John O'Hart.

Irish pedigrees; or, The origin and stem of the Irish nation (Volume 1) online

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and, more lately, Albion; and when the Gaels were driven by the Britons
to the northern portion of the Island, that part only was called Alba,
Alban, or Albain, while the southern portion of the Island, now known as
England, was called Britain or Albion.

According to Ussher, in his Antiquit. Eccl. Brit, page 378, " Albion"
was the name under which Great Britain was known to the Greeks, not
only in the time of Ptolemy, Marcianus Heracleota, Eustachius, etc., but
also in the much more ancient time of Aristotle and of Theophrastus : a
very natural name for it by a Gaul placed on the continent or near Calais,
where the first and only knowledge he may have of the British Isle
consists in the bare sight of the white cliffs of Dover ; and this Gaul,
having crossed the channel and observed the situation and shape of the
land above Dover, naturally calls it CeantirX ("ceanntir:" Irish, /im^?-
to^), which the Eomans latinized Cantium, now "Kent." A numerous
colony of the Gaels having afterwards crossed over from Gaul to Britain,
which by degrees they peopled from one end to the other, they gave names
to all the remarkable objects of nature and art throughout the whole
country — such as rivers, mountains, headlands, towns, etc. ; and, accord-
ingly, we find these Gaelic names everywhere in England and Wales,
from Dover to York, namely, from Ceantir (or Kent) to the river Isc, now
called the " Ouse," which passes through York ; and from the river Isca
(which passes through the town of Caer-Leon-ar-Isc, in Monmouthshire),
to Longdion (" now London"), and its river Tamh-isc or Thamisis, now the
In his Mona Antigua, Roland observes that the remains of old
habitations still to be seen on the tops of high places in Anglesea, are
called to this day Ceitir Ghiidelod, which he anglicises "the Irishmen's

* Gaels : Baxter, in his Glossario Antique Britannice, considers that the Brigantes
(who were a part of the Gaelic colony which went from Spain to Ireland) were the first
inhabitants of Britain ; and Lhuyd shows that the Brigantes were the first inhabitants
3f all that part of Great Britain which now comprehends England and Wales.

f Isle : When the Cymri (see ** Cimbrians and Britons," in the Appendix,) settled
in Britain, they forced the Gaels to the northern part of the Island ; and the name Alban
Dr Albain, which the Gaels had first given to it, followed them, so as to be appropriated
to whatever tract they inhabited. Hence it is that the term Albanach is the Irish for
% native of Alba or Scotland, or North Britain, even at the present day.

% Ceantir : This word is compounded of the Irish ceann, the head ; and tir (Lat.
!er-ra), a land, a country, a nation ; and this ceann makes cinn, in the genitive case.
Bence the Anglo-Saxon word king ; because the " King" is the head of his people or
mbjects : the Irish C being equivalent to the English letter K ; and the final double »,
A) the English ng. — See O'Brien's Irish Dictionary, under the word " Cinn,"


cottages,"* but which should more properly be rendered " tTie habitations
of the Gaels ;" and he justly observes that those are vestiges of the first
habitations that were made by the first planters of the island, because the
valleys were then covered with woods, which were the haunts of wolves
and other wild beasts. Two other objects, whose names are plain Irish,
are living evidences that the Gaels were the ancient inhabitants of
Anglesea, before the Welsh : The landing-place of the ferry or passage
from North AVales to Anglesea is, in Welsh, called Port-aeth-ioj, which is a
corruption of the Irish Fort-ath-hhiddhe, meaning " the bank or landing-
place of the yellow ford" — the water of that arm of the sea being of a
yellowish colour. It is also remarkable that Tindath-ivy, the name of the
territory adjacent to Port-aetli-inj, is pure Irish ; for tyn, in Welsh, signifies
" a country or territory," as tain does in Irish : so that originally the name
was Tain-allt-hhuidhe, meaning "the territory of the yellow ford."

