Friday, January 14, 2011



The Irish tribes fell so easily into the 1600-1700 AD explotation of the plantation system and during these centures lost track of the old gaelic distribution of land understanding even though they practiced it among themselves till the Famine totaly displaced the law, the land, and the language.

Under the old tuat system each tribe had a definate district of territory and these tribes were divided into septs, clanns ,and fine [family].
Each of these divisions were settled in a particular place-a stead or homestead-or, as the early Americans liked to discribe it, the homeplace.

These tribes all had a tribal leader or chief called the Taoi [taea] and this chief of the tribe was given mensal lands for life as long as he was chief.

He was usually of a princely house ,a derbfine [dearb feine{himself affirms}], and a flait or prince, who could also own private lands or inherit private lands from his family, [the curam, clann, muinter] or could receive lands as payment for his professional services which he could distribute to his decendants.

These privately owned lands were rented out to tenants who paid rent in kind not cash held a 7 year term lease and these tenants could sub lease these holdings.

Frequently land was held by a feine [himself], the family of one man for several generations paying out as rent 1 animal out of every 7 to the Taoi do tuat[Taea do tot], or 1 part of every 7 plants on tillage.

A Feine [Fane] was a client or rent payer.

A Ceile [cale] a tenant farmer meaning together or a spouse or helper.

A Saor Ceile was a free farmer meaning free ,easy ,cheap and a craftsman;
sort of cheap craftsman about the place. A sidekick.
The Saor was a free farmer and needed no security to occupy a land holding but owed days of service to the chief.

A Daer Ceile was bound tenant and needed security to hold land .
This is cattel or livestock which was obtained from his tribal chief and rental paid to the taoi either in service or some return.

These cattle rental from the tuath were often obtained by the chief and his clients, septs, clanns, and fines, on Prey of a neighbor Tuath to obtain confiscated herds to rent to the Daer Ceile to obtain land use territory within the tribe.
The cattle were hence scattered about the territory and had to be found by the raided party who came with his men to recover the lost herd.

A system often used in the old wild west of the US by cattle rustlers who dispersed the herd as quicklly as possible and the system of branding cattle was the only means of identifing a stolden cow to which the north American Cattle rustlers quickly adopted the changed branding techniques whereby a whole herd of say 'Circle C' branded cattle were quickly rebranded 'Circle O' and a nice wooden plaque hung over the drive way to the ranch as the 'Cirle O Ranch'*.

These cattle being put out to the open range provided by the US government and mingled with herds of 'Circle O' cattle.
The preyed herd thus being lost to the benefit of the orignal owners entirely.
Cattle rusTlers were subsequently hung if caught and the only way to catch them was 'hot pursuit' before they could secret the stolden herds.
This required the entier bunk house of ranch hands, the US Marshall or elected territorial sheriff, and sworne to uphold the law Posse.

In Ireland the preyed party immediatly went in' hot persuit' of his cattle with his clanns and septs and clients to return his cows or sheep before they were dispersed in the new onwners teritory.

All the septs,clanns, clients. and fine, all the Ceiles and
Feines owed military service to the tribe and when the Chief called for any of his purposes they were bound to respond.
A military draft as it were.,

The entire tribe was bound as well, to care for all children and the old of the tribe.
Therfore ,there were no child protective services or nursing homes.

Each individual, helpless or abused within the tribe ,was taken care of by his fine , his clann, his sept or his chief.

The Daer Ceile were required to render War service and work service when required.
They were the oglach and the laborer and were additionally required to pay rent twice a year as well as provide accomidation for the chief or king and his household for a month.

All the land belonged to the tuat, the tribe,the people;
folklands [volk in german] and were used freely by members of a sept.

Waste lands and bog lands, rivers and lakes, were held in common and these were the free tribes of Ireland.

Foreign people were often allowed to stay on tribal lands. These being from other countres or other tribal areas of the island.

These were serfs who had come to the tribal chief and given protection or succor and were allowed to remain as tenants at will on tribal lands.
This usually from infighting in family of other tribes,
Fratracide and Patricide, Famine or other disasters in their own territories.
Or perhaps Phoneican traders or British princes who had been ostrasized from their own lands.

Tribal lands were frequently redistributed within a sept or clann by gavelkind and only males were allowed a stead.

Ligitimacy or illigitimacy played no roll in this distribution and illigitimate children would be given the same land consideration as the household children of the feine Himself.

