Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
III. The Coming of Gaeldom

adapted them to their existing Gaelic culture (see the discussion of the Christian Celtic church in the preceding chapter).

The differences between the two spheres of Christian influence, the one Celtic (monastic) and the other Roman (episcopalian), is perhaps best summed up by the old Gaelic proverb which simply states: "The Roman Church gave law, the Celtic Church gave love." A good example of these differences can also be found in the nature of the Gaelic conversion to Christianity. The Gaels saw Christianity as the natural outgrowth of their previously existing dawn religion. It was a new magic for the pagan, a sort of next stage toward a truer, fuller religious consciousness. It is significant in this connection that the land for St. Patrick’s church at Elphin in County Roscommon was originally donated for that purpose by the Archdruid Ona. The descendants of Ona, the Corca Achlan or Corca Seachlann, of the same stock as the Ciarraighe (see Chapter VIII), branched into several families. The main family here was that of MacBrannan (Mac Branain) or O’Brannan (0 Branain), a branch of whom, known as the Ui Branain, later the Maclnerneys or Nerneys (Mac an Airchinnigh, literally "son of the Erenagh"), were, interestingly enough, erenaghs (hereditary abbots) of St. Patrick’s church at Elphin. A family of O’Brannans served as Erenaghs of Derryvullan in County Fermanagh. Another branch of the Corca Seachlann, the Cineal Mac Erca or O’Monahans (0 Manachain) faked a descent from the Ui Briuin, and were called the Ui Briuin na Sionna.

Clerics took over many of the functions of the Druid order, although the lower druidic orders continued as the scholarly class (the bards and ollavs that maintained literature and learning), and both cooperated in running the schools. Outside the Gaelic sphere, Europeans had simply dumped their former religious convictions, at least officially, in favor of the new Roman Christianity. This expressed a severe lack of confidence in their own societal identity and lndo-European cultural roots, perpetuating centuries of withdrawal symptoms, leading ultimately to the Inquisition and the European witch craze at the end of the medieval period.

The differences between the two spheres of influence, the one European and the other Gaelic, were to be very important in determining the types of nationalism that would develop within their respective areas. While the Papacy was attempting to unite the realms of the fallen empire, and with good success, the Gaels were themselves consolidating that western fringe which had never been Roman. They largely assimilated the matrilineal P—Celts of Scotland, the Picts or Albans, and made inroads into Wales and Cornwall as well. All this was accomplished between the fifth and ninth centuries, and in Scotland the first Gaelic-speaking invaders, the Scots from Dal Riada in northeastern Ireland, firmly placed their Gaelic stamp, and eventually their name, on the new territory. The resultant Picto-Scottish Gaelic kingdom came in time to be known as the Kingdom of Scots rather than as the Kingdom of

Page 19


Page 21

[Page 20]



This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus