|Source:||Early Irish History and Antiquities and the History of West Cork | 1916 | W. O'Halloran|
The earliest method of disposing of the dead was by simple interment, and this was common throughout Europe to close of the Stone Age. The body was laid in a recumbent, sitting, or standing position. In the case of a chief or warrior, the latter was the usual method. He was clad in full apparel, with his ornaments and weapons. Eoghan Bel, King of Connaught, ordered that his grave should be dug in his own rath, and his body buried with his red spear in his hand, and his face to the north. He and the Ultonians were always at war, and this disposition of the body had such an effect on the latter, causing them great terror, that they caused the remains to be exhumed. Man's belief in a spiritual existence was the cause of respect for the dead, and it is supposed primitive races were prompted to build cairns and mounds in order to prevent the return of the spirit to the earth.
The dead were believed to require servants, food, raiment, and a home such as they had in this life. The Celtic tribes believed that the spirit of their dead chief would keep watch and ward over them. Caesar tells us that the Gauls burned some of the servants, slaves, and favourite animals of the dead chief or warrior on celebrating their funeral rites.
During the Bronze Age, cremation and inhumation were practised. Cremation was probably confined to the chiefs, heroes, and other important personages. Urns containing incinerated remains have been found in most parts of Ireland. It would seem that cremation was introduced by a new conception of the relation of the soul to the body. According to the new view the soul could not go to spirit land until the body had been destroyed by burning. The spirit haunted its old habitation until the body was destroyed, and only then departed to the world of shades.
|Previous:||Irish Stone Circles|
|Contents:||Early Irish History and Antiquities and the History of West Cork|
Read The History of West Cork at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.
Enjoy this book on just about any device of your choice. Full hyperlinked contents and index have been included to make navigation easy, and the experience pleasurable.
The ebook is available in .mobi (for Kindle), .epub (for iBooks, etc.), and .pdf formats. See details ».
Charlotte Milligan Fox, sister of the poet Alice Milligan, was a founding member of the Irish Folk Song Society and an indefatigable field collector of Irish traditional music. Her singularly important work on Irish haprers is here presented for the twenty-first century reader. This edition of Annals offers a much greater number of illustrations than were included in the original 1911 publication, a full biographical introduction, an extensive bibliography of the writings of Milligan Fox and an appendix discussing the variant texts of Arthur O’Neills Memoirs.
Join our mailing list to receive updates on new content on Library, our latest ebooks, and more.
You won't be inundated with emails! — we'll just keep you posted periodically — about once a monthish — on what's happening with the library.