Even the name of the very capital of Britain, as used in the time of
the Romans (who added the termination "um" to it) w^as mere Irish; for,
long [lung] is still the only word in common use in Irish to signify " a
ship," as dm or dion has been used to express " a place of safety or pro-
tection" : so that Loncjdin or Longdion, which the Romans changed to
Londinum (now " London"), literally means " a place of safety for ships."
It is also worthy of remark that the name of the river on which London
is built was plain Irish. Csesar calls it his, which is only latinizing the
Irish word Isc (" water)," which was the Gaelic name of that river before
the Romans invaded Britain ; and whether the word Tam was always
prefixed to isc or isis, either as an epithet, or as being the name of the
river *• Tanae," which joins its water, in either case the Irish word Tamil,
which signifies " still" (or quiet, gentle, smooth), was a natural epithet
for the river " Thames," as well as being a very significant name for the
river " Tame," on account of the stillness of its water.

According to the ancient Irish historians, and to Nenius, the Briton, the
Gaelic colony which came to Ireland from Spain, and brought a mixture of
the old Spanish or Cantabrian into the Irish language, was called the
"Milesian or Scotic Nation." They were also called ''Scots." That
Milesian colony never inhabited Britain before their arrival in Ireland, but
came directly by sea to this country ; whence, after a long process of time,
the Irish Monarch Cormac Mac Art in the third century established a
colony, then known as Dalriada, in the north-west coast of Great Britain,

* Cottages : The ancient Irish had four sorts of habitations, viz, — 1. Caithir, a city
(the Welsh ceitir); 2. Baile, a town (Lat. villa), called Bade mor, if a large town;
'6. Dun, a strong or fortified habitation ; 4. Bruighean, a palace, a royal residence, a
grand house or building. Bruighean is like the Prain of the Welsh, which means a
King's court; they also call it Priv-lys (" primh-lios" : Irish, a chief fort), meaning a
principal residence. The Irish word "brug" or "brog" is the root of Bruighean, here
mentioned ; and is the same in meaning as the German, Gaulish, and Spanish bruigaf
hriga, ^nd broga. The Thracian 6r/a (ace. briau) signified a town or habitation ; and
the Irish bruighean is pronounced " bruian," the same as the Thracian hrian — both
words having the same signification.

Strabo observes that the Phryges were formerly called Bryges, or as the Greeks
wrote it, Bruges (Irish, Brugein), and were of the Thracian kind : " Phryges antiquitns
Bryges Thracum genus;" which goes to prove that the Phrygians, Thracians, and
the ancient Irish dwelt in houses and in cities, and were thus distinguished from the

CHAP, l] the creation. 27

and, in the fifth century of the Christian era, another Irish colony went
there under the command of Fergus .Mor MacEarca, the founder of the
Scottish Monarchy in North Britain.*

The Gaehc-Irish bears a striking affinity not only to the old British in
its dififerent dialects, the AVelsh and Armoric, besides the old Spanish or
Cantabrian language preserved in Navarre and the Basque provinces, but
also to the Greek, the Latin, the Hebrew, the Phoenician, the Chaldee, the
Syriac, the Arabic, etc. Instances of this affinity are given throughout
this Work. Dr. O'Brien shows that the Lingua Prisca of the Aborigines
of Italy (from which the Latin of the twelve tables, and afterwards the
Eoman language, were derived) could have been nothing else than a
dialect of the primitive Celtic ;t and I venture the opinion that, if
Philologists investigate the matter, they will find that the Aborigines of
America and of the Polynesian Islands speak dialects of the ancient
Celtic !

The Problem—'' What was the language of our First Parents" — has
long been a disputed question. Some say it was the Pelasgian, which was
another name for the Japhetic ; and some say that the Japhetic was the
Scythian, which was another name for the Celtic or Gaelic.

