Clothes

Nice Medieval Clothes photos

by admin on August 2, 2012

A few nice medieval clothes images I found:

St Ruadhán’s Abbey (5)
medieval clothes

Image by Fergal of Claddagh
ST. RUADHÁN, (ROWAN or RODAN), ABBOT OF LORRAH, TIPPERARY.

Ruadhán is said to have been of noble extraction. However, it is not easy to discover the place of his birth or family residence. Ruadhán was son to Birrus, and he descended, from the noble family of Duach, surnamed Gaelach. He sprung from the posterity of Dubrugy. Ruadhán seems to have been born, about or after the beginning of the sixth century, and to have been a child of election from his mother’s womb. During his very infancy, he was entirely devoted to the love God. Through an inspiration of Divine Grace, he left his parents and went towards the territories of Niall’s posterity, or Meath, for the purpose of reading the Holy Scriptures, and of subjecting himself to ecclesiastical discipline. He studied for a long time, under St. Finnian, Bishop of Clonard. When thoroughly instructed in Sacred Scripture, and perfect in all devout practices, our saint, taking leave of his Master, went to the country of Muskerry. Here, he is said to have taken up his residence, with Mac Cunethin. In that locality, he remained, until an angel was sent from God, to announce that it should not be the place of his resurrection. Then, Ruadhán left that particular spot, and, he went to another, where a city existed, at the time his Acts were written. Affrighted on his arrival, a wild boar fled hastily from a hollow tree, at this spot. It is said, that there St. Ruadhán founded his city, probably at Lorrah, anciently called Lothra, within the present barony of Lower Ormond, in the county of Tipperary. The site of this monastery lies about three miles eastward from the River Shannon, and its position is yet very picturesque. A collection of venerable ruins yet remain, but bearing a comparatively modern date. The old Dominican Abbey ruins are the most picturesque, and they are situate within a cemetery, beside a small stream, which flows into the Friars’ Lough, a little below the village of Lorrah, and thence into the Shannon. High old woods and copse trees crown the rising grounds, on its left bank. Beside the Dominican church ruins, those of a medieval mill are to be found, and on the stream’s right bank, where they are seen, a deep cut through a rocky surface may be traced. Besides the foregoing interesting remains, there is a singular old mediaeval house, at Lorrah. Its walls are massive, and perforated with windows. One of its gables was surmounted by a belfry. It consisted of two stories, and it is now thickly covered with ivy, on the gables. In the graveyard surrounding it are the pedestal and broken shaft of a massive Irish cross. This spot seems to have been the original site for St. Ruadhan’s Monastery, and it possesses the advantage of situation, over that occupied by the old Dominican Abbey. It is generally supposed, that our saint founded his religious house, at Lorrah, somewhat near A.D. 550.

About the same time, St. Brendan Mac-Tualt had erected a residence for himself, not far from Ruadhán, and in a town, called Tulach-Brendin. Both of these establishments were so near, that the bells of either churches were heard, at one and the same station. Whereupon, Brendan said : "I and Ruadhán cannot dwell together ; and, therefore, I am resolved on leaving this place for him." Brendan then went forth, and he built Clonfert, and Ruadhán blessed him, saying, "Thy city shall not be less important than mine." When St. Ruadhán went out from the northern parts of Ireland, he wrought many wonders, and he acquired a large parish. He wished, likewise, to establish a residence for himself, in that quarter ; but, a certain man, on whose lands he desired to build, took him by the hand, and prevented him. It is stated, that the sea and the sea-shore covered the fields of this man, so that they were no longer habitable.

On a certain day, when St. Ruadhán came to a city, which was called Snam Luthir, in the territory of Carbry’s Race, it chanced, that the dead body of the king, who ruled over this district, was brought in a chariot, to that city. All his former subjects were bewailing his death. Ruadhán, compassionating them, prayed to the Lord, and the king was instantly restored to life. Afterwards, the ruler presented his city Luthir, and his subjects, for the future disposal of St Ruadhán.

On a certain day, when St. Ruadhán came to a place, called Roys-Enni, he found a great crowd of people there, and he asked for what purpose they had assembled. They answered, saying, " In this city, during a great mortality, the people’s substance had been buried in the earth but, we know not, in what particular place, that treasure was hidden." Then, Ruadhán went through the circuit of the city, which he blessed, and sounding his bell, he prayed. Immediately, the earth’s surface opened over that spot, where the people’s substance lay. Wherefore, the inhabitants of this place, giving thanks to God, presented their city and the neighbouring territory to St. Ruadhán.

After these occurrences, our saint proceeded from the north, to his sister Daroi. It would appear, she lived within the country of Ailell’s Race ; and, at a place called Senchue, he founded an establishment of some sort. Its site had been presented to him, by the people, in perpetual fee. The following legend seems to have reference to this place. At a certain time, a cook brought milk from a cattle-stall, into the city. For seven successive days, as he entered the town, the milk was spilled on the ground. At length, St. Ruadhán went to the city entrance, to learn the cause for these accidents. There he saw two Demons ; one of these was at the right, and the other at the left, in the suburbs. Those malignant spirits struck the vessels, in which the milk was contained, and from either side. These vessels fell broken on the ground, off the horse that bore them. It is said, that the Demons acted in this manner, because the cook was not hospitable to the monastic guests. Then, St. Ruadhán sent the Demons to the depths of the sea, so that they might not inflict more damage upon human beings.

A certain young man, belonging to Aradaib-Cliachu, wishing to study the art of medicine, entreated St. Ruadhán’s blessing, on his hands. Then, our saint blessed his hands and eyes, when immediately he became perfect, in every branch of the healing art.

At the same time, the Queen of King Kualain, within a certain territory, was afflicted with an incurable distemper; and, we are told, that fifty physicians were in attendance on her, without their being able to restore her to health. Abandoning all hope of receiving relief, at the hands of her medical advisers, the Queen committed herself to the power of God and of St. Ruadhán. The Angel of the Lord came to our saint, and told him, that Kualain’s wife should be restored through him, as the physicians knew not the nature of her complaint. Our saint appeared to the Queen, in a nocturnal vision, and he was surrounded with great light. Then, he said to her, "Fear not, you must be restored to health ; for, I shall send to you a youth, clothed in a particular habit, on an appointed day. He shall heal you from this infirmity. Leave, therefore, those physicians, who cannot heal you." Saying these words, our saint disappeared.

On another day, St. Ruadhán called the young man, whose hands he had blessed, and he then said : “Go to Kualain’s Queen, and heal her." Taking his brazen vessel, which was filled with water, Ruadhán blessed it. Following certain instructions, this young man departed, and he executed the orders of our saint. Soon the Queen’s health was restored. According to the desire of our saint, this young physician would receive no other fee for his services, except linen, belonging to King Kualain. For a length of time, and to commemorate such a miracle, this linen was suspended over the altar, at Lothra.

We are told, that on another occasion, a ship belonging to Brandan was submerged in the depths of a sea, called Livemnech, whilst a son of the King of Britain chanced to be sleeping, in the prow of his vessel. Whereupon, Brandan said to his own people : "Go to Ruadhán : for to him hath the Lord granted the elevation of our ship, from the deep, and the resuscitation of the King’s son, who has been drowned in it." The messengers went to St. Ruadhán. He then proceeded with them, and he prayed at the place, where that vessel had been lost immediately, the ship arose from the deep, and bearing the king’s son, who was alive and safe within it. He even appeared as if he were sleeping. The prince then said that during the time he was beneath the water, St. Ruadhán had placed a hood around his head, so as to save him from suffocation.

The number of St. Ruadhán’s religious is said to have been thrice fifty men. By the bounty of God, these were furnished with a miraculous kind of food, procured for them, without further labour on their part, but such as proceeded from their prayers and fastings. In the place where they dwelt grew a linden tree, which distilled a certain luscious sap into a vessel placed beneath it. With this miraculous liquor, the monks and the guests of the monastery were regaled, and it had the taste of wine. Each of those, who partook of it, tilled a cup with the liquor. They fed upon herbs, also, and they lived in a very simple manner. But, the chief saints of Ireland, it is related, felt jealous regarding such miracles. They murmured against Ruadhán, because their monks and alumni left them, and went to him. Wherefore, with these complaints, they visited St. Finnian, Bishop of Clonard. He accompanied them to Ruadhán, to entreat his abandonment of this idle style of living, lest he should furnish occasion for envy and murmuring to other saints. When St. Finnian entered the city of Ruadan, and when he saw the tree already mentioned, elevating his hand, he blessed it. Immediately the sap ceased to flow, so that, on the night succeeding, the liquor sufficed only for sustenance of the monastic family, and not for its guests. Thereupon, the cook, with the guests, preferred a complaint to St. Ruadhán. The latter said, "Pour out spring water for our guests, and it shall be changed into wine for them." When the cook went to draw water from the fountain, suddenly a fish of wonderful size issued through the rocky bottom of the well. This fish was set before the guests, and also the water, which had been turned into wine. They felt inebriated, by this latter beverage, and fell into a sleep. Then, the Irish saints besought Ruadhán, that he would place his monks on the same standing, with their own religious brethren. He humbly complied with their desires. St. Finnian then said to Ruadhán, and to his monks, "Do you plough and reap your fields. These shall produce fruitful crops forever, without further culture or manure." Afterwards, St. Finnian blessed St Ruadhán, his house and lands, and then retired in peace.

After the death of Tuathal Maelgarbh, Monarch of Ireland, who was slain at Greallach-Eillte, in the year of Christ 544 ; Diarmaid, son to Fearghus, who had been in exile, claimed his right to succeed him, on the throne. King Diarmaid established peace throughout all Ireland. About that period, the prefect of King Dermot, and his herald, whose name is said to have been Mac-Lomm, went towards the territory of Connaught, and into the country of the Mani race. But, instigated by the Devil, that herald entered into a fortress, belonging to a chief named Odo Guori, and having a spear placed across his mouth, so that thus the castle gates might be opened for him. Then, Odo-Guori, destroying his castle, afterwards killed the herald. Through fear of Diarmaid, Odo fled to Bishop Senach, in the territory of Muscraige, where he appears to have lived. We are informed, that the mother of Odo, and the mother of Bishop Senach, were two sisters. But, Bishop Senach brought Odo to St. Ruadhán for protection ; for, it so happened, that the two sisters of Ruadhán, named Kyell and Ruadanis, had fostered Senach himself. Afterwards, it seems, that Odo, had been brought into Britain, by St. Ruadhán. Yet, Diarmaid sent a message into Britain, which prevented Odo from dwelling there, and he was again sent back to St. Ruadhán. Then, he dwelt at a place, called Poll-Ruodan, in Ireland. There is no doubt that there was animosity and rivalry between Ruadhán and King Diarmaid, but the King had a healthy regard for the abbot. When one of the nobles fled from the King, he took refuge first with his relative Senan, but Senan passed on this cousin of his, who was called Odo, to Ruadhán, reckoning that he would give him greater protection. Ruadhán had a chamber or crypt beneath his oratory and concealed the fugitive there, placing a chair over the hatch. Dermot, arriving at the cell, seated himself on the chair and demanded where Odo was hidden. Ruadhán answered truthfully, "I cannot say, unless he is beneath your chair".

Later Ruadhán invoked a solemn curse against Diarmaid for violating the sanctuary of the monastery saying; Upon Tara’s green was a vast and wide-foliaged tree, and eleven slaves hewing at it; but every chip that they knocked from it would return into its place again and there adhere instantly, till at last there came one man that dealt the tree but a stroke, and with that single cut laid it low. Desolate be Tara forever and ever. It is said that the curse was so efficacious that Tara was ruined and deserted from the day of Ruadhán’s curse.

While himself and his community were at Dare-Enech, the son of Darane Dairimoir, sent to St. Ruadhan a great measure full of butter. And, when this measure on a particular morning had been placed upon two wild oxen, these animals passed through a bog, from Daire-moir. Through this bog they discovered a road, very firm and level, such as no person had seen there before, or since. That measure of butter served St. Ruadan and his 150 monks, from the beginning of spring, until the day of Pentecost, when it was found to have been yet full, having suffered no apparent diminution in quantity.

At a certain time, when Ruadan was in Araib, a sorrowing mother approached ; and, in tears, she besought him to raise her dead son to life. When the Abbot prayed, her boy was again restored.

In the territories of Lugdeck’s posterity, he raised another youth, from the dead ; for, when the boy was placed under St. Ruadhán’s chasuble, he immediately came to life.

Our saint similarly preserved a third boy’s life in Hi-Cuillin, within the territory of Heli; and, the place where this miracle was wrought, bore the name of Tulach Ruodan. We are told, moreover, this boy’s father presented him forever to St. Ruadhán, together with that field, in which he had been restored.

The Church of Ireland (Anglican) church at Lorrha is built on the site of St. Ruadhán’s monastery, and the stumps of two High Crosses are to be found in the church yard there. The Stowe Missal, with its fine shrine, now in the National Museum in Dublin used to be at this monastery, and St. Ruadhán’s Bell is in the British Museum in London. St. Ruadhán’s hand was preserved in a silver shrine at Lorrha until the great vandalism of the Reformation.

High Tower in Glendalough
medieval clothes

Image by Fergal of Claddagh
THE HISTORY OF IRELAND AS TOLD IN HER RUINS (first part)
A Lecture by Father Thomas N. Burke, O.P., delivered in the Cooper Institute, New York, on the 5th of April, 1872.

Before I approach the subject of this evening’s lecture, I have to apologize to you, in all earnestness, for appearing before you this evening in my habit. The reason why I put off my black cloth coat and put on this dress, the Dominican habit is, first of all, because I never feel at home in a black coat. When God called me, the only son of an Irish father and an Irish mother, from the home of the old people, and told me that it was His will that I should belong to Him in the sanctuary, the father and mother gave me up without a sigh, because they were Irish parents, and had the Irish faith and love for the Church in their hearts. And from the day I took this habit, from that day to this, I never felt at home in any other dress; and if I were to come before you this evening in black cloth, like a layman, and not like an Irish Dominican friar, I might, perhaps, break down in my lecture.

But there is another reason why I appear before you in this white habit; because I am come to speak to you of the ruins that cover the face of the old land; I am come to speak to you, and to tell you of the glory and the shame, and the joy and the sorrow, that these ruins so eloquently tell of; and when I look upon them, in spirit now, my mind sweeps over the intervening ocean, and I stand in imagination under the ivied and moss-covered arches of Athenry, or Sligo, or Clare-Galway, or Kilconnell. The view that rises before me of the former inmates of these holy places, is a vision of white-robed Dominicans and of brown Franciscans; and, therefore, in coming to speak to you in this garment, of the glorious history which they tell us, I feel more myself, more in consonance with the subject of which I have to speak, in appearing before you as the child and the representative, no matter how unworthy, of the Irish friars, the Irish priests and patriots who sleep in Irish graves to-night.

And now, my friends, the most precious, the grandest, inheritance of any people, is that people’s history. All that forms the national character of a people, their tone of thought, their devotion, their love, their sympathies, their antipathies, their language, all this is found in their history, as the effect is found in its cause, as the autumn speaks of the spring.’ And the philosopher who wishes to analyze a people’s character and to account for it, to account for the national desires, hopes, aspirations, for the strong sympathies or antipathies that sway a people, must go back to the deep recesses of their history; and there, in ages long gone by, will he find the seeds that produced the fruit that he attempts to account for. And he will find that the nation of today is but the child and the offspring of the nation of by-gone ages; for it is written truly, that “the child is father to the man.” When, therefore, we come to consider the desires of nations, we find that every people is most strongly desirous to preserve its history, even as every man is anxious to preserve the record of his life; for history is the record of a people’s life. Hence it is that, in the libraries of the more ancient nations we find the earliest histories of the primeval races of mankind, written upon the durable vellum, the imperishable asbestos, or sometimes deeply carved, in mystic and forgotten characters, on the granite stone or pictured rock, showing the desire of the people to preserve their history, which is to preserve the memory of them, just as the old man dying said, “Lord, keep my memory green! “

But, besides these more direct and documentary evidences, the history of every nation is enshrined in the national traditions, in the national music and song; much more, it is written in the public buildings that cover the face of the land. These, silent and in ruins, tell most eloquently their tale. Today “the stone may be crumbled, the wall decayed; “the clustering ivy may, perhaps, uphold the tottering ruin to which it clung in the days of its strength; The sorrows, the joys of which once they were part, Still round them, like visions of yesterday, throng.”
They are the voices of the past; they are the voices of ages long gone by. They rear their venerable and beautiful gray heads high over the land they adorn; and they tell us the tale of the glory or of the shame, of the strength or of the weakness, of the prosperity or of the adversity of the nation to which they belong. This is the volume which we are about to open; this is the voice which we are about to call forth from their gray and ivied ruins that cover the green bosom of Ireland; we are about to go back up the highways of history, and, as it were, to breast and to stem the stream of time, today, taking our start from the present hour in Ireland. What have we here? It is a stately church, rivalling, perhaps surpassing, in its glory the grandeur of by-gone times. We behold the solid buttresses, the massive wall, the high tower and the graceful spire piercing the clouds, and upholding, high towards heaven, the symbol of man’s redemption, the glorious sign of the cross. We see in the stone windows the massive tracery, so solid, so strong, and so delicate. What does this tell us? Here is this church, so grand, yet so fresh and new and clean from the mason’s hand. What does it tell us? It tells us of a race that has never decayed; it tells us of a people that have never lost neither their faith nor their love; it tells us of a nation as strong in its energy for every highest and holiest purpose, today, as it was in the ages that are past and gone forever.

We advance just half a century up the highway of time; and we come upon that which has been familiar, perhaps, to many amongst you, as well as to me, the plain, unpretending little chapel, in some by -lane of the town or city, or the plain and humble little chapel in some by-way in the country, with its thatched roof, its low ceiling, its earthen floor, its wooden altar. What does this tell us? It tells us of a people struggling against adversity; it tells us of a people making their first effort, after .three hundred years of blood, to build up a house, however humble, for their God; it tells us of a people who had not yet shaken off the traditions of their slavery, upon whose hands the chains still hang, and the wounds inflicted by those chains are still rankling; it tells us of a people who scarcely yet know how to engage in the glorious work of Church edification, because they scarcely yet realized the privilege that they were to be allowed to live in the land that bore them. Let us reverently bow down our heads and salute these ancient places, these ancient, humble little chapels, in town or country, where we, we men of middle age, made our first confession and received our first communion; let us salute these places, hallowed in our memories by the first, and therefore the strongest, the purest, holiest recollections and associations of our lives; and, pilgrims of’ history, let us turn into the dreary, solitary road that lies before us. It is a road of three hundred years of desolation and bloodshed; it is a road that leads through martyrs’ and patriots’ graves; it is a road that is wet with the tears and with the blood of a persecuted and down-trodden people; it is a road that is pointed out to us by the sign of the cross, the emblem of the nation’s faith, and by the site of the martyr’s grave, the emblem of the nation’s undying fidelity to God.

And now what venerable ruin is this which rises before our eyes, moss-crowned, embedded in clustering ivy? It is a church, for we see the mullions of the great east window of the sanctuary, through which once flowed, through angels and saints depicted thereon, the mellow sunshine that warmed up the arch above, and made mosaics upon the church and altar. It is a church of the Mediaeval Choral Orders, for I see the lancet windows, the choir where the religious were accustomed to chant, yet popular, and much frequented by the people, for I see, outside the choir, an ample space; the side-aisles are unencumbered, and the side-chapels with altars, the mind of the architect clearly intending an ample space for the people; yet it is not too large a church; for it is generally one that the preacher’s voice can easily fill. Outside of it runs the square of the ruined cloister, humble enough, yet most beautiful in its architecture. But now, church and cloister alike are filled with the graves, the homes, of the silent dead. Do I recall to the loving memory of any one amongst you, scenes that have been familiar to your eyes in the dear and the green old land? Are there not those amongst you, who have looked, with eyes softened by love, and by the sadness of the recollections recalled to the mind, under the chancel and the choir, under the ample space of nave and aisle of the old Abbey of Athenry, or in the old Abbey of Kilconnell, or such as these? What tale do these tell?

