« السابقةمتابعة »
THE - DUBLIN PENNY JOURNAL CONDUCTED BY P. DIX ON HARDY, M.R.I.A. . voy. – July 4, 1833. No. 18.
- - -
x- After his death, which happened in the year 1202, the CATHEDRAL OF ST. CANICE, KILKENNY. wo proceeded with o: throngh the inadeThe Cathedral of St. Canice, Kilkenny, is not of more quacy of the funds set aside for that purpose; and it was ancient date than the twelfth century, its foundations be. not until after the succession of seven prelates, that the ing laid in the year, 1180, by Felix O'Dullany, Bishop of last hand was put to it by Bishop St. Leger, in the year Ossory, (Ware's Bishops of Ireland, page 403.) A part | 12so. Richard Ledred was the next prelate that paid of the edifice was finished some time after, and the whole considerable attention to this Cathedral. He repaired consecrated o this prelate about the year 1200. The and beautified the entire, new-modelled and glazed all the i. of the church completed at that period appears to windows, particularly the grand eastern one, which he ave been the choir, or eastern end, as the round-headed filled with beautiful stained glass, (afterwards demolished Saxon windows on each side of it sufficiently prove by the sacrilegious hands of Cromwell's soldiers) leaving, * ca. 2 V.-No. 1. l
however, the north and south windows of the choir in their original style of architecture, (the Saxon,) as they still appear, David Hackett, who was Bishop of Ossory about two hundred years after Ledred, built the arch of the steeple, so remarkable for its strength and beauty. He died in 1478. Oliver Cantwell, a Dominican, who succeeded to this see ten years after, considerably promoted the interests of the Cathedral. He also obtained letters patent from Henry VII. confirming the ancient grant of a weekly market to the Irishtown. He died A. D. 1526, and was buried in the monastery of his order, the Black Abbey. John Parry was Bishop of Ossory in the year 1672. At his own expense he furnished the steeple with a chime of six bells. It does not appear, however, that Parry took any steps towards repairing the dilapidations the church suffered in the time of Cromwell. And it was not until after the succession of ten bishops, that Doctor Pococke, who was promoted to the see in 1756, undertook to restore the cathedral in some measure to its ancient splendour. He repaired the entire edifice; the tombs and monuments of antiquity, that lay scattered and defaced, he had . repaired, and set up again in order; and he new modelled and elegantly finished the choir. The curious eye of Pococke discovered a portion of the stained glass that once filled the grand eastern window, and placed it over the west door. The stained glass of this window appeared so precious in the o of Remuscini, the Pope's nuncio, (A. D. 1641.) that he offered Bishop Roth and the chapter €700 for it, a great sum in those days; which offer, however tempting, much to their honour, they refused. . . . From the time of Bishop Pococke until the year 1795, the Cathedral remained in the same state; at which time the dean and chapter obtained the advance of a sum of money, that enabled them to put an entire new roof on the great western isle, then almost decayed, and to execute some other necessary and essential repairs. The transepts have since been new-roofed by the present dean and chapter, to whom great praise is due for the excellent repair in which they keep this venerable pile. This church is a large Gothic pile, built in the form of a cross. Its length from east to west is 226 feet, and the breadth of the cross or transepts, from north to south, 123 feet. It has two lateral aisles, and a centre one, which to the eye produce a fine effect. The tower is low and broad, about 37 feet square ; it is sustained by four massy columns, and its floor is supported by groins, springing from the columns as from a single point, spreading out in many strings or beads, until they all meet in the centre, forming a very strong and beautiful arch. The roof of the nave is supported by, four pillars, and two demipillars, on each side, upon which are formed five elegant arches; composing an entire scarcely to be surpassed in lightness and chastity of design, by any building of the kind in Ireland. The west window contributes also to this effect. There are four principal doors—one on the west, the exterior of which is a very fine specimen of
Gothic architecture, two on the north, and one on the
south. In the aisle there are several tombs of the Butler family, particularly that of Peter Butler, Earl of Ormond, and his wife, Margaret Fitzgerald, bearing the date 1559. Also the tomb of John Grace, Baron of Courtstown, dated 1568. In the north transept is the parish church, and formerly St. Mary's chapel, which is now occupied by the stairs leading to the gallery. The choir has nothing remarkable, except its fine organ. At the distance of six and a half feet from the end wall of the southern transept, stands one of those round towers so common in Ireland; it is in a good state of preservation, its height is 108 feet, and its circumference at the base 47 feet. The entrance facing the south, narrow and inconvenient, is eight feet from the ground; and there still remain, firmly imbedded in the large stones that form the doorway, the remains of two strong iron hinges, very much eaten away by rust. Exclusive of this opening, there are five small apertures, rising obliquely round the wall, at regular distances, from the entrance to the upper extremity of the pillar, in which are six openings of the same kind, cach opposite to the other; and the circum
ference at top is exactly filled up by an arch, which to the eye beneath presents the appearance of a large millstone; on the margin of this a small hole has recently appeared, the effect of time. The column is surrounded by a low battlement, which seems to have been the finishing origimally intended for the head. The wall at the entrance is three feet six inches in thickness; and there are six offsets from the bottom to the top, equidistant, and completely circular, each being from four to five inches in depth—so that the thickness at top is between twelve and eighteen inches. In the upper part some corbels appear, probably intended for scaffolding, for the purpose of turning the arch forming the cover. The apertures at the top do not correspond with the four cardinal points, but seem principally intended to give free passage to the wind, which, thus meeting with little resistance, becomes less dangerous to the edifice at such a point of elevation.
