Monday, February 7, 2011



The Reformation of the 1500s made a turning point in English/Irish relations.
England had set international polices to weld the islands into a strategic political and religious unit.

Its objectives were union with the north of their own island, Scotland, the conquest of Ireland ,the anglization of both and the extintion of the Roman Church.
These objectives were planned and executed by the statesmen of the courts of Henry 8 and his daugher Elizabeth 1.

Irelands poetry revealed its new enemy in the Puritan State, and when the program of Reformation in all social elements was implimented in the Dublin Parliament in 1541, a sinister and unwholesome future awaited the unsuspecting Irish.

Henry 8 had crushed the Geraldine rising and slaughtered them all at London Tower.
Than he summoned the Dublin Anglo Parliament and brought to heal the lords of Ireland.
The Parliament, for the first time in history, was conducted in Gaelic.

Henrys supremacy of church and state was proclaimed and his claim to be king of Ireland was ratified.

Thus by legal manipulation a new order was installed by the very lords of the land of Erinn establishing the king of England the ligitimate king of both Ireland, its religious and military existance and its political status.

The Dublin parliament had also secured title deeds to the land of the country.

The annonymous kinsman of the O Carroll decried the impending DOOM applied to the native gael;
of the galls shiring out their country;
chastized the mcCarthy, the seed of Brian, bound under Murrogh to the saxons king;
Great Brain of Eoch Muigmedon bending a knee in homage;
the hosts of Connacht;
Leinster under the thumb of saxon kings;
the O Neill of Aileach and Emain;
the kings of Tara and Tailten;
all fools submitting their kingdoms for Ulster Earldoms.
O Carroll of Birrs plain submitting doefully;
Manus O Donnell of Ballyshannon who never shirked striff or hardship failed in Ireland.
FaoBun! the Blade raw. FaoBun Fuibh!

The Axe had been laid to the tree` of Irish life by the tigerna surrender to Henrys autocratic authority.

The rest of the political plan to extrapolate the Gael is laid out in distainful dispise half century later by Edmund Spenser in 'Views of the State of Ireland' written in in 1590 which puts out the detailed plan of the Engish politic and solders who were ruling Ireland.

'To garrison every point with a strong power of men', 'to pursue that rebellious rout and loose people wandering in companies who do keep the woods'.

Spenser derides and demonises the Irish customs in full perversion and in minute spiteful detail.
Spenser hated and dispised the Irish freedom.
Its lack of fences and cattle herding ways.
He discibed the 'boolying 'from the native buile, which was a pastoral dairy to the native, where by the cattle were kept on common upland pastures in the summer months tended by the general people called the stocags who enjoyed a free wholesome life as they movoed about the mountain areas with stock, living on lite meat and milk, sleeping in the rough by a flaming peat turf fire and telling and listening to tales of the old Fianna unfettered by the law of supply and demand. Full of gaity and song.

The Bardic poems of the 1500s reflects the indifference in the old order to its coming ruin.

Teig Dall o Higgins who died in 1591, slain by the O Hara whom he had satarised.

Teig Dall was owner of considerable property and he was noted in the English state papers.
His poems of this era give no wiff of impending disaster to the Gaelic Way.

He wrote in his youth at 17 ,of Shane o Neills castle, dipicting it as saffron tinted amidst green topped hazel trees, white lathed and straight.
He wrote of the O Neill of the mac Donnells ,the Anglo Norman houses, of Brian O Rourke, To Mac William Burke,
discribing the land of Banba as Swordland.

In 1577 Turlough Lynagh gave a Christmas feis at Creeve his house on the Bann for the poets of Ireland.

a discription of O Neills cupbearers entertainment of the poets.

Turlough asked if the poets had brought him poems of his explioits and they answered NO.
They had brought him poems of his illustrious ancestors.

O Neill as wrathtful and refused to listen but ordered their rewards and than walked silent throught the emploring poets.
As realated by O Higgins of the day.
It was poem which became notorious.