They tell of a nation that, although engaged in a hand-to-hand and desperate struggle for its national life, yet in the midst of its wars, was never unmindful of its God; they tell of Ireland when the clutch of the Saxon was upon her, when the sword was unsheathed that was never to know its scabbard from that day until this, and that never will, until the diadem of perfect freedom rests upon the virgin brow of Ireland.

They tell of the glorious days, when Ireland’s Church and Ireland’s Nationality joined hands; and when the priest and the people rose up to enter upon a glorious combat for freedom. These were the homes of the Franciscan and the Dominican friars, the men who, during three hundred years of their residence in Ireland, recalled, in these cloisters, the ancient glories of Lismore, and of Glendalough, and of Armagh; the men who, from the time they first raised these cloisters, never left the land, never abandoned the old soil, but lingered around their ancient homes of happiness, of sanctity, and of peace, and tried to-keep near the old walls, just as Magdalene lingered round the empty tomb, on Easter morning, at Jerusalem.

They tell of the sanctuaries, where the hunted head of the Irish patriot found refuge and a place of security; they tell the Irish historian of the national councils, formed for state purposes within them. These venerable walls, if they could speak, would tell us how the wavering were encouraged and strengthened, and the brave and gallant fired with the highest and noblest purpose, for God and Erin; how the traitor was detected, and the false-hearted denounced; and how the nation’s life-blood was kept warm, and her wounds were stanched, by the wise counsels of the old Franciscan and Dominican friars. All this, and more, would these walls tell, if they could speak; for they have witnessed all this. They witnessed it until the day came, the day of war, the sword, and blood that drove forth their saintly inmates from their loving shelter, and devoted themselves to desolation and decay.

Let us bow down, fellow-Irishmen, with reverence and with love, as we pass under the shadow of these ancient walls. And now stepping a few years, scarcely fifty years, further on, on the road of our history, passing, as we go along, under the frowning, dark feudal castles of the FitzGeralds, of the De Laceys, the De Courcys, the FitzAdams, and, I regret to say, the De Burgos, the castles that tell us always of the terror of the invaders of the land, hiding themselves in their strongholds, because they could not trust to the love of the people, who hated them; and because they were afraid to meet the people in the open field, passing under the frowning shadows of these castles.

Suddenly we stand amazed, crushed, as it were, to the earth, by the glories that rise before us, in the ruins of Mellifont, in the ruins of Dunbrody, in the awful ruins of Holy Cross and of Cashel, that we see yet uplifting, in solemn grandeur, their stately heads in ruined beauty over the land which they once adorned. There do we see the vestiges of the most magnificent architecture, some of the grandest buildings that ever yet were raised upon this earth for God or for man. There do we see the lofty side walls pierced with huge windows, filled with the most delicate tracery; there, when we enter in we throw our eyes aloft with wonder, and see the groined, massive arches of the ceiling upholding the mighty tower; there do we see the grandeur of the ancient Cistercians, and the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, and the Benedictines.

What tale do they tell us?
Oh, they tell us a glorious tale of our history and of our people.
These were the edifices that were built and founded in Ireland during the brief respite that the nation had, from the day that she drove the last Dane out, until the day that the first accursed Norman came. A short time, a brief period; too brief, alas, too brief! Ireland, exhausted after her three hundred years of Danish invasion, turned her first thoughts and her first energies to build up the ancient places that were ruined, to restore and to clothe the sanctuaries of her faith, with a splendour such as the nation had never seen before.

We will pass on. And now, a mountain-road lies before us. The land is filled again, for three centuries, with desolation and with bloodshed and with sorrow. The hillsides, on either. hand of our path, are strewn with the bodies of the slain; the valleys are filled with desolation and ruin; the air resounds to the ferocious battle-cry of the Dane, and to the brave battle-cry of the Celt, intermingled with the wailing of the widowed mother and the ravished maid; the air is filled with the crash and the shock of battle. In terrible onset, the lithe, active, mail-clad, fair-haired, blue-eyed warriors of the North meet the dark, stalwart Celt, and they close in mortal combat. Toiling along, pilgrims of history as we are, we come to the summit of Tara’s Hill, and there we look in vain for a vestige of Ireland’s ruins. But now, after these three hundred years of our backward journey over the highway of history, we breathe the upper air.

The sunshine of the eighth century, and of Ireland’s three centuries of Christianity, is upon our path. We breathe the purer air; we are amongst the mountains of God; and a sight the most glorious that nation ever presented opens itself before our eyes, the sight of Ireland’s first three centuries of the glorious faith of St . Patrick. Peace is upon the land. Schools rise upon every hill and in every valley. Every city is an immense school.

The air again is filled with the sound of many voices; for students from every clime under the sun, the German, the Pict, the Cumbrian, the Frank, the Italian, the Saxon, are all mingling together, conversing together in the universal language of the Church, Rome’s old Latin. They have come, and they have covered the land; they have come in thousands and in tens of thousands, to hear, from the lips of the world-renowned Irish saints, all the lore of ancient Greece and Rome, and to study in the lives of these saints the highest degree and noblest interpretation of Christian morality and Christian perfection.

Wise rulers governed the land; her heroes were moved to mighty acts; and these men, who came from every clime to the university of the world, to the great masters of the nations, go back to their respective countries and tell the glorious tale of Ireland’s strength and Ireland’s sanctity, of the purity of the Irish maidens, of the learning and the saintliness of the Irish priesthood; of the wisdom of her kings and rulers; of the sanctity of her people; until at length, from out the recesses of history, there comes, floating upon the breezes of time, the voice of an admiring world, that proclaims my native land, in that happy epoch, and gives to her the name of the island of heroes, of saints, and of sages.

Look up. In imagination we stand, now, upon the highest level of Ireland’s first Christianity. Above us, we behold the venerable hill-top of Tara; and beyond that, again, far away, and high up on the mountain, inaccessible by any known road of history, lies, amidst the gloom, the mysterious cloud that hangs around the cradle of every ancient race, looming forth from prehistoric obscurity; we behold the mighty Round Towers of Ireland:
The Pillar Towers of Ireland,
How wondrously they stand
By the rushing streams, in the silent glens,
And the valleys of the land,
In mystic file, throughout the isle,
They rear their heads sublime,
Those gray, old, pillar temples,
Those conquerors of time.

Now, having gone up to the cradle and fountain-head of our history, as told by its monuments and its ruins, we shall pause a little before we begin again our downward course. We shall pause for a few moments under the shadows of Ireland’s round towers.

There they stand, most perfect in their architecture; stone fitted into stone with the most artistic nicety and regularity; every stone bound to its bed by a cement as hard as the stone itself; a beautiful calculation of the weight which was to be put upon it, and the foundation which was to sustain it, has arrived at this, that, though thousands of years have passed over their hoary heads, there they stand, as firm today as on the day when they were first erected.

There they stand, in perfect form, in perfect perpendicular; and the student of art in the nineteenth century can find matter for admiration and for wonder in the evidence of Ireland’s civilization, speaking loudly and eloquently by the voice of her most ancient round towers. Who built them? You have seen them; they are all over the island.

The traveller sails up the placid bosom of the lovely Blackwater, and whilst he admires its varied beauties, and his very heart within him is ravished by its loveliness, he beholds, high above its green banks, amidst the ruins of ancient Lismore, a venerable round tower lifting its gray head into the air. As he goes on, passing, as in a dream of delight, now by the valleys and the hills of lovely Wicklow, he admires the weeping alders that hang over the stream in sweet Avoca; he admires the bold heights, throwing their outlines so sharp and clear against the sky, and clothed to their very summits with the sweet-smelling purple heather; he admires all this, until, at length, in a deep valley, in the very heart of the hills, he beholds, reflecting itself in the deep waters of still Glendalough, the venerable “round tower of other days.” Or he has taken his departure from the Island of Saints, and when his ship’s prow is turned toward the setting sun, he beholds upon the headlands of the iron-bound coast of Mayo or western Galway, the round tower of Ireland, the last thing the eye of the lover or traveller beholds.

Who built these towers, or for what purpose were they built?
There is no record of reply, although the question has been repeated, age after age, for thousands of years.
Who can tell?
They go so far back into the mists of history as to have the lead of all the known events in the history of our native land.
Some say that they are of Christian origin; others, again, say, with equal probability, and perhaps greater, that these venerable monuments are far more ancient than Ireland’s Catholicity; that they were the temples of a by-gone religion, and, perhaps, of a long-forgotten race. They may have been the temples of the ancient Fire Worshippers of Ireland; and the theory has been mooted, that in the time when our remotest forefathers worshipped the rising sun, the priest of the sun was accustomed to climb to the summit of the round tower, to turn his face to the east, and watch with anxiety the rising of the morning star, as it came up trembling in its silver beauty, above the eastern hills. Then, when the first rays of the sun illumined the valleys, he hailed its rising, and proclaimed to the people around him their duty of worship to the coming God.

This is the theory that would connect Ireland’s round towers with the most ancient form of religion, the false religion which truth dispelled, when, coming with the sun of heaven, and showing before Irish intellect the glories of the risen Saviour, the brightness of the heavenly sun dimmed forever the glory of the earthly, and dispelled the darkness of the human soul, which had filled the land before with its gloom. This is not the time nor the place to enter into an archaeological argument as to whether the round towers are of Pagan or Christian origin, or as to whether they are the offspring of the famous Gobán Saor, or of any other architect, or of the men of the fifth or of the sixth centuries; or whether they go back into the times of which no vestige remains upon the pages of history, or in the traditions of men; this, I say, is not the time to do it. I attempted this once, and whilst I was pursuing my argument, as I imagined, very learnedly and very profoundly, I saw a man, sitting opposite to me, open his mouth, and he gave a yawn; and I said in my own mind, to myself, “My dear friend, if you do not close your dissertation, that man will never shut his mouth; for I thought the top of his head would come off!

