(From the Dublin Penny Journal, Vol. 1, No. 5, July 28, 1832)
In the library of Trinity College, Dublin, there is preserved the fragment of an ancient Irish M S. which contains a description of the Banqueting Hall of Tamar or Tara, which is very curious. It states, "That the palace of Tamar was formerly the seat of Con, of the hundred battles; it was the seat of Art, and of Cairbre Liffeachar, and of Cathor Mor, and of every king who ruled in Tamar, to the time of Niall.
"In the reign of Cormac, the palace of Tamar was nine hundred feet square; the diameter of the surrounding rath, seven diu, or casts of a dart; it contained one hundred and fifty apartments, one hundred and fifty dormitories, or sleeping rooms for guards, and sixty men in each; the height was twenty-seven cubits; there were one hundred and fifty common drinking horns, twelve porches, twelve doors, and one thousand guests daily, besides princes, orators, and men of science, engravers of gold and silver, carvers, modellers, and nobles.
The eating hall had "twelve stalls, or divisions, in each wing, tables and passages round them; sixteen attendants on each side, eight to the astrologers, historians, and secretaries, in the rere of the hall, and two to each table at the door; one hundred guests in all; two oxen, two sheep, and two hogs, at each meal divided equally to each side."
The quantities of meat and butter that were daily consumed here, surpasses all description; there were twenty-seven kitchens, and nine cisterns for washing hands and feet, a ceremony not dispensed with from the highest to the lowest.
The harp that once through tara's halls
The soul of music shed, Now hangs as mute on tara's walls
As if that soul were fled. So sleeps the pride of former days,
So glory's thrill is o'er, And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
Now feel that pulse no more! No more to chiefs and ladies bright
The harp of tara swells; The chord, alone, that breaks at night, Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
The only throb she gives, Is when some heart indignant breaks,
To shew that still she lives.
Moore's Irish Melodies.
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.
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