This system was activated every 3 or 4 years and thus homelessness was never a problme in the tribal system.
Every person of a tuath, feine or clann, or spet got a plot of tribal land for his stead.,
This system was outlawed by James Stuart I in 1603-4 when James abolished gavelkind and imposed English law making tribal lands decend to the oldest male heir of a ligitimate family ,leaving the rest of the family out in the cold, or restricted to common waste and bogland, or removed to the western congested Lands to Hell or Connacht.

The tuath taoi was entilted to a meansail[ middle dirt] land useage during his life time and this was taken fmor a 1/5 part of tribal lands.
When Tuathal Teamair returned from Scotland in 79AD to claim his rightful heritage he was accepted by the Irish tribes as the rightful ruler and given 1/5th from each of the 4 provinces as his Menasal estate, this being Mide or Meath.
Tuathal requred that this provision be extended to his decendants as long as they retained the Ri chiftanship and they did so for 600 years this being the O Neill Clann

679 AD 679AD
432 AD Patrick came
147 years

Approximately the reign of Aod Ua Iruednach and Maoil Duin 147 years after the conversion to christain faith made by St Patrick, were the last high kings of the Ua Neill after them of Teamrach.

These men being the decendants of Tuathal, the Reachmair, Con Ced Cat of 100 battles, Art and his son Corbmac mac Airt, Cairbre Liffecair, Straibane, Muiredac Tirec ,and Muig Meadoin, his son ,father of 5 sons, Niall Noigialach his youngest, taking the Ard Ri ship in 379AD.

His death in France in 405AD 26 years king of Ireland.
A warrior and a ruler bringing us to the era of christianity and modern medieval Ireland.

The land system of tribal control lasted with Ri's and upsets and internicene feuds for power between the princes of the fuedal era and the distruction of the monastery system, till it was finally driven out of existance- much to the demise of the islands independence- not so much by English system as by the English injustice and haughtiness, of its penal laws, religeous affilation ,degredation of the language and native culture as to their past ;
Of famine,death and the usurpation on the island of the old client system into the new foreign lordships where con acre, the potato, the cabin and the client still held sway in the folklands and was only disbanded by death at the workhouse and emmigration to the new world and the coffin ships and the great promise of americay;
and from the quarter lands, the cantred , the barony, and the ranch and the homestead of 160 acres.

*the land system of the tuath was based on the quarter.
A quarter is 1/4 of a total and a quarter of land is 640 acres.

A quarter is a Welsh cantred of 100 villages and a cantred of the normans is a barony and a barony is a parish and the parish is a county.

100 villages divided into 640 acres gives us 600 acres with 40 acres and and mule left over.
The castle and the monastery lands = the 40 acres.
The rest being 100 acres for each village with its ruler castle
lands= 640 acres, a Cantred.

This system also applied to the monastery lands, termin lands of the monasterys.

Thus the Barony applied by the English to the Norman holdings, and the crown of Henry 2 giving out title to the barony lands in Ireland which would be the norman castle surrounded by 40 acres for the lord and the 600 acres of outlands occupied by the villages.

This already in place by the monastery ,parish lands established by Patricks divisons,and previously in place by the tuath system of the whole quarters in Ireland.

The Province 1/4 of the whole, being subdivided into tuath or tribal lands, sept lands, clann lands, and family land holdings.

The average land holding in Ireland for a fine was 120 acres
[ a sesread{sash real estate}], where as in America it is 160 acres, a stead or homested .

160 acres is 1/4 of 640 acres, a quartersection; and the difference is again 40 acres and the mule ,or the back 40.
The quartersection of the whole.

The word Ranch* is the same setup as a plantation that being a section of land used for a single purpose either one crop or one animal.
Cattle ranch or plantation ,or cotton ranch or plantation.
It usually consists of several quarters.

4 quarters of land at 640 acres per quarter would equal 2,560 acres of land, the usual size of a working ranch or plantation or in todays world, an agra business holding growing corn or soy beans.
4 of these holdings would equal 10,240 acres.

Ireland holds some 2 million acres of land all divided by quarters and quarter sections.
2,500,00 of them further split into quarter sections of 120 acre homesteads.

This was the land division held sacred and very workable until the new modern fee simple grant with mortgage came into being with the modern states.

The old land titles being discarded for speculators, land grabbers, plots consolidated into estates and demesnes and still rented out and resold to the natives with bank loans they cannot afford to repay and the new system of individual sales also jeprodises the ownership of the island to outside investors and developers who can split up the cohesive communities and the fines and septs and clanns and resale this acquired land on a tiny ocean island for their own profit and purposes.

Can Ireland survive as a race or as a nation in this system?
I think not.

Judi Donnelly

copyright 12 Jan 2011

sourse: notes and thoughts

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