In a Scottish Gaelic poem by Allister MacDonald, in reference to the
Gaelic language, the following jocose passage occurs :

" Si labhar Adhamh a b-pairthas fan,
S'ba snasmhar Gaelig a n-beul aluin Eabha,"

which may be interpreted :

" The expressive Gaelic language was that "which Adam spoke in Paradise, and
■which flowed from the lips of the fair Eve."

Or, divested of its adjectives, the passage may be reduced to the following
proposition :


Let us seriously examine this proposition. Of the Gaelic speech the
Very Rev. Canon Bourke writes :

" In its plastic power and phonetic fecundity Irish-Gaelic possesses like its prim-
itive Aryan parent tongue, not only the virtual but the formal germinal developments
of dialectic variety."

And Canon Bourke also says :

" The science of Comparative Philology has, without direct reference to revelation,
enabled men of literary research to discover the most convincing proofs, to show that
before the dispersion of the human family there existed a common language, admirable
in its raciness, in its vigour, its harmony, and the perfection of its forms." J

That common primeval language of Man, which some call by the name
" Aryan," I prefer to call the Scythian; for the following reasons :

Phceniusa Farsaidh (or Fenius Farsa ; see No. 14, on the " Lineal

* Britain : See No. 90 on " The Lineal Descent of the Royal Family of England."

^Celtic: For further valuable information on this subject, see Dr. O'Brien's
Irish Dictionary."

X Forms : See Boukke's Aryan Origin of the Gaelic Bace and Language. In the
same strain writes Adolphe Pictet, of Geneva, in his Lea Origines Indo-Europeennes^ ou
Its Aryas Primetife (Paris, 1859).


Descent of the Eoyal Family," Part I., c. iv.), son of Baoth, son of
Magog, son of Japhet, was, according to the Four Masters, the inventor
of Letters ; he was also the grandfather of Gaodhal, a quo the Gaels.
This Phoeniusa Farsaidh was king of Scythia, and was the ancestor of the
Phoenicians : after him the Scythian language was called the " Phoenician."
It is worthy of remark that Cadmus* the Phoenician, who is mentioned by
O'Flaherty in his Ogygia, as brother of Phoeniusa Farsaidh, was, according
to the ancient Irish annalists, contemporary with Joshua, and it is a
curious coincidence that the Alphabetf of the Gaels consisted of sixteen
letters — the very number of letters as in the Phoenician Alphabet, and the
very number brought by Cadmus to Greece, from Egypt, where the Gaels
were first located, and whence they made their first migration, namely —
that to the Island of Creta (now called Candia), in the Mediterranean

According to the Four Masters, the Scythian language was the Celtic ;
which, after Gaodhal [gael] who "refined and adorned it," was called
Gaodhilg or Gaelic.


The ancient Alphabet of the Gaels contained sixteen letters; the
Phoenician, sixteen ; the modern Gaelic, eighteen ; the Burmese, nineteen ;
the Italian, twenty; the Indians of Bengal, twenty-one; the Chaldee,
Hebrew, Latin, Samaritan, and Syriac, twenty-two each ; French, twenty-
three ; English, twenty-four (it has now twenty-six) ; Greek, twenty-four ;
Dutch and German, twenty-six ; Slavonic and Spanish, each twenty-
seven ; Arabic, twenty-eight ; Welsh, twenty-eight ; Persian, thirty-one ;
Coptic, thirty-two ; Turkish, thirty-three ; Georgian, thirty-six ; Armenian,
thirty-eight; Russian, forty-one; Muscovite, forty-three; Sanscrit and
Japanese, each, fifty; Ethiopic and Tartarian, each, two-hundred-and-
two ; the Chinese have, properly speaking, no Alphabet, except we call
their whole language by that name : their letters are words, or rather
hieroglyphics, amounting to about eighty thousand.

In the primitive Gaelic Alphabet H and P were not included.

The letters of the Gaelic Alphabet were named after shrubs and trees :
the name of the letter, in every instance, save that of the aspirate H,
begins with the letter itself ; to preserve, as it were, its proper sound or

* Cadmus : This name may be derived from the Irish Cadhmm [caw-mus], which
means " pride." Some persons, however, advance the opinion that there was no such
person as Cadmus ; while others maintain that there was such a man, for that he
founded a colony in Bcetia, and that the town of Cadmea, in that colony, was called
after him 1

t Alphabet : This circumstance regarding the Gaelic alphabet is the more remark-
able, as its whole natural and primitive stock of letters is but sixteen in number ; the
same as that of the first Roman or Latin alphabet which, according to Tacitus {Anal, ii)
and Pliny (Lib. 7, c. 56), Evander, the Arcadian, brought from Greece to the
Aborigines of Italy, and which was the original Phoenician set of letters communicated
by Cadmus to the Greeks. And yet our sixteen letters of the primitive Irish alphabet
■were sufficient for all the essential purposes of language ; each preserving its own
Bound or power, without usurping that of any other letter.-^See O'Brien's Irish


The sixteen letters of the ancient Gaelic Alphabet were arranged in
the following order : B L F S N D T C M G R, and A O U E I. The
H and P have since been added ; so that the modern Gaelic Alphabet
consists of eighteen letters, arranged as follows : ABCDEFGHIL
M N P E S T U.

Beginning with A, the names of the letters of the modern Gaelic
Alphabet are : Ailm, which means the fig or palm tree ; Beith, the birch
tree ; Coll^ the hazel tree j Dair^ the oak tree ; Eadha, the aspen tree ;
Fearn, an alder tree ; Gort, the ivy ; (H) Uath (the name of the aspirate h),
the white thorn ; loga, the yew tree ; Luis, the wild ash ; Muin, the vine
tree ; Nuin, the ash tree ; OITj the broom tree ; Peith, the dwarf elder ;
Euis, the bore tree ; Suil, the willow tree ; Teine, the furze or whin bush ;
UVf the heath shrub.

There is no K in the Gaelic Alphabet, ancient or modern ; nor had
the ancient Latins any character like that letter : they gave the sound of
K to C, as in the word sacra (pronounced " sakra"), where the c has the
sound of the English letter L The Latin name Ccesar is now in English
pronounced "Seasar" (where c has the sound of s); in German, however,
it is pronounced " Kaiser ;" but in no case can 0, in Gaelic, be sounded
like S. Nor have the Greeks the letter C in their Alphabet ; but K (the
Greek letter " kappa") corresponds to the Gaelic and Latin 0, which has
or should have the sound of the English letter K.

Baoth, son of Magog, son of Japhet, was contemporary with Nimrod,
of whom, according to an ancient Irish poem, it is said :

One was at first the language of mankind,
Till haughty Nimrod, with presumption blind,
Proud Babel built ; then, with confusion struck,
Seventy-two different tongues the workmen spoke.

That one language was the language of Mankind down from Adam to the
building of the Tower of Babel, when (Genesis xi. 1) " the whole earth
was of one language and of one speech."

Upon the division of the Earth by Noah amongst his sons, Shem,
Ham, and Japhet ; and by Japhet of his part thereof amongst his sons,
Scythia came to Baoth's lot. Thus in Scythia, in Central Asia, far from
the scene of Babel, the "Valley of Shinar" — the Magh Senaar of the
ancient Irish annalists, Baoth and his people, we are told, took no part
with those of Shem and Ham in the building of the Tower of Babel ; and
that hence the lasting vitality of the Celtic language !

If Baoth and his people took no part in the building of the Tower of
Babel, it may be affirmed that they did not on that head incur the dis-
Dleasure of the Lord ; and, that, therefore, their language was not confused.
But the language of Baoth and his people was the Scythian : ergo, the
Scythian language was not confused. If, then, the Scythian language
fvas not confused ; and that one was the language of mankind, from Adam
lown to the building of the Tower of Babel, " when the whole earth was
)f one language and of one speech," it would follow that the Scythian was
:hat one language — was, in fact, the language of Eden. But it has been


above shown that the Scythian language was the Celtic : therefore, it may-
be affirmed that " The Celtic was the language of Eden."

Some persons consider that, because the Hebrew* was the language of
the Jews, who were the chosen people of God, it therefore was the language
of our First Parents ; but, if the ancient Gaelic Alphabet had only sixteen
letters, while the Hebrew had twenty- two, it would appear that, of the
two languages, the Gaelic is the more primitive — is in fact more ancient
than any of the languages above enumerated, save the Phoenician, with
which it was identical !


After the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel, Phoeniusa
Farsaidh, king of Scythia, and the inventor of Letters, as above mentioned,
employed learned men to go among the dispersed multitude to learn their
several languages ; who, when those men returned well-skilled in what
they went for, opened a " school" in the Valley of Shinar, near the city of
-i^othena, where, with his younger son Niul, he remained teaching for
twenty years. On account of Niul's great reputation for learning, Pharaoh
invited him into Egypt ; gave him the land of Campus Cyrunt, near the
Red Sea, to inhabit ; and his daughter Scota in marriage.


The ancient Irish historians tell us that the river " Nile" was so called
after this Niul ; and that Scota, his wife, was the daughter of Pharaoh,
who (Exodus ii. 5) rescued the infant Moses from drowning in the Nile :
hence, it is said, the great interest which Niul and Scota took in the
welfare and education of Moses ; the affection which Moses entertained
for them and their sou Gaodhal ; and the friendship which long after-
wards existed between the Feine and the Israelites in the land of Promise.
Such was the intimacy between Moses and Niul, that, we are told, Moses
invited him to go on board one of Pharaoh's ships on the Eed Sea, to
witness the miracle (Exodus xiv. 16, 17, 18) to be performed by the
Great I AM, the God of the Israelites, in their deliverance from Egyptian
bondage ; but, on account of his being the son-in-law of Pharaoh, iSTiul,
while sympathising with the Israelites in their great affliction, asked
Moses to excuse him for declining the invitation. Then Moses held Niul

* Hebrew : The Druidic Irish had Hebraic customs to a great extent : for
instance — the Druidic judges were of a priestly caste, and wore each a collar of gold.
Buxtorf states that this collar was called lodhan Morain ; and "lodhan Morain" is
Chaldee for Urim and Thummim (see Exodus, xxviii. 30). Whether it was the Gaels
who borrowed that INIosaic badge from the Israelites, or that it was the Israelites who
borrowed it from the Gaels, we cannot say ; but lodhan Morain is also Gaelic, and as such
is said to be so called after a celebrated Irish Brehon who lived in the first century of
the Christian era. (See " Brehon Families," in the Appendix.)

As showing an afBnity between the Irish and the Hebrew languages, it may be
remarked that the Irish pronoun se signifies *' he," "him," and that the Hebrew pro-
noun se also means "he," " him ;" that the Irish pronoun so, which means "this" or
*'that," is like the Hebrew so, which has the same meaning ; and that the Irish pronoun
isi, always expressed to signify "a female," is analogous to the Hebrew ^s(^, which
means "a woman." — See Buxtorf's Hebreio Lexicon.


The Egyptians were the most learned nation on the face of the earth ;
and the Bible tells us that Moses was instructed in all the learning of Egypt.
It does not however appear that, before the time of Moses, the Egyptians
had any knowledge of Alphabetical writing. If, then, it was the Celtic
Alphabet which Cadmus the Phoenician brought from Egypt into Greece,
we may infer that the Celtic language and Alphabet were at that time
known in Egypt ; and that it was in the school conducted by Niul and his
father in the Valley of Shinar, or from Niul and his colony in Egypt, that
the Egyptians received their knowledge of Letters, and probably much of
the knowledge for which ancient Egypt was so renowned" But, wherever
the rein6 (or Phoenicians) and the Egyptians received their education, it
was they who had the honour of instructing, civilizing, and polishing the
Grecians, by the colonies they sent among them : the Phoenicians taught
them navigation, writing, and commerce ; the Egyptians, by the know-
ledge of their laws and polity, gave them a taste for the arts and sciences,
and initiated them into their mysteries.