But no matter what may be the truth of this theory or that, concerning the round towers, one thing is certain, and this is the point to which I wish to speak, that, as they stand today, in the strength of their material, in the beauty of their form, in the perfection of their architecture, in the scientific principles upon which they were built, and which they reveal, they are the most ancient amongst the records of the most ancient nations, and distinctly tell the glorious tale of the early civilization of the Irish people. For, my friends, remember that, amongst the evidences of progress, of civilization, amongst the nations, there is no more powerful argument or evidence than that which is given by their public buildings.

When you reflect that many centuries afterwards, ages after ages, even after Ireland had become Catholic, there was no such thing in England as a stone building of any kind, much less a stone church, when you reflect that outside the pale of the ancient civilization of Greece and Rome, there was no such thing known amongst the northern and western nations of Europe as a stone edifice of any kind; then I say, from this, I conclude that these venerable pillar temples of Ireland are the strongest argument for the ancient civilization of our race. But this also explains the fact that Saint Patrick, when he preached in Ireland, was not persecuted; that he was not contradicted; that it was not asked of him, as of every other man that ever preached the Gospel for the first time to any people, to shed his blood in proof of his belief. No, he came not to a barbarous people, not to an uncivilized race; but he came to a wonderfully civilized nation, a nation which, though under the cloud of a false religion, had yet attained to established laws and a recognized and settled form of government, a high philosophical knowledge, a splendid national melody and poetry; and her bards, and the men who met Saint Patrick, upon the Hill of Tara, when he mounted it on that Easter morning were able to meet him with solid arguments; were able to meet him with the clash which takes place when mind meets mind; and when he had convinced them, they showed the greatest proof of their civilization by rising up, on the instant, to declare that Patrick’s preaching was the truth, and that Patrick was a messenger of the true God.

We know for certain that, whatever was the origin of those round towers, the Church, the Catholic Church in Ireland, made use of them for religious purposes; that she built her cathedrals and her abbey churches alongside of them; and we often find the loving group of the Seven Churches, lying closely beside, if not under the shadow of, the round towers.

We also know that the monks of old set the Cross of Christ on these ancient round towers, that is, on the upper part of them; and we know, from the evidence of a later day, that when the land was deluged in blood, and when the faithful people were persecuted, hunted down, then it was usual, as in the olden time, to light a fire in the upper portion of those round towers, in order that the poor and persecuted might know where to find the sanctuary of God’s altar. Thus it was that, no matter for what purpose they were founded, the Church of God made use of them for purposes of charity, of religion, and of mercy.

Coming down from these steep heights of history; coming down, like Moses from the mountain, from out the mysteries that envelop the cradle of our race, but, like the prophet of old, with the evidence of our nation’s ancient civilization and renown beaming upon us, we now come to the Hill of Tara. Alas, the place where Ireland’s monarch sat enthroned, the place where Ireland’s sages and seers met, where Ireland’s poets and bards filled the air with the rich harmony of our ancient Celtic melody, is now desolate; not a stone upon a stone to attest its ancient glory. “Perierunt etiam ruince, the very ruins of it have perished.

The mounds are there, the old moat is there, showing the circumvallation of the ancient towers of Tara; the old moat is there, still traced by the unbroken mound whereby the “Banquet Hall,” three hundred and sixty feet long, by forty feet in width, was formed, and in which the kings of Ireland entertained their chieftains, their royal dames, and their guests, in high festival and glorious revelry. Beyond this no vestige remains. But there, within the moat, in the very midst of the ruins, there, perhaps, on the very spot where Ireland’s ancient throne was raised, there is a long, grass-grown mound; the earth is raised; it is covered with a verdant sod; the shamrock blooms upon it, and the old peasants will tell you, this is the Croppy’s Grave.

In the year 1798, the “year of the troubles,” as we may well call it, some ninety Wexford men, or thereabouts, after the news came that “the cause was lost,” fought their way, every inch, from Wexford until they came to the Hill of Tara, and made their last stand on the banks of the River Boyne. There, pursued by a great number of the king’s dragoons, they fought their way through these two miles of intervening country, their faces to the foe. These ninety heroes, surrounded, fired upon, still fought and would not yield, until slowly, like the Spartan band at Thermopylae, they gained the Hill of Tara, and stood there like lions at bay. Surrounded on all sides by the soldiers, the officer in command offered them their lives if they would only lay down their arms. One of these Shelmaliers had that morning sent the colonel of the dragoons to take a cold bath in the Boyne. In an evil hour the Wexford men, trusting to the plighted faith of this British officer, laid down their arms; and, as soon as their guns were out of their hands, every man of them was fired upon; and to the last one, they perished upon the Hill of Tara. And there they were enshrined among the ancient glories of Ireland, and laid in the Croppy’s Grave.

And they tell how, in 1843, when O’Connell was holding his monster meetings throughout the land, in the early morning, he stood upon the Hill of Tara, with a hundred thousand brave, strong Irishmen around him. There was a tent pitched upon the hill-top; there was an altar erected, and an aged priest went to offer up the Mass for the people. But the old women, the women with the gray heads, who were blooming maidens in 1798, came from every side; and they all knelt round the Croppy’s Grave; and just as the priest began the Mass, and the one hundred thousand on the hill-sides and in the vales below were uniting in adoration, a loud cry of wailing pierced the air. It was the Irish mothers and the Irish maidens pouring out their souls in sorrow, and wetting with their tears the shamrocks that grew out of the Croppy’s Grave:
“ Dark falls the tear of him that mourns
Lost hope or joy that never returns;
But brightly flows the tear
Wept o’er a hero’s bier.”

Tara and its glories are things of the past; Tara and its monarchs are gone; but the spirit that crowned them at Tara has not died with them; the spirit that summoned bard and chief to surround their throne has not expired with them. That spirit was the spirit of Ireland’s nationality; and that spirit lives today as strong, as fervid, and as glorious as ever it burned during the ages of persecution; as it ever lived in the hearts of the Irish race.

And now, my friends, treading, as it were, down the hill-side, after having heard Patrick’s voice, after having beheld, on the threshold of Tara, Patrick’s glorious episcopal figure, as, with the simplicity that designated his grand, heroic character, he plucked from the soil the shamrock and upheld it, and appealed to the imagination of Ireland, appealed to that imagination that never yet failed to recognize a thing of truth or a thing of beauty, we now descend the hill, and wander through the land where we first beheld the group of the Seven Churches.

Everywhere throughout the land do we see the clustering ruins of these small churches. Seldom exceeding fifty feet in length, they rarely attain to any such proportion. There they are, generally speaking, under the shadow of some old round tower, some ancient Celtic name, indicative of past glory, still lingering around and sanctifying them.
What were these seven churches?
What is the meaning of them?
Why were they so numerous?
Why, there were churches enough, if we believe the ruins of Ireland, in Ireland during the first two centuries of its Christianity, to house the whole nation. Everywhere there were churches, churches in groups of seven; as if one were not enough, or two.

Nowadays, we are struck with the multitude of churches in London, in Dublin, in New York; but we must remember that we are a divided community, and that every sect, no matter how small it is, builds its own church; but in Ireland we were all of one faith; and all of these churches were multiplied. But what is the meaning of it? These churches were built in the early days of Ireland’s monasticism, in the days when the world acknowledged the miracle of Ireland’s holiness. Never, since God created the earth, never, since $ Christ proclaimed the truth amongst men, never was seen so extraordinary and so miraculous a thing as that a people should become, almost entirely, a nation of monks and nuns, as soon as they became Catholic and Christian. The highest proof of the Gospel is monasticism. As I stand before you, robed in this Dominican dress, most unworthy to wear it, still, as I stand before you, a monk, vowed to God by poverty, chastity, and obedience, I claim for myself, such as I am, this glorious title that the Church of God regards us as the very best of her children.

And why? Because the cream, as it were, of the Gospel spirit is sacrifice; and the highest sacrifice is the sacrifice that gives a man entirely, without the slightest reserve, to God, in the service of his country and of his fellow-men. This sacrifice is embodied and, as it were, combined in the monk; and, therefore, the monk and the nun are really the highest productions of Christianity. Now, Ireland, in the very first days of her conversion, so quickly caught up the spirit and so thoroughly entered into the genius of the Gospel, that she became a nation of monks and nuns, almost on the day when she became a nation of Christians. The consequence was, that throughout the land, in the villages, in every little town, on every hill-side, in every valley, these holy monks were to be found; and they were called by the people, who loved them and venerated them so dearly, they were called by the name of Culdees, or servants of God.

Then came, almost at the very moment of Ireland’s conversion and Ireland’s abundant monasticism, embodied, as it were, and sustained by that rule of Saint Columba which Saint Patrick brought into Ireland, having got it from Saint Martin of Tours, then came, at that very time, the ruin and the desolation of almost all the rest of the world. Rome was in flames; and the ancient Pagan civilization of thousands of years was gone. Hordes of barbarians poured, in streams, over the world. The whole of that formerly civilized world seemed to be falling back again into the darkness and chaos of the barbarism of the earliest times; but Ireland, sheltered by the encircling waves, converted and sanctified, kept her national freedom. No invader profaned her virgin soil; no sword was drawn, nor cry of battle or feud resounded through the land: and the consequence was, that Ireland, developing her schools, entering into every field of learning, produced, in almost every monk, a man fitted to teach his fellow-men and enlighten the world. And the whole world came to their monasteries, from every clime, as I have said before; they filled the land; and for three hundred years, without the shadow of a doubt, history declares that Ireland held the intellectual supremacy of the civilized world. Then were built those groups of seven churches, here and there; then did fill the land; then, when the morning sun arose, every valley in blessed Ireland resounded to the praises and the matinsong of the monk; then the glorious cloisters of Lismore, of Armagh, of Bangor, of Aran arose; and, far out in the western ocean, the glorious chorus resounded in praise of God, and the musical genius of the people received its highest development in hymns and canticles of praise, the expression of their glorious faith. For three hundred years of peace and joy it lasted; and, during those three hundred years, Ireland sent forth a Columba to Iona; a Virgilius to Italy; Romauld to Brabant; Gaul to France, in a word, every nation in Europe, even Rome itself; and all acknowledged that, in those days, the light of learning and of sanctity beamed upon them from the holy progeny of saints, that Ireland, the fairest mother of saints, produced and sent out to sanctify and enlighten the world.

