60. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (7)

J.M.J.

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Hello to you, Friend! Nannie here!

There is a great story to be told about the part the Irish people have played in the history of the Family of Man. One author who has done a stupendous work in helping with mind expansion in this regard is Thomas Cahill.  His work, How the Irish Saved Civilization, wonderfully approaches “the untold story of Ireland’s heroic role from the fall of Rome to the rise of Medieval Europe.” The back cover of Mr. Cahill’s book presents a quote from Thomas Keneally who wrote Schindler’s List, “A shamelessly engaging, effortlessly scholarly, utterly refreshing history of the origins of the Irish soul and its huge contribution to Western culture.” The back cover of Mr. Cahill’s book continues to tell us of the “dark ages”, when “learning, scholarship, and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilization…would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of the unconquered Ireland.”

It is not really widely understood that though Rome was known to have conquered the world, Rome never really bothered with Ireland. That has helped Ireland to remain free of a great deal of the effect of Roman domination that has altered many histories and many cultures.

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Mr. Cahill brings us to the “island of saints and scholars,” the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells [a ninth century gospel manuscript which is actually housed in the Trinity College Library in Dublin (www.tcd.ie)]. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West’s written treasury. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilization, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western culture.”

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I am grateful to, and cheer for Mr. Cahill for effecting such an invaluable resource to be available to all! For those of us who treasure our Irish heritage, Mr. Cahill’s book can help us add to our thinking a depth of understanding that is both enriching and applicable to verbal occasions that call for information, about our Irish culture, that we may never have even begun to realize!   Thank you, Mr. Cahill!

God has allowed Ireland and her people to have a place in history that is truly unique and mystical. Bishop Ed Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany, New York, says, “the Irish have mysticism in their DNA!” How fun is that, and I couldn’t have worded my own thinking any better than that! Thank you, Bishop Ed!

A website which seems to have fun Irish info is http://www.discoveringireland.com.  In an article, “Ireland, Land of Saint and Scholars,” we read, “Christianity first came to Ireland between the 3rd and 5th centuries and while much of Europe was plunging into the Dark Ages, Ireland provided a beacon of light.”

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A reputation of “spirituality,” however, is nothing unfamiliar to Ireland. Even some of the Roman writers referred to Ireland as “Insula Sacra”, or the Sacred Isle (Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters; and, The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation by John O’Hart).  A 19th Century writer, Thomas Davis, in writing about “Ancient Ireland,” speaks of Ireland being “remarkable for piety.”                                                                     (www.libraryireland.com)

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The pictures above of the Churchyard and the Church were taken in the Dingle area of southwestern Ireland.

One of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, Inis Mór, is the place where “St. Enda’s monastery was the school where many Irish abbots served their apprenticeship.” ( Moody and Martin’s The Course of Irish History )

Also there is “the Churchyard where anciently were one hundred and twenty graves of saints, in one of which St. Enda was buried…” (Monasticon Hibernicum, A History of the Abbeys, Priories, and other Regligious Houses in Ireland)

 

St. Enda's Churchyard on Inis Mor of the Aran Islands
St. Enda’s Churchyard on Inis Mor of the Aran Islands

Margaret Anne Cusack’s An Illustrated History of Ireland tells us that one of the first houses of the Dominican Order in Ireland was founded by John Netterville (Archbishop of Armagh), in 1224. It was the Dominican Convent of St. Mary Madgalene. “Richard II and Henry IV were great benefactors to this house…The Dominicans had also houses at Waterford, Cork, Mullingar, Athenry, Cashel, Tralee, Sligo, Roscommon, and, in fact, in nearly all the principal towns in the country.”

Alfred Webb’s A Compendium of Irish Biography (1878) tells us that Maurice Fitzgerald, the 2nd Baron of Offaly, introduced into Ireland the order of the Dominicans in 1216, which was even before the death of St. Dominic in 1221.  Mr. Webb goes on to tell us that Mr. Fitzgerald also founded the Dominican Abbey at Sligo in 1236.

The presence of the Dominican Order in Ireland is a wonderful continuance of the spiritual fabric of the island nation’s culture. It seems that the Irish people were somewhat ready to embrace the spiritual truths that St. Patrick brought…the Redemption of the world through the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as handed by the pure line of the St. Peter, the first Pope, and all his successors. The Dominicans continue to spread this Good News! Finney’s Fr. Bede is simply doing what he has dedicated his life to, as a Dominican Priest.

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God bless you and thank you for stopping by to visit Finney and me!

2 thoughts on “60. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (7)

  1. Yes! I am so glad you have found some value to these references! Thank you for saying so! For anyone who’s interested in Irish history and folklore, I find libraryireland.com is like a treasure hunt! So many wonderful things to discover (Monasticon Hibernicum, Annals of the Four Masters, Cusack, O’Hart, Webb, Davis, Joyce, Bonwick, and so much more!)…written in a fashion that seems to find a place in your mind where it dances to a tune you feel like you have heard somewhere before! Most unusual…like a shade being pulled up in a dark room…And, of course, the Moody and Martin history…Thomas Cahill’s amazin’ work, discoveringireland.com, and, of course, Seumas MacManus, Michael Dames, the O’Kellys…Kevin O’Hara’s adventure…all so fun. Just to mention another wonderful help…talkirish.com gives great assistance in learning pronunciation of Irish words. I have learned so much from all these wonderful places that I’ve mentioned as well as many, many more…so fun to share!

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