Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book of Mulling

The Book of Mulling, (Circa 650AD) is preserved along with its jewelled shrine in Dublin at Trinity College Library. It is an Irish pocket Gospel Book that was probably copied from an autograph manuscript of St. Moling. The text includes th
e four Gospels, a service which includes the "Apostles' Creed", and a plan of St. Moling's monastery. The script is a fine Irish minuscule. The decoration includes illuminated initials and three surviving Evangelist portraits: those of Matthew, Mark and John (depicted f. 193).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brian Boru Harp

Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument as its national symbol. The harp and has been used since medieval times. The current design is based on the 'Brian Boru harp' of the 14th Century, which can be found in the museum of Trinity Colleges in the heart of Dublin.

Music from the harp accompanied all manner of entertainment and ceremony. Harps and music played on harps can be found in descriptions of nearly all medieval gatherings, from festivals and royal banquets to wakes and ale houses. Early sources consistently mention three strains of music a skilled harper must be able to perform. The three are consistently described as ones that bring about sleep, laughter, and tears. The harp was clearly the most likely instrument at any gathering or assemblage. As a result of this the harpist was often permanently employed, by anyone who might afford one. There is likewise evidence for professional itinerant players. Professional musicians seemed to have enjoyed a fairly lucrative and in some cases celebrated career. A particularly skilled player might have attained the propitious status of king’s musician, travelling and boarding with the king as part of his retinue.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 'English' Invasion of Ireland in 1169?

In the town of Leighlinbridge Co. Carlow on March 6th 1305 a riot erupted after a dog was killed by a servingman of the Bishop of Ossory. Below is a list of those who appeared in court charged with attacking and wounding the Bishops men.

Thomas le Chapman, and Will, son of Geoffrey Cachepol, Ricard son of Jordan le Fisshere, Edmund du Vaal, Roger le Lange, John son of Henry, Walter de la Barre, John de Weston, Adam le Maceoun, Will. Penlyn, Will. Fyntenan, Stephen le Maceoun, Ric. le Tayllour, John le Crokere, Adam Gregori, Roger the smith, Nich le Soutere, Walter Traharne, David le Crokere, Peter de la Barre, Thomas son of William, David Robyn, John Southeuan, Gregory le Flemyng, Adam le Crokere, Will le Waleys, Adam le Tannere, John le Graunt, Oliver Deyncourt, Peter le Chapman, Will. Alayn, Adam Baret, Ric. Clement, Will, le Graunt, Ric. le Chapman, Geoffrey son of Ric. le Fysshere, and Ric. son of Thomas Chapman.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Entertainment in Medieval Ireland

Medieval Ireland features a wide variety of entertainment, professional entertainers, and performers. Most prominent is an array of performing fools. Several early Irish terms exist for these performers. Foremost as a performing fool was the druth. The term is related to the term druid, although the two figures are distinct. The druth offered various kinds of entertainment, most prominently physical and vocal antics best associated with the medieval jester. Impersonating and mocking the congenital fool, also known as druth, was also featured. Several descriptions of the druth include comments suggesting the performing fool was indeed mentally deficient. The professional druth is often described in colourful motley clothing, with long shaggy hair. This semblance was clearly an important part of his trade. According to several Law Tracts, damage to his clothing or hair demanded compensation. A common figure of the saga texts, the druth is most closely associated with royal and other high-ranking members of society. A professional fool was often part of a retinue, receiving both payment and protection from his patron.