And, mark you, my friends; these Irish monks were fearless men. They were the most learned men in the world. For instance, there was one of them, at home he was called Ferghal, abroad he was called Virgilius; this man was a great astronomer; and, as early as the seventh century, he discovered the rotundity of the earth, proclaimed that it was a sphere, and declared the existence of the antipodes.

In those days everybody thought that the earth was as flat as a pancake; and the idea was, that a man could walk as far as the land brought him, and he would then drop into the sea; and that if he took ship then, and sailed on to a certain point, why, then he would go into nothing at all. So, when this Irish monk, skilled in Irish science, wrote a book, and asserted this, which was recognized in after ages and proclaimed as a mighty discovery, the philosophers and learned men of the time were astonished. They thought it was heresy, and they did the most natural thing in the world, they complained to the pope of him; and the pope sent for him, examined him, examined his theory, and examined his astronomical system; and this is the answer, and the best answer, I can give to those who say that the Catholic Church is not the friend of science or of progress.

What do you think is the punishment the pope gave him?
The pope made him Archbishop of Salzburg.
He told him to continue his discoveries, continue your studies, he said; mind your prayers, and try and discover all the scientific truth that you can; for you are a learned man. Well, Ferghal continued his studies, and so well did he study that he anticipated, by centuries, some of the most highly practical discoveries of modern ages; and so well did he mind his prayers, that Pope Gregory the Tenth canonized him after his death.

JERPOINT – Cloister
medieval clothes

Image by Fergal of Claddagh
THE HISTORY OF IRELAND AS TOLD IN HER RUINS (first part)
A Lecture by Father Thomas N. Burke, O.P., delivered in the Cooper Institute, New York, on the 5th of April, 1872.

Before I approach the subject of this evening’s lecture, I have to apologize to you, in all earnestness, for appearing before you this evening in my habit. The reason why I put off my black cloth coat and put on this dress, the Dominican habit is, first of all, because I never feel at home in a black coat. When God called me, the only son of an Irish father and an Irish mother, from the home of the old people, and told me that it was His will that I should belong to Him in the sanctuary, the father and mother gave me up without a sigh, because they were Irish parents, and had the Irish faith and love for the Church in their hearts. And from the day I took this habit, from that day to this, I never felt at home in any other dress; and if I were to come before you this evening in black cloth, like a layman, and not like an Irish Dominican friar, I might, perhaps, break down in my lecture.

But there is another reason why I appear before you in this white habit; because I am come to speak to you of the ruins that cover the face of the old land; I am come to speak to you, and to tell you of the glory and the shame, and the joy and the sorrow, that these ruins so eloquently tell of; and when I look upon them, in spirit now, my mind sweeps over the intervening ocean, and I stand in imagination under the ivied and moss-covered arches of Athenry, or Sligo, or Clare-Galway, or Kilconnell. The view that rises before me of the former inmates of these holy places, is a vision of white-robed Dominicans and of brown Franciscans; and, therefore, in coming to speak to you in this garment, of the glorious history which they tell us, I feel more myself, more in consonance with the subject of which I have to speak, in appearing before you as the child and the representative, no matter how unworthy, of the Irish friars, the Irish priests and patriots who sleep in Irish graves to-night.

And now, my friends, the most precious, the grandest, inheritance of any people, is that people’s history. All that forms the national character of a people, their tone of thought, their devotion, their love, their sympathies, their antipathies, their language, all this is found in their history, as the effect is found in its cause, as the autumn speaks of the spring.’ And the philosopher who wishes to analyze a people’s character and to account for it, to account for the national desires, hopes, aspirations, for the strong sympathies or antipathies that sway a people, must go back to the deep recesses of their history; and there, in ages long gone by, will he find the seeds that produced the fruit that he attempts to account for. And he will find that the nation of today is but the child and the offspring of the nation of by-gone ages; for it is written truly, that “the child is father to the man.” When, therefore, we come to consider the desires of nations, we find that every people is most strongly desirous to preserve its history, even as every man is anxious to preserve the record of his life; for history is the record of a people’s life. Hence it is that, in the libraries of the more ancient nations we find the earliest histories of the primeval races of mankind, written upon the durable vellum, the imperishable asbestos, or sometimes deeply carved, in mystic and forgotten characters, on the granite stone or pictured rock, showing the desire of the people to preserve their history, which is to preserve the memory of them, just as the old man dying said, “Lord, keep my memory green! “

But, besides these more direct and documentary evidences, the history of every nation is enshrined in the national traditions, in the national music and song; much more, it is written in the public buildings that cover the face of the land. These, silent and in ruins, tell most eloquently their tale. Today “the stone may be crumbled, the wall decayed; “the clustering ivy may, perhaps, uphold the tottering ruin to which it clung in the days of its strength; The sorrows, the joys of which once they were part, Still round them, like visions of yesterday, throng.”
They are the voices of the past; they are the voices of ages long gone by. They rear their venerable and beautiful gray heads high over the land they adorn; and they tell us the tale of the glory or of the shame, of the strength or of the weakness, of the prosperity or of the adversity of the nation to which they belong. This is the volume which we are about to open; this is the voice which we are about to call forth from their gray and ivied ruins that cover the green bosom of Ireland; we are about to go back up the highways of history, and, as it were, to breast and to stem the stream of time, today, taking our start from the present hour in Ireland. What have we here? It is a stately church, rivalling, perhaps surpassing, in its glory the grandeur of by-gone times. We behold the solid buttresses, the massive wall, the high tower and the graceful spire piercing the clouds, and upholding, high towards heaven, the symbol of man’s redemption, the glorious sign of the cross. We see in the stone windows the massive tracery, so solid, so strong, and so delicate. What does this tell us? Here is this church, so grand, yet so fresh and new and clean from the mason’s hand. What does it tell us? It tells us of a race that has never decayed; it tells us of a people that have never lost neither their faith nor their love; it tells us of a nation as strong in its energy for every highest and holiest purpose, today, as it was in the ages that are past and gone forever.

We advance just half a century up the highway of time; and we come upon that which has been familiar, perhaps, to many amongst you, as well as to me, the plain, unpretending little chapel, in some by -lane of the town or city, or the plain and humble little chapel in some by-way in the country, with its thatched roof, its low ceiling, its earthen floor, its wooden altar. What does this tell us? It tells us of a people struggling against adversity; it tells us of a people making their first effort, after .three hundred years of blood, to build up a house, however humble, for their God; it tells us of a people who had not yet shaken off the traditions of their slavery, upon whose hands the chains still hang, and the wounds inflicted by those chains are still rankling; it tells us of a people who scarcely yet know how to engage in the glorious work of Church edification, because they scarcely yet realized the privilege that they were to be allowed to live in the land that bore them. Let us reverently bow down our heads and salute these ancient places, these ancient, humble little chapels, in town or country, where we, we men of middle age, made our first confession and received our first communion; let us salute these places, hallowed in our memories by the first, and therefore the strongest, the purest, holiest recollections and associations of our lives; and, pilgrims of’ history, let us turn into the dreary, solitary road that lies before us. It is a road of three hundred years of desolation and bloodshed; it is a road that leads through martyrs’ and patriots’ graves; it is a road that is wet with the tears and with the blood of a persecuted and down-trodden people; it is a road that is pointed out to us by the sign of the cross, the emblem of the nation’s faith, and by the site of the martyr’s grave, the emblem of the nation’s undying fidelity to God.

And now what venerable ruin is this which rises before our eyes, moss-crowned, embedded in clustering ivy? It is a church, for we see the mullions of the great east window of the sanctuary, through which once flowed, through angels and saints depicted thereon, the mellow sunshine that warmed up the arch above, and made mosaics upon the church and altar. It is a church of the Mediaeval Choral Orders, for I see the lancet windows, the choir where the religious were accustomed to chant, yet popular, and much frequented by the people, for I see, outside the choir, an ample space; the side-aisles are unencumbered, and the side-chapels with altars, the mind of the architect clearly intending an ample space for the people; yet it is not too large a church; for it is generally one that the preacher’s voice can easily fill. Outside of it runs the square of the ruined cloister, humble enough, yet most beautiful in its architecture. But now, church and cloister alike are filled with the graves, the homes, of the silent dead. Do I recall to the loving memory of any one amongst you, scenes that have been familiar to your eyes in the dear and the green old land? Are there not those amongst you, who have looked, with eyes softened by love, and by the sadness of the recollections recalled to the mind, under the chancel and the choir, under the ample space of nave and aisle of the old Abbey of Athenry, or in the old Abbey of Kilconnell, or such as these? What tale do these tell?

They tell of a nation that, although engaged in a hand-to-hand and desperate struggle for its national life, yet in the midst of its wars, was never unmindful of its God; they tell of Ireland when the clutch of the Saxon was upon her, when the sword was unsheathed that was never to know its scabbard from that day until this, and that never will, until the diadem of perfect freedom rests upon the virgin brow of Ireland.

They tell of the glorious days, when Ireland’s Church and Ireland’s Nationality joined hands; and when the priest and the people rose up to enter upon a glorious combat for freedom. These were the homes of the Franciscan and the Dominican friars, the men who, during three hundred years of their residence in Ireland, recalled, in these cloisters, the ancient glories of Lismore, and of Glendalough, and of Armagh; the men who, from the time they first raised these cloisters, never left the land, never abandoned the old soil, but lingered around their ancient homes of happiness, of sanctity, and of peace, and tried to-keep near the old walls, just as Magdalene lingered round the empty tomb, on Easter morning, at Jerusalem.

