By P. W. Joyce
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Extra info for A social history of ancient Ireland
The people were to intellectual bright and intelligent and much entertainments and amusements. given They loved music and singing, and took delight in listening to poetry, history, and romantic stories, recited by professional poets and shanachies ; or, in the absence of by good non-professional storytellers, who were everywhere to be found among the peasantry. They were close observers of external nature, too, and had an these, intense admiration everywhere for natural beauty, a peculiarity reflected in their literature, as well as in their place-names.
And while, on the one hand, we know that the state of society in the time of the Anglo-Normans continued without extensive or violent changes to the sixteenth or seven- teenth century, we may be hand, though we have prove it, little pretty certain, on the other direct historical evidence to that the institutions and ways of life found in by the early missionaries were in most cases identical with those existing far back towards the beginning the country of the Christian Era, or before it. The ancient Irish were a branch of the continental and they brought with them the language, mythoCelts logy, and customs of their original home, all of which, however, became modified in course of ages after the But the main characteristics were maintained, separation.
Cleared land was exceedingly fertile, and was well watered with springs, streamlets, and rivers, not only among the mountainous districts, but all over the central plain. Pas- and evergreen, inviting flocks and There was more pasture than tillage, and the grass land was, for the most part, not fenced in, but was grazed in common. ture lands were luxuriant herds without limit. vSome of the pleasing features of the country have been well pictured by Denis Florence M'Carthy in his poem of " " The Bell Founder :— " O Erin !