For three successive generations the descendants of the Fein6, who,
under the chieftaincy of Niul here mentioned, settled in Egypt, possessed
and inhabited the territory near the Eed Sea which was granted to him
and his people by Pharaoh, Because, however, of the sympathy which
Niul and his colony had manifested for Moses and the Israelites in
bondage, the Egyptians forced Sruth, son of Asruth, son of Gaodhal, son
of the said Niul, to leave Egypt, himself and his colony ; when, after some
traverses at sea, Sruth and the surviving portion of his people (who were
known as Phoend or FeinS, as well as Gaels, ) reached the island of Greta,
where he died. We learn that some of Sruth's colony remained in Greta;
some of them migrated thence to Getulia, in the North of Africa, where
Carthage* was afterwards built ; and some of them sailed towards the
Land of Canaan, where on the island of Sor, off its coast, they founded
the city of " Tyre :" this colony of the Gaels was called Tyrians. Grateful
for the sympathy which their forefathers in Egypt had experienced from
Niul and his people, the Israelites, after they had been some time settled
in the Land of Promise, allotted to the Tyrians that tract of country on
the north-west of Palestine, which had been inhabited by the Canaanites ;
and that territory was, from the name '•Phcen6," called Fhoenice and,
more lately, Phoenicia,

* Carthage : This name is derived througli the Latin Cartha-go, from the Phoen.,

ijChald. and Syr. KartJia, " a walled city ;" which word "Kartha" seems to be derived

Jby metathesis from the genitive case cathrach, of the Irish cathair [cawhir], "a city."

ij|rhe Irish Maol Carthach means the hero or king of the city ; and Mel Kartha

[meaning the King of the city) was the title of the Phoenician Hercules — the reputed

founder of Tyre. Mel Kartha is evidently derived from the Irish or Celtic Maol

"Jarthach. The simame MacCarthy is derived from Carthach, who is No. 107 on the

' MacCarthy M6r" Pedigree; and, judging from the meaning of the name, we are

nclined to think that the said Carthach was the founder of the citt/ of Cashel, which

.vas formerly the royal seat of the Kingdom of South Munster— Compare cathair with

he British kaer ; the Scythian car; the ancient Saxon caerten; the Goth, gards ;

he Cantabr. caria ; the Breton her ; the Heb. kariah or kiriah and karth ; the Syr.

;aW-ii^a ; and the Gr. karak. Compare also the Phoen., Chald., and Syr. kartha, the

^unic Cartha, the Heb. kyria, and Pers. car — each of which means a waUed city ; the

leb. chaderj a city, and hjr, a wall.



As the Phoene while in Egypt were familiar with the motives which
actuated the Egyptians in building their Pillar-Towers along the Nile
(similar to those in Babylon and other Eastern nations), it is considered
that, from the same motives, the Phoenician leaders who settled in Ireland
in those early times, did there erect those mysterious " Eound Towers,"
concerning the origin of which there have been so many conflicting
opinions ; for, at. that early period in the world's history, a colony of the
Feine, who are represented as good navigators, a race of giants, and
" great builders in stone," discovered and settled in Ireland.


At this stage it may be well to give for the reader's information the follow-
ing Irish proper names and adfixes : —

Aodh [ee], anglicised Hugh, was one of the most frequent names of
Kings and Chiefs among the Irish ; the word signifies fire, the Vesta of
the Pagan Irish, and was probably derived from the religious worship of