They tell of the sanctuaries, where the hunted head of the Irish patriot found refuge and a place of security; they tell the Irish historian of the national councils, formed for state purposes within them. These venerable walls, if they could speak, would tell us how the wavering were encouraged and strengthened, and the brave and gallant fired with the highest and noblest purpose, for God and Erin; how the traitor was detected, and the false-hearted denounced; and how the nation’s life-blood was kept warm, and her wounds were stanched, by the wise counsels of the old Franciscan and Dominican friars. All this, and more, would these walls tell, if they could speak; for they have witnessed all this. They witnessed it until the day came, the day of war, the sword, and blood that drove forth their saintly inmates from their loving shelter, and devoted themselves to desolation and decay.

Let us bow down, fellow-Irishmen, with reverence and with love, as we pass under the shadow of these ancient walls. And now stepping a few years, scarcely fifty years, further on, on the road of our history, passing, as we go along, under the frowning, dark feudal castles of the FitzGeralds, of the De Laceys, the De Courcys, the FitzAdams, and, I regret to say, the De Burgos, the castles that tell us always of the terror of the invaders of the land, hiding themselves in their strongholds, because they could not trust to the love of the people, who hated them; and because they were afraid to meet the people in the open field, passing under the frowning shadows of these castles.

Suddenly we stand amazed, crushed, as it were, to the earth, by the glories that rise before us, in the ruins of Mellifont, in the ruins of Dunbrody, in the awful ruins of Holy Cross and of Cashel, that we see yet uplifting, in solemn grandeur, their stately heads in ruined beauty over the land which they once adorned. There do we see the vestiges of the most magnificent architecture, some of the grandest buildings that ever yet were raised upon this earth for God or for man. There do we see the lofty side walls pierced with huge windows, filled with the most delicate tracery; there, when we enter in we throw our eyes aloft with wonder, and see the groined, massive arches of the ceiling upholding the mighty tower; there do we see the grandeur of the ancient Cistercians, and the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, and the Benedictines.

What tale do they tell us?
Oh, they tell us a glorious tale of our history and of our people.
These were the edifices that were built and founded in Ireland during the brief respite that the nation had, from the day that she drove the last Dane out, until the day that the first accursed Norman came. A short time, a brief period; too brief, alas, too brief! Ireland, exhausted after her three hundred years of Danish invasion, turned her first thoughts and her first energies to build up the ancient places that were ruined, to restore and to clothe the sanctuaries of her faith, with a splendour such as the nation had never seen before.

We will pass on. And now, a mountain-road lies before us. The land is filled again, for three centuries, with desolation and with bloodshed and with sorrow. The hillsides, on either. hand of our path, are strewn with the bodies of the slain; the valleys are filled with desolation and ruin; the air resounds to the ferocious battle-cry of the Dane, and to the brave battle-cry of the Celt, intermingled with the wailing of the widowed mother and the ravished maid; the air is filled with the crash and the shock of battle. In terrible onset, the lithe, active, mail-clad, fair-haired, blue-eyed warriors of the North meet the dark, stalwart Celt, and they close in mortal combat. Toiling along, pilgrims of history as we are, we come to the summit of Tara’s Hill, and there we look in vain for a vestige of Ireland’s ruins. But now, after these three hundred years of our backward journey over the highway of history, we breathe the upper air.

The sunshine of the eighth century, and of Ireland’s three centuries of Christianity, is upon our path. We breathe the purer air; we are amongst the mountains of God; and a sight the most glorious that nation ever presented opens itself before our eyes, the sight of Ireland’s first three centuries of the glorious faith of St . Patrick. Peace is upon the land. Schools rise upon every hill and in every valley. Every city is an immense school.

The air again is filled with the sound of many voices; for students from every clime under the sun, the German, the Pict, the Cumbrian, the Frank, the Italian, the Saxon, are all mingling together, conversing together in the universal language of the Church, Rome’s old Latin. They have come, and they have covered the land; they have come in thousands and in tens of thousands, to hear, from the lips of the world-renowned Irish saints, all the lore of ancient Greece and Rome, and to study in the lives of these saints the highest degree and noblest interpretation of Christian morality and Christian perfection.

Wise rulers governed the land; her heroes were moved to mighty acts; and these men, who came from every clime to the university of the world, to the great masters of the nations, go back to their respective countries and tell the glorious tale of Ireland’s strength and Ireland’s sanctity, of the purity of the Irish maidens, of the learning and the saintliness of the Irish priesthood; of the wisdom of her kings and rulers; of the sanctity of her people; until at length, from out the recesses of history, there comes, floating upon the breezes of time, the voice of an admiring world, that proclaims my native land, in that happy epoch, and gives to her the name of the island of heroes, of saints, and of sages.

Look up. In imagination we stand, now, upon the highest level of Ireland’s first Christianity. Above us, we behold the venerable hill-top of Tara; and beyond that, again, far away, and high up on the mountain, inaccessible by any known road of history, lies, amidst the gloom, the mysterious cloud that hangs around the cradle of every ancient race, looming forth from prehistoric obscurity; we behold the mighty Round Towers of Ireland:
The Pillar Towers of Ireland,
How wondrously they stand
By the rushing streams, in the silent glens,
And the valleys of the land,
In mystic file, throughout the isle,
They rear their heads sublime,
Those gray, old, pillar temples,
Those conquerors of time.

Now, having gone up to the cradle and fountain-head of our history, as told by its monuments and its ruins, we shall pause a little before we begin again our downward course. We shall pause for a few moments under the shadows of Ireland’s round towers.

There they stand, most perfect in their architecture; stone fitted into stone with the most artistic nicety and regularity; every stone bound to its bed by a cement as hard as the stone itself; a beautiful calculation of the weight which was to be put upon it, and the foundation which was to sustain it, has arrived at this, that, though thousands of years have passed over their hoary heads, there they stand, as firm today as on the day when they were first erected.

There they stand, in perfect form, in perfect perpendicular; and the student of art in the nineteenth century can find matter for admiration and for wonder in the evidence of Ireland’s civilization, speaking loudly and eloquently by the voice of her most ancient round towers. Who built them? You have seen them; they are all over the island.

The traveller sails up the placid bosom of the lovely Blackwater, and whilst he admires its varied beauties, and his very heart within him is ravished by its loveliness, he beholds, high above its green banks, amidst the ruins of ancient Lismore, a venerable round tower lifting its gray head into the air. As he goes on, passing, as in a dream of delight, now by the valleys and the hills of lovely Wicklow, he admires the weeping alders that hang over the stream in sweet Avoca; he admires the bold heights, throwing their outlines so sharp and clear against the sky, and clothed to their very summits with the sweet-smelling purple heather; he admires all this, until, at length, in a deep valley, in the very heart of the hills, he beholds, reflecting itself in the deep waters of still Glendalough, the venerable “round tower of other days.” Or he has taken his departure from the Island of Saints, and when his ship’s prow is turned toward the setting sun, he beholds upon the headlands of the iron-bound coast of Mayo or western Galway, the round tower of Ireland, the last thing the eye of the lover or traveller beholds.

Who built these towers, or for what purpose were they built?
There is no record of reply, although the question has been repeated, age after age, for thousands of years.
Who can tell?
They go so far back into the mists of history as to have the lead of all the known events in the history of our native land.
Some say that they are of Christian origin; others, again, say, with equal probability, and perhaps greater, that these venerable monuments are far more ancient than Ireland’s Catholicity; that they were the temples of a by-gone religion, and, perhaps, of a long-forgotten race. They may have been the temples of the ancient Fire Worshippers of Ireland; and the theory has been mooted, that in the time when our remotest forefathers worshipped the rising sun, the priest of the sun was accustomed to climb to the summit of the round tower, to turn his face to the east, and watch with anxiety the rising of the morning star, as it came up trembling in its silver beauty, above the eastern hills. Then, when the first rays of the sun illumined the valleys, he hailed its rising, and proclaimed to the people around him their duty of worship to the coming God.

This is the theory that would connect Ireland’s round towers with the most ancient form of religion, the false religion which truth dispelled, when, coming with the sun of heaven, and showing before Irish intellect the glories of the risen Saviour, the brightness of the heavenly sun dimmed forever the glory of the earthly, and dispelled the darkness of the human soul, which had filled the land before with its gloom. This is not the time nor the place to enter into an archaeological argument as to whether the round towers are of Pagan or Christian origin, or as to whether they are the offspring of the famous Gobán Saor, or of any other architect, or of the men of the fifth or of the sixth centuries; or whether they go back into the times of which no vestige remains upon the pages of history, or in the traditions of men; this, I say, is not the time to do it. I attempted this once, and whilst I was pursuing my argument, as I imagined, very learnedly and very profoundly, I saw a man, sitting opposite to me, open his mouth, and he gave a yawn; and I said in my own mind, to myself, “My dear friend, if you do not close your dissertation, that man will never shut his mouth; for I thought the top of his head would come off!

But no matter what may be the truth of this theory or that, concerning the round towers, one thing is certain, and this is the point to which I wish to speak, that, as they stand today, in the strength of their material, in the beauty of their form, in the perfection of their architecture, in the scientific principles upon which they were built, and which they reveal, they are the most ancient amongst the records of the most ancient nations, and distinctly tell the glorious tale of the early civilization of the Irish people. For, my friends, remember that, amongst the evidences of progress, of civilization, amongst the nations, there is no more powerful argument or evidence than that which is given by their public buildings.