MOORE'S HISTORY OF IRELANI)."
The appearance of Mr. Moore's IIistory of Ireland was naturally looked for with much interest, excited as well by the celebrity of the writer, as by a curiosity to learn how a subject so difficult, and which had baffled the learning and genius of so many, might be treated by an author, in some respects so well qualified for the task. The nature of one of Mr. Moore's earliest and most popular works, the Irish Melodies—a collection of songs adapted to the old Irish music, and illustrative of the most curious of the superstitions of our ancestors, and the most memorable of their historical traditions—must have demanded much industrious research into the annals and antiquities of Ireland. With knowledge of his subject thus early acquired—inspired by an ardent attachment to the glory of his native country—gifted with a poetical genius of so high an order, (which, in an inquirer into the ancient traditions of a people, we think desirable, if it follow, and be not suffered to guide, the judgment – Mr. Moore entered on his labours with advantages which few can hope to equal. One volume of his work, (which is to extend to three,) has been published; and though, while it is only partially before us, we cannot form a judgment as to the manner in which he will have executed the task, we can readily enter into the consideration of the difficulties which beset the examiner into Irish history, and estimate how far Mr. Moore has overcome these difficulties in the portion of his book now presented to us.
The present volume contains an account of the affairs of Ireland from the earliest period to the eighth century; but little space is occupied by what is properly the history of that king interval, the greater part being devoted to various dissertations on the origin of the Irish people, and their numerous colonizations—on their civilization in those distant times—their manners and customs; and to an account of the numerous learned men, who, in the dark ages of European history, poured forth from Ireland to diffuse over the Continent the knowledge and wisdom of that era, of which this lone western isle was then the chief retreat. To us, the most interesting part of the volume are those chapters in which we are afforded an insight into the domestic state of Ireland in those remote centuries—into the habits and character of her people, and her early civilization, more advanced than in the rest of western Europe. But from the light of authentic history, but few and scattered rays pierce through the long dark vista of ages extending back to the period of Ireland's ancient renown. The same paucity of memorials,
the same absence of authority, render his narration of
historical facts brief and obscure. ...And this brings us to what we consider to be the great difficulty in the way of
* The Cabinet Cyclopedia, conducted by the Rev. Dionysius Lardner, LL.D. History—Ireland. By Thomas Moore, i.sq. Vol. I. London: Longman, Rees, Orne, Brown, Green, and Longman; and John Taylor.
+ The knowledge of Irish history hitherto possessed by the mass of society, has been just so much as may be gleaned from the allusions in the Melodies, or the scanty illustrations in the noteS.
the Irish historia a difficulty insurmountable by the exertions of any individual, and which can be overcome only by the well-directed energies of numbers, employed for years. The scarcity of accredited material, the want of accessible authorities, are, we think, the real obstacles to the obtaining that long-sought desideratum, a faithful and accurate history of Ireland. At present, so few, and so difficult of approach, are the sources whence the inquirer into these subjects must derive his knowledge of the former annals of his country—and so contradictory are they, as well in the statement of fact as in their views of the general state of the island—that the historian, unprovided with the means of deciding between their clashing testimony, either refuses credit to both, or yields implicit confidence to the one, totally despising the evidence of the other. In fact, all who have treated of Irish antiquities hitherto, have ranged themselves into two opposing parties—the one obstinately asserting the claims of ancient Ireland to all the glory, and to the almost antediluvian antiquity, which the bards would arrogate to her; while the other, as dogmatically denying her right to any share of her former fame, endeavour to prove that she was involved in the darkness of unmitigated barbarism, until the preaching of Christianity, or the invasion of the English—for there are many grades of belief on both sides. Mr. Moore, however, with keener sagacity, adopts a middle course, and attempts to show, as well as his scanty authorities will allow him, that, when divested of the exaggera. tion of poetic license, of national jealousy, or of party spirit, (from which, by the way, Mr. Moore himself is by no means free,) the conflicting accounts of these authors may not be so inconsistent with each other, or with the actual state of Ireland, as has been generally supposed. But, as he is unable to support his views, which we consider decidedly the most rational of any yet brought forward, by sufficient authority, this volume becomes rather a series of suggestions, adapted to reconcile opposing testimony, than a narrative of authenticated historical events. These circumstances, which would of themselves deprive this work of the character of a complete and standard History of Ireland, will, in like manner, render futile any similar attempt, until, the deficiencies we have pointed out be supplied—until the bardic and historic records of Ireland, which now uselessly encumber the cabinets of many public and private libraries throughout the United Kingdom, be examined and published under the care of competent editors. We are confident, and it is the general belief, that many manuscripts, calculated to throw light on the ob. scure annals of ancient Ireland, may be found, though now unknown and unvalued, in the Libraries of Trinity College, of the Royal Irish Academy, as well as in many private collections in this country; and in the British Museum, at Stowe, &c. in the sister kingdom. Until these secret receptacles of knowledge be broken up and opened to the world, it will be equally vain to expect, or to attempt a trustworthy Histor or. Mr. Moore's work, though it will not supply this great want, will confer, at least, this benefit on his country, that the celebrity of the author, and the charms of his style, cannot fail to draw the attention of many to the subject, and to spread the knowledge of its history—to be ignorant of which was hither to considered to be fashionable. The book is illustrated with copious notes, referring to the authorities on which the text is founded: it is written in a smooth and graceful style, not without vigour; and on the whole, will, we think, confirm the author's extended fame. We have already observed, that Mr. Moore's view of ancient Irish history appears to us a most reasonable hypothesis. Rejecting the fables of the bards, our author follows the more trustworthy annals, which, it is believed, were compiled from the royal records preserved in the alace of Tara. The most authentic of the annalists, Tigernach, dates the commencement of certain history from the reign of Kimbaoth, who is supposed to have flourished about two hundred years before our era, but * T here is at present in course of publication, at the expense of Government, a series of documents of great value and interest to Irish history; but relating to a much later period than that
whom Mr. Moore conceives to have lived at a much later period; yet notwithstanding the evidence of this high authority, the bards, and their modern followers, hesitate not gravely to narrate the annals of Ireland, and to give lists of her kings from an epoch which they place one thousand years before Christ. Mr. Moore is of opinion, that the prime error in the accounts of the bards and seamachies, or antiquaries, is the distortion of the dates, while the facts they mention may be in general relied on. In their zeal to establish for the celebrated Milesian colony an overstrained antiquity, they have transferred the period of the coming of that people to a most distant era, while it still holds its place in the succession of events—thus dislocating the entire course of Irish history, and thereby bringing suspicion and discredit even on authenticated facts, by throwing them back to a time utterly beyond the reach of all record. The argument by which he exposes the improbability of the pretended antiquity of the Scotic settlement—an argument, to our mind, of great force— is prefaced by the following paragraph, which—save the paltry ebullition of party feeling, wholly unworthy the historian—exhibits a favourable example of the style and spirit in which the work is composed : *** “It is a task ungracious and painful, more especially to one accustomed from his early days to regard, through a poetic medium, the ancient fortunes of his country, to be obliged, at the stern call of historical truth, not only to surrender his own illusions on the subject, but to undertake also the invidious task of dispelling the dreams of others who have not the same imperative motives of duty or responsibility for disenchanting themselves of so agreeable an error. That the popular belief in this national tale should so long have been cherished and persevered in can hardly be a subject of much wonder. So consolatory to the pride of a people for ever struggling against t fatality of their position has been the fondly joi epoch of those old Milesian days, when, as they believe, the glory of arts and arms, and all the blessings of civilization came in the train of their heroic ancestors from the coasts of Spain, that hitherto none but the habitual revilers and depreciators of Ireland, the base scribes of a dominant party and sect, have ever thought of calling in question the authenticity of a legend to which a whole nation had long clung with retrospective pride, and which substituting, as it does, a mere phantom of glory for true historical fame, has served them so mournfully in place of real independence and greatness. Even in our own times, all the most intelligent of those writers who have treated of ancient Ireland, have each, in turn, adopted the tale of the Milesian colonization, and lent all the aid of their learning and talent to elevate it into history. But, even in their hands, the attempt has proved an utter failure; nor could any effort, indeed, of ingenuity succeed in reconciling the improbabilities of a story, which in no other point of view differs from the fictitious origins o for their respective countries by Hunibald, Suffridus, Geoffrey Monmouth, and others, than in having been somewhat more ingeniously put together by its inventors, and far more fondly persevered in by the imaginative people, whose love of high ancestry it flatters, and whose wounded pride it consoles.” The Scots, it seems to our author, were a people ; the north of Europe; the traditions that they came from Spain he refers to the Phenician voyagers, who, ages before, carried on a commercial intercourse between Ireland and the coast of Gallicia. The first inhabitants of this island are supposed to have migrated from Spain; and to these Celts the tradition may relate also. It would ; vain for us to enter into the arguments with which he supports his views: those curious in such researches we refer to the volume itself. It is our intention now merely to point out some of the most remarkable passages f th book. In a subsequent article we may give a sket of the state of civilization to which Ireland had attaine in those distant ages, as evinced by the progress she had made in the useful arts, as well as by the constitution of society in general; and which appears to be laid before us, as amply as the circumstances would permit, in Mr. Moore's very interesting chapters on theiq
of which we are now Peaking.
Perhaps the most deeply interesting tradition in the obscurity of ancient Irish history, is that well-assured belief of the commercial intercourse between this country and the Mediterranean, conducted by the Phenician mariners, at a period when the rest of western Europe was sunk in barbarism, unknown and unvisited by those nations who were then the most powerful and enlightened. In the most prosperous days of Carthage, about the fifth century before our era, two expeditions were fitted out for maritime discovery. One, commanded by Hanno, sailed southwards, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope, performed the celebrated “Periplus,” which has excited so much controversy amongst the learned. The other, under Himilco, steering northwards by the coast of Spain, from thence stretched across the Estrumnides, or Tin Isles, (the Scilly Isles,) two days' sail from which is the “larger Sacred Isle, inhabited by the Hiberni; and in the neighbourhood of the latter the island of the Albiones extends.”
“In this short but circumstantial sketch, the features of Ireland are brought into view far more prominently than those of Britain. After a description of the hidecovered boats, or currachs, in which the inhabitants of those islands navigated their seas, the populousness of the isle of the Hiberni, and the turfy nature of its soil, are commemorated. But the remarkable fact contained in this record—itself of such antiquity—is, that Ireland was then, and had been from ancient times, designated “The Sacred Island.’ This reference of the date of her early renown, to times so remote as to be in Himilco's days ancient, carries the imagination, it must be owned, far back into the depths of the past, yet hardly further than the steps of history will be found to accompany its flight.”
#om the records of this expedition, preserved in a tem. ple at Carthage, Festus Avienus obtained the materials of this description of Ireland for his Latin poem “De Oris Maritimis,” written in the fourth century. Ireland, it is supposed, derived her title of the “Sacred Island,” from the fact of her having become “the chosen depository of the Phenician worship in these seas.” This superstition consisted in the adoration of the Sun, and of the elements; and Mr. Moore conceives, that for the celebration of the rites of this worship the Round Towers were erected. From the discussion of the identity of the Sacred Island, as described in ancient authors, we transcribe the following passages:
“But the fragment of antiquity the most valuable for the light it throws upon this point, is that extracted from an ancient geographer, by Strabo, in which we are told of an island near Britain, where sacrifices were offered to Ceres and Proserpine, in the same manner as at Samothrace. From time immemorial, the small isle of Samothrace, in the AEgean, was a favourite seat of idolatrous worship and resort; and on its shores the Cabiric Mysteries had been established by the Phoenicians. These rites were dedicated to the deities who presided over navigation; and it was usual for mariners to stop at this island on their way to distant seas, and offer up a prayer at its shrines for o: winds and skies. From the words of the geographer quoted by Strabo, combined with all the other evidence adduced, it may be inferred that Ireland had become the Samothrace, as it were, of the western seas; that thither the ancient Cabiric gods had been wasted by the early colonisers of that region; and that, as the mariner used on his departure from the Mediterranean to breathe a prayer in the Sacred Island of the East, so in the seas beyond the Pillars, he found another Sacred Island, where to the same tutelary deities of the deep his vows and thanks were offered on his safe arrival.