Teig Dall wrote beautiful poems of the Maguire and Fernmanagh.
He discribes walled Enniskillen Castle among its blue hillocks, a picture of a stronghold of the old order.

Teig m Daire m Brody of Thomond of the orthodox Bardic school.

Red Bard Angus O Daly of the Satires was sent out to stimulate bad feeling and division amongh the old gaelic clans.
To turn one against the other.

O Daly was so verbose at his insults that he was finally stabbed by a steward of O Meagher in Tipperary.
His last utterence a spiteful verse.
He was a satarist equal to Bricriu Bitter Tongue of the Red Branch Cycle and Con Maol in the Fenian Cycle.

These poets were court poets full of praise for the powers that be and making poems and satire or religious dictates for hospitality.

The Patriotic Bards of the 1500s were Bards of the outlawed chieftans under whose protection patriotic refugees, Bards and scholars alike sot refuge in Wicklows hills and glens.
Elizabeths armys swept the land .
One such was Angus mac Daighre O Daly

God be with you the Irish host

compiled in the book of the OByrnes.

'Never did you earn shame in time of battle or warfare'

O Daly decried the disunion of the Gael.
vigoursis and skilful they could not come together as one and thus the Anglo and the foreigner were able to succeed.

To avenge Ireland the Gael was not to shun ardous deed but sleep breifly and watch alertly on the cold mountain bens.

The sentry on the hill prepared to swoope down upon the enemy seeking Comhlot from Ireland and free men.

ODaly thus flourished as an Irish Bard in the late years of the 1500s.

Fearghal Og Maccan Ward served for 40 years from 1567.
He was the poet who wrote
'alone woman may go unchallenged from Tory to Dundalk'.
Fearghall wrote at the Flight of the Earls.

'Eire Herself has gone westward
Placed on the deck of one bark
The warm shoreland has left us'.

He pleaded with Hugh O Neill to retrun from Rome to Ireland after his flight.
Fearhgal Himself broke the ancient mode of composing lying in a cell in a dark hut by day, but riding on horseback across the great mountains.

Fear Flatha O Gnive reproved him for this modern approach having himself written of the tragic Irish years of the 17th Century.

Published in the 'Measgra Danta' which compared the Irish under the new mercenarys as,

'the dregs of the battle field,
folk returning from a funeral,
hostages in the fetters of the foreigner'.

Gnive writes this poem


in which he prays for Irelands soul.

Eoch O Hosey, State Bard of the Maguires passionatly wrote of these troubed 1600s years after the coming of the plantations.

He celebrated the inaguration of Aed Hugh Magure, tigerna of Fernmanagh as a destined leader who would break Irelands bewitchment by spilling foreign blood.

He demands of Maguire a better farm for his security as provided by the old order as the farm appointed him by the Chief for his saftey ,as is his due as state Ollam, was at a point of meeting of Tir Conaill [ODonnell] and Tyrone [O Neill] and he recieves the same exemplifing the self confidence and place of equality the literary class held in the old gaelic Order.

His Honor price was of equal par with the prince and he had claim to the kings ear and the place next the ruler at table.

He demands vigilance from the Irish princes in his poems.
Not only for Her civilized demesnes but for Her wild places, Her moors and heights,the spills of her streams and dark tressed abysess of her woods as he expressed in a peom to O Rourke.

In 1593 an ode to Red Hugh O Donnell that


Rule in Irleand earns hatred.

The Irish recaptured EnisKillen from the English in 1595 and Maguire was restored to his capital of the Ilse of Ceithleann.

His dreaming ,the Tam ,of restoration by force did not comprehend the transmutation of Enniskillen that was at hand.

Hugh Magure rode with O Neill to Kinsale in the winter of 1600-1601, a severe year.'

Cold for Hugh I deem this night

As under downpours of feezing rain and swelling seas, the chief and his men finding no comfort against the frosts and the bleak harsh geoth winds passing through the soldiers camp bothies.

Hugh Maguire Himself the Feine, tigerna do Fermanagh was killed in a combat with captain Warham st Leger.
Both men died by each others hand which foreran the Battle of Kinsale.

Hugh Maguires death is mornfully recorded in volume 6 of Clearys Four Masters as being overtaken by a British reconasance force while out on a hunting expidition for game to feed his men and his fellow chieftains in the field.
He was considered a great ,generous and able man by all.

He was succeded in his place as keeper of his province by his brother
Cuchonnacht Maguire

Gnive compared Hugh Maguire to a fabled Pelican who resucsitated her dead, slain by serpents, by opening her own veins to give them new blood of life.

He too addressed O Neill at Rome to return to Erinn er EnisFail should perish and the citiens both the gael septs and the gall/gael [Norse/ Hibernians and Norman/Hibernians, old English] who by their disension and haughiness had acted to bring about Ireland ruin.

The unrully septs such as Clann Carty, Clan Colla of Leinster, Clan Eogan, Clan Conail, and the youth of Ireland who would trade their martial spirit for the privleges of Erinn , quafing goblets and a lowly mind;
and the desent of reamining aristocracy to aquire Irelands privleges and make sport their sole occupation ,as they do this day.

Miles mac a Ward, and chief Ollam to Red Hugh O Donnel wrote of the 1500 serious situation of submission and occupation in Ireland and the desire for these lords of Gaeldom to retore unity,
O Donnell to be 'a good surgeon to heal the malady witch is the foreigners.

Miles met his death in battle against the English. He was of the patriots hosts.

Red Hugh Og med fuad O Donnell in the campain of 1595 raised his own castles thoughout his teritories including his own castle at Donegal town to prevent it falling into the hands of the English garrisons.
Stripping his territories of resourses the English could use against his defence.

Mac An Ward bid goodby to this fair castle home.

'lest the castle should be dubed
'dun na nGall insted of A Duin n Gaoidheal'.

The smooth walls of the castle were pulverized by Aod Ruad og.

Own Roe mac nWard captured in verse the passage of Red Hugh in Spain after the failure of the Irish host at Kinsale and the death of the young active lord by poison.

Rory O Donnell ,younger brother of Hugh Ruad took over the host in Donegal but after his brother had died in Spain he surrendered.

In 1603 Rory made peace at Dublin and then went to London to be declared Earl of Tyrconnell.

The poets and the host reviled him for this move to the earldom.
Five years later Rory O Donnell died at Rome [1608]
and Owen Roe mac n Ward wrote a lament for him without any reproof.
He composed,

O Woman that has found opportunity at the tomb

remebering Rorys sister Nuala who had deserted her husband Niall Garve O Donnell when he sided with the English agaisnt Aed og o Donnell.

The two brothers Aed Ruad and a nefew lie entombed and the poem extolls the warriors of the battles they had fought.

Rorys 7 year old son Hugh O Donnell wrote to the old poet in 1613 to which Owen Roe mac An Ward in poetry replied to this child who had been taken out of Ireland at 1 year of age on the lone ship provided to the Earls at Raith Mullan , Donegal.
16 lines of Irish syllabic poety to which he decalared little Hugh a true roi damhna.

Owen Roe also writes a lament on the death of Nial Garve the traitor to the English, who had also betrayed Sir Cahir O Docherty of InishOwen, the last champion of the north.

Logan og o Daly of that period of plantation making wrote of


'Where have gone the Gaels'

'the opening green is crossed by girdles of twisting fences'.

The poem of the great transition writers are translated and edited by professor Thomas O Raghallalaig [Raallaly= Reilly] as the professional bards pass on to neglect.

copyright 7 February 2010

Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aod de Blacam , Barnes and Noble Books 1929, printed at Richview Press, Ireland

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