped and saturated condition,
given up to the bogs, which even at the present time are said to cover
nearly one-sixth of its surface.

This superfluity of bogs seems always in earlier times to have been
expeditiously set down by all historians and agriculturists as part of



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