“In addition to all this confluence of evidence from high authentic sources, we have likewise the traditions of Ireland herself—pointing invariably in the same eastern direction,-her monuments, the names of her promontories and hills, her old usages and rites, all bearing indelibly the same oriental stamp. In speaking of traditions, I mean not the fables which may in later times have been grafted upon them; but those old, popular remembrances, transmitted from age to age, which, in all countries, furmish a track for the first footsteps of history, when cleared
of those idle weeds of fiction by which in time they become overgrown.” A large portion of this volume is occupied by an account of the numerous learned men, who from the fifth to the eighth century spread abroad the faine of Irish genius. The career of St. Patrick is given at some length. The character of John Scotus Erigena, of whom a brief notice was given in the 8th number of the Journal. is summed up in the following words: “In addition to the honour derived to his country from the immense European reputation which he acquired, he appears to have been, in the whole assemblage of his qualities, intellectual and social, a perfect representative of the genuine Irish character, in all its various and versatile combinations. Combining humour and imagination with powers of shrewd and deep reasoning—the sparkle upon the surface as well as the mine beneath—he yet lavished both these gifts imprudently, exhibiting on all subjects almost every power but that of discretion. His life, in its social relations, seems to have been marked by the same characteristic anomalies; for while the simplicity of his mind and manner, and the festive play of his wit, endeared him to private friends, the daring heterodoxy of his written opinions alarmed and alienated the public, and rendered him at least as much feared as admired.” Among the most renowned of these ancient doctors, Mr. Moore's account of whom is very interesting and satisfactory, were Columba, the Apostle of the Highlands; Columbanus, the founder of the Monastery of Bobbio, in Italy; and Virgilius, who asserted the sphericity of the earth, and the existence of antipodes—a notion which shocked the orthodox divines of those ignorant days, and had nearly brought him into unpleasant collision with the pope; who, however, according to Mr. Moore, was satisfied with Virgil's explanation, and afterwards made him Bishop of Saltzburg. But our space will not permit us to notice further, at present, the many eminent Irishmen who, it appears, were almost the only beacons of learning to Europe, during that dreary period of the stagnation of intellect.
THE ADVANTAGES OF MEMORY.
It has been justly remarked by Lord Bacon, that a good memory is to the actions of the mind, what animal vigour is to the movements of the body. Just as the limbs move with more elasticity and gracefulness when all the muscles are in healthful tone, so the intellectual movements are more lively and agile, when the memory is strong and retentive. This is a truth which every day's experience will serve to attest; it cannot be o: that men possessing good memories, (though their mental powers in other respects be but moderate,) excel, at least in the public professions of life, others who have the reflective powers much more strongly developed. To the public speaker a good memory is absolutely indispensable : by it he is enabled to retain in mind the various arguments of his oppoment, as well as his own arrangement in reply. Some persons exceed others in conversational talent, which arises mostly from a good memory, faithfully retaining what they have read, and being able to use it on occasion. Locke calls memory the storehouse of our ideas, and remarks, that invention and quickness of parts, which is commonly called genius, are the results of a good memory, or the being able immediately to call up those ideas which the mind has before received. It is hard to say on what peculiar mental organization this power of the mind depends; some suppose that it is a natural gift not to be attained by human exertion; others, on the contrary, maintain that it is only dependant upon other actions of the mind, which it is in our power to increase or relax—for instance, that a person giving earnest attention to a subject (which is a mere matter of volition) will find his memory good as relates to that subject. It is more than probable, that truth lies between the two; and that though a good memory depends in some degree upon the natural power of the ź. yet that it can be much aided by exertion upon our part. Locke seems to be of this, opinion, when he says that attention and repetition are helps to the memory.