When you reflect that many centuries afterwards, ages after ages, even after Ireland had become Catholic, there was no such thing in England as a stone building of any kind, much less a stone church, when you reflect that outside the pale of the ancient civilization of Greece and Rome, there was no such thing known amongst the northern and western nations of Europe as a stone edifice of any kind; then I say, from this, I conclude that these venerable pillar temples of Ireland are the strongest argument for the ancient civilization of our race. But this also explains the fact that Saint Patrick, when he preached in Ireland, was not persecuted; that he was not contradicted; that it was not asked of him, as of every other man that ever preached the Gospel for the first time to any people, to shed his blood in proof of his belief. No, he came not to a barbarous people, not to an uncivilized race; but he came to a wonderfully civilized nation, a nation which, though under the cloud of a false religion, had yet attained to established laws and a recognized and settled form of government, a high philosophical knowledge, a splendid national melody and poetry; and her bards, and the men who met Saint Patrick, upon the Hill of Tara, when he mounted it on that Easter morning were able to meet him with solid arguments; were able to meet him with the clash which takes place when mind meets mind; and when he had convinced them, they showed the greatest proof of their civilization by rising up, on the instant, to declare that Patrick’s preaching was the truth, and that Patrick was a messenger of the true God.

We know for certain that, whatever was the origin of those round towers, the Church, the Catholic Church in Ireland, made use of them for religious purposes; that she built her cathedrals and her abbey churches alongside of them; and we often find the loving group of the Seven Churches, lying closely beside, if not under the shadow of, the round towers.

We also know that the monks of old set the Cross of Christ on these ancient round towers, that is, on the upper part of them; and we know, from the evidence of a later day, that when the land was deluged in blood, and when the faithful people were persecuted, hunted down, then it was usual, as in the olden time, to light a fire in the upper portion of those round towers, in order that the poor and persecuted might know where to find the sanctuary of God’s altar. Thus it was that, no matter for what purpose they were founded, the Church of God made use of them for purposes of charity, of religion, and of mercy.

Coming down from these steep heights of history; coming down, like Moses from the mountain, from out the mysteries that envelop the cradle of our race, but, like the prophet of old, with the evidence of our nation’s ancient civilization and renown beaming upon us, we now come to the Hill of Tara. Alas, the place where Ireland’s monarch sat enthroned, the place where Ireland’s sages and seers met, where Ireland’s poets and bards filled the air with the rich harmony of our ancient Celtic melody, is now desolate; not a stone upon a stone to attest its ancient glory. “Perierunt etiam ruince, the very ruins of it have perished.

The mounds are there, the old moat is there, showing the circumvallation of the ancient towers of Tara; the old moat is there, still traced by the unbroken mound whereby the “Banquet Hall,” three hundred and sixty feet long, by forty feet in width, was formed, and in which the kings of Ireland entertained their chieftains, their royal dames, and their guests, in high festival and glorious revelry. Beyond this no vestige remains. But there, within the moat, in the very midst of the ruins, there, perhaps, on the very spot where Ireland’s ancient throne was raised, there is a long, grass-grown mound; the earth is raised; it is covered with a verdant sod; the shamrock blooms upon it, and the old peasants will tell you, this is the Croppy’s Grave.

In the year 1798, the “year of the troubles,” as we may well call it, some ninety Wexford men, or thereabouts, after the news came that “the cause was lost,” fought their way, every inch, from Wexford until they came to the Hill of Tara, and made their last stand on the banks of the River Boyne. There, pursued by a great number of the king’s dragoons, they fought their way through these two miles of intervening country, their faces to the foe. These ninety heroes, surrounded, fired upon, still fought and would not yield, until slowly, like the Spartan band at Thermopylae, they gained the Hill of Tara, and stood there like lions at bay. Surrounded on all sides by the soldiers, the officer in command offered them their lives if they would only lay down their arms. One of these Shelmaliers had that morning sent the colonel of the dragoons to take a cold bath in the Boyne. In an evil hour the Wexford men, trusting to the plighted faith of this British officer, laid down their arms; and, as soon as their guns were out of their hands, every man of them was fired upon; and to the last one, they perished upon the Hill of Tara. And there they were enshrined among the ancient glories of Ireland, and laid in the Croppy’s Grave.

And they tell how, in 1843, when O’Connell was holding his monster meetings throughout the land, in the early morning, he stood upon the Hill of Tara, with a hundred thousand brave, strong Irishmen around him. There was a tent pitched upon the hill-top; there was an altar erected, and an aged priest went to offer up the Mass for the people. But the old women, the women with the gray heads, who were blooming maidens in 1798, came from every side; and they all knelt round the Croppy’s Grave; and just as the priest began the Mass, and the one hundred thousand on the hill-sides and in the vales below were uniting in adoration, a loud cry of wailing pierced the air. It was the Irish mothers and the Irish maidens pouring out their souls in sorrow, and wetting with their tears the shamrocks that grew out of the Croppy’s Grave:
“ Dark falls the tear of him that mourns
Lost hope or joy that never returns;
But brightly flows the tear
Wept o’er a hero’s bier.”

Tara and its glories are things of the past; Tara and its monarchs are gone; but the spirit that crowned them at Tara has not died with them; the spirit that summoned bard and chief to surround their throne has not expired with them. That spirit was the spirit of Ireland’s nationality; and that spirit lives today as strong, as fervid, and as glorious as ever it burned during the ages of persecution; as it ever lived in the hearts of the Irish race.

And now, my friends, treading, as it were, down the hill-side, after having heard Patrick’s voice, after having beheld, on the threshold of Tara, Patrick’s glorious episcopal figure, as, with the simplicity that designated his grand, heroic character, he plucked from the soil the shamrock and upheld it, and appealed to the imagination of Ireland, appealed to that imagination that never yet failed to recognize a thing of truth or a thing of beauty, we now descend the hill, and wander through the land where we first beheld the group of the Seven Churches.

Everywhere throughout the land do we see the clustering ruins of these small churches. Seldom exceeding fifty feet in length, they rarely attain to any such proportion. There they are, generally speaking, under the shadow of some old round tower, some ancient Celtic name, indicative of past glory, still lingering around and sanctifying them.
What were these seven churches?
What is the meaning of them?
Why were they so numerous?
Why, there were churches enough, if we believe the ruins of Ireland, in Ireland during the first two centuries of its Christianity, to house the whole nation. Everywhere there were churches, churches in groups of seven; as if one were not enough, or two.

Nowadays, we are struck with the multitude of churches in London, in Dublin, in New York; but we must remember that we are a divided community, and that every sect, no matter how small it is, builds its own church; but in Ireland we were all of one faith; and all of these churches were multiplied. But what is the meaning of it? These churches were built in the early days of Ireland’s monasticism, in the days when the world acknowledged the miracle of Ireland’s holiness. Never, since God created the earth, never, since $ Christ proclaimed the truth amongst men, never was seen so extraordinary and so miraculous a thing as that a people should become, almost entirely, a nation of monks and nuns, as soon as they became Catholic and Christian. The highest proof of the Gospel is monasticism. As I stand before you, robed in this Dominican dress, most unworthy to wear it, still, as I stand before you, a monk, vowed to God by poverty, chastity, and obedience, I claim for myself, such as I am, this glorious title that the Church of God regards us as the very best of her children.

And why? Because the cream, as it were, of the Gospel spirit is sacrifice; and the highest sacrifice is the sacrifice that gives a man entirely, without the slightest reserve, to God, in the service of his country and of his fellow-men. This sacrifice is embodied and, as it were, combined in the monk; and, therefore, the monk and the nun are really the highest productions of Christianity. Now, Ireland, in the very first days of her conversion, so quickly caught up the spirit and so thoroughly entered into the genius of the Gospel, that she became a nation of monks and nuns, almost on the day when she became a nation of Christians. The consequence was, that throughout the land, in the villages, in every little town, on every hill-side, in every valley, these holy monks were to be found; and they were called by the people, who loved them and venerated them so dearly, they were called by the name of Culdees, or servants of God.

Then came, almost at the very moment of Ireland’s conversion and Ireland’s abundant monasticism, embodied, as it were, and sustained by that rule of Saint Columba which Saint Patrick brought into Ireland, having got it from Saint Martin of Tours, then came, at that very time, the ruin and the desolation of almost all the rest of the world. Rome was in flames; and the ancient Pagan civilization of thousands of years was gone. Hordes of barbarians poured, in streams, over the world. The whole of that formerly civilized world seemed to be falling back again into the darkness and chaos of the barbarism of the earliest times; but Ireland, sheltered by the encircling waves, converted and sanctified, kept her national freedom. No invader profaned her virgin soil; no sword was drawn, nor cry of battle or feud resounded through the land: and the consequence was, that Ireland, developing her schools, entering into every field of learning, produced, in almost every monk, a man fitted to teach his fellow-men and enlighten the world. And the whole world came to their monasteries, from every clime, as I have said before; they filled the land; and for three hundred years, without the shadow of a doubt, history declares that Ireland held the intellectual supremacy of the civilized world. Then were built those groups of seven churches, here and there; then did fill the land; then, when the morning sun arose, every valley in blessed Ireland resounded to the praises and the matinsong of the monk; then the glorious cloisters of Lismore, of Armagh, of Bangor, of Aran arose; and, far out in the western ocean, the glorious chorus resounded in praise of God, and the musical genius of the people received its highest development in hymns and canticles of praise, the expression of their glorious faith. For three hundred years of peace and joy it lasted; and, during those three hundred years, Ireland sent forth a Columba to Iona; a Virgilius to Italy; Romauld to Brabant; Gaul to France, in a word, every nation in Europe, even Rome itself; and all acknowledged that, in those days, the light of learning and of sanctity beamed upon them from the holy progeny of saints, that Ireland, the fairest mother of saints, produced and sent out to sanctify and enlighten the world.

And, mark you, my friends; these Irish monks were fearless men. They were the most learned men in the world. For instance, there was one of them, at home he was called Ferghal, abroad he was called Virgilius; this man was a great astronomer; and, as early as the seventh century, he discovered the rotundity of the earth, proclaimed that it was a sphere, and declared the existence of the antipodes.

In those days everybody thought that the earth was as flat as a pancake; and the idea was, that a man could walk as far as the land brought him, and he would then drop into the sea; and that if he took ship then, and sailed on to a certain point, why, then he would go into nothing at all. So, when this Irish monk, skilled in Irish science, wrote a book, and asserted this, which was recognized in after ages and proclaimed as a mighty discovery, the philosophers and learned men of the time were astonished. They thought it was heresy, and they did the most natural thing in the world, they complained to the pope of him; and the pope sent for him, examined him, examined his theory, and examined his astronomical system; and this is the answer, and the best answer, I can give to those who say that the Catholic Church is not the friend of science or of progress.

What do you think is the punishment the pope gave him?
The pope made him Archbishop of Salzburg.
He told him to continue his discoveries, continue your studies, he said; mind your prayers, and try and discover all the scientific truth that you can; for you are a learned man. Well, Ferghal continued his studies, and so well did he study that he anticipated, by centuries, some of the most highly practical discoveries of modern ages; and so well did he mind his prayers, that Pope Gregory the Tenth canonized him after his death.

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by admin on July 3, 2012

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FANCISCAN ABBEY, CLAREGALWAY
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THE HISTORY OF IRELAND AS TOLD IN HER RUINS (second part)
A Lecture by Father Thomas N. Burke, O.P., delivered in the Cooper Institute, New York, on the 5th of April, 1872

The Danish invasion came, and I need not tell you that these Northern warriors who landed at the close of the eighth century, effecting their first landing near where the town of Skerries stands now, between Dublin and Balbriggan, on the eastern coast, that these men, thus coming, came as plunderers, and enemies of the religion as well as of the nationality of the people.

And for three hundred years, wherever they came, and wherever they went, the first thing they did was to put to death all the monks, and all the nuns, set fire to the schools, and banish the students; and, inflamed in this way with the blood of the peaceful, they sought to kill all the Irish friars; and a war of extermination, a war of interminable struggle and duration, was carried on for three hundred years. Ireland fought them; the Irish kings and chieftains fought them.

We read that in one battle alone, at Glenamada, in the county of Wicklow, King Malachy, he who wore the “collar of gold,” and the great King Brian, joined their forces in the cause of Ireland. In that grand day, when the morning sun arose, the battle began: and it was not until the sun set in the evening that the last Dane was swept from the field, and they withdrew to their ships, leaving six thousand dead bodies of their warriors behind them. Thus did Ireland, united, know how to deal with her Danish invaders; thus would Ireland have dealt with Fitzstephen and his Normans; but, on the day when they landed, the curse of disunion and discord was amongst the people. Finally, after three hundred years of invasion, Brian, on that Good Friday of 1014, cast out the Danes forever, and from the plains of Clontarf drove them into Dublin Bay.

Well, behind them they left the ruins of all the religion they had found. They left a people, who had, indeed, not lost their faith, but a people who were terribly shaken and demoralized by three hundred years of bloodshed and of war. One-half of it, one-sixth of it, would have been sufficient to ruin any other people; but the element that kept Ireland alive, the element that kept the Irish nationality alive in the hearts of the people, the element that preserved civilization in spite of three centuries of war, was the element of Ireland’s faith, and the traditions of the nation’s by-gone glory.

And now we arrive at the year 1134. Thirty years before, in the year 1103, the last Danish army was conquered and routed on the shores of Strangford Lough, in the North, and the last Danish King took his departure forever from the green shores of Erin. Thirty years have elapsed. Ireland is struggling to restore her shattered temples, her ruined altars, and to build up again, in all its former glory and sanctity, her nationality and monastic priesthood. Then Saint Malachy, great, glorious, and venerable name!, Saint Malachy, in whom the best blood of Ireland’s kings was mingled with the best blood of Ireland’s saints, was Archbishop of Armagh. In the year 1134, he invited into Ireland the Cistercian and the Benedictine monks. They came with all the traditions of the most exalted sanctity, with a spirit not less mild nor less holy than the spirit of a Dominic or an Augustine, and built up the glories of Lindisfarne, of Iona, of Mellifont, of Monasterboice, and of Monastereven, and all these magnificent ruins of which I spoke, the sacred monastic ruins of Ireland. Then the wondering world beheld such grand achievements as it never saw before, outrivaling in the splendour of their magnificence the grandeur of those temples which still attest the mediaeval greatness of Belgium, of France, and of Italy.

Then did the Irish people see, enshrined in these houses, the holy solitaries and monks from Clairveaux, with the light of the great Saint Bernard shining upon them from his grave. But only thirty years more passed, thirty years only; and, behold, a trumpet is heard on the eastern coast of Ireland: the shore and the hills of that Wexford coast re-echo to the shouts of the Norman, as he sets his accursed foot upon the soil of Erin. Divided as the nation was, chieftain fighting against chieftain, for, when the great King Brian was slain at Clontarf, and his son and his grandson were killed, and the three generations of the royal family thus swept away, every strong man in the land stood up and put in his claim for the sovereignty, by this division the Anglo-Norman was able to fix himself in the land. Battles were fought on every hill in Ireland; the most horrible scenes of the Danish invasion were renewed again. But Ireland is no longer able to shake the Saxon from her bosom; for Ireland is no longer able to strike him as one man.

The name of “United Irishmen” has been a name, and nothing but a name, since the day that Brian Boru was slain at Clontarf until this present moment. Would to God that this name of United Irishmen meant something more than an idle word! Would to God that, again, today, we were all united for some great and glorious purpose! Would to God that the blessing of our ancient, glorious unity was upon us! Would to God that the blessing even of a common purpose in the love of our country guided us! then, indeed, would the Celtic race and the Celtic nation be as strong as ever it was,as strong as it was upon that evening at Clontarf, which beheld Erin weeping over her martyred Brian, but beheld her with the crown still upon her brow.

Sometimes victorious, yet oftener defeated, defeated not so much by the shock of the Norman onset as by the treachery and the feuds of her own chieftains, the heart of the nation was broken; and behold, from the far sunny shores of Italy, there came to Ireland other monks and other missionaries, clothed in this very habit which I now wear, or in the sweet brown habit of Saint Francis, or the glorious dress of Saint Augustine. Unlike the monks who gave themselves up to contemplation, and who had large possessions, large houses, these men came among the people, to make themselves at home among the people, to become the sagart a rún of Ireland.

They came with a learning a’ great as that of the Irish monks of old, with a sturdy devotion, as energetic as that of Colum Cille, or of Kevin of Glendalough; they came with a message of peace, of consolation, and of hope to this heart-broken people; and they came nearly seven hundred years ago to the Irish shores. The Irish people received them with a kind of supernatural instinct that they had found their champions and their priestly heroes, and for nearly seven hundred years the Franciscan and his Dominican brother have dwelt together in the land. Instead of building up magnificent, wonderful edifices, like Holy Cross, or Mellifont, or Dunbrody; instead of covering acres with the grandeur of their buildings, these Dominicans and Franciscans went out in small companies, ten, or twelve, or twenty, and they went into remote towns and villages, and there they dwelt, and built quietly a convent for themselves; and they educated the people themselves; and, by-and-by, the people in the next generation learned to love the disciples of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis, as they beheld the churches so multiplied.

In every townland of Ireland there was either a Dominican or a Franciscan church or convent. The priests of Ireland welcomed them; the holy bishops of Ireland sustained them; the ancient religious of Ireland gave them the right-hand of friendship; and the Cistercians or Benedictines gave them, very often, indeed, some of their own churches wherein to found their congregation, or to begin their missions. They came to dwell in the land early in the twelfth century, and, until the fifteenth century, strange to say, it was not yet found out what was the hidden design of Providence in bringing them there, in what was once their own true and ancient missionary Ireland.

During these three hundred years, the combat for Ireland’s nationality was still continued. The O’Neill, the O’Brien, the O’Donnell, the McGuire, the O’Moore, kept the national sword waving in the air. The Franciscans and the Dominicans cheered them, entered into their feelings, and they could only not be said to be more Irish than the Irish themselves, because they were the heart’s blood of Ireland. They were the light of the national councils of the chieftains of Ireland, as their historians were the faithful annalists of the glories of these days of combat. They saw the trouble; and yet, for three hundred years the Franciscan and the Dominican had not discovered what his real mission to Ireland was.

But at the end of the three hundred years came the fifteenth century. Then came the cloud of religious persecution over the land. All the hatred that divided the Saxon and the Celt, on the principle of nationality, was now heightened by the additional hatred of religious discord and division; and Irishmen, if they hated the Saxon before, as the enemy of Ireland’s nationality, from the fifteenth century hated him with an additional hatred, as the enemy of Ireland’s faith and Ireland’s religion. The sword was drawn. My friends, I speak not in indignation, but in sorrow; and I know that if there be one amongst you, my fellow-countrymen, here to-night, if there be a man who differs with me in religion, to that man I say: “Brother and friend, you feel as deeply as I do a feeling of indignation and of regret for the religious persecution of our native land.” No man feels it more; no man regrets more bitterly the element of religious discord, the terrible persecution of these three hundred years, through which Ireland, Catholic Ireland, has been obliged to pass; no man feels this more than the high-minded, honest, kind-hearted Irish Protestant. And why should he not feel it? If it was Catholic Ireland that had persecuted Protestant Ireland for that time, and with such intensity, I should hang my head for shame.

Well, that mild, scrupulous, holy man, Henry the Eighth, in the middle of the fifteenth century got a scruple of conscience! Perhaps it was whilst he was saying his prayers, he began to get uneasy, and to be afraid that, maybe, his wife wasn’t his wife at all! He wrote a letter to the pope, and he said: “Holy Father, I am very uneasy in my mind!“

The fact was, there was a very nice young lady in the court. Her name was Anna Boleyn. She was a great beauty. Henry got very fond of her, and he wanted to marry her. But he could not marry her, because he was already a married man. So he wrote to the pope, and he said he was uneasy in his mind, he had a scruple of conscience; and he said: “Holy Father, grant me a favour. Grant me a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. I have been married to her for several years. She has had several children by me. Just grant me this little favour. I want a divorce!“
The pope sent back word to him: “Don’t be uneasy at all in your mind! Stick to your wife like a man; and don’t be troubling me with your scruples.”

Well, Henry threw the pope over. He married the young woman whilst his former wife was living, and he should have been taken that very day and tried before the Lord Chief Justice of England, and transported for life. And why? Because if it had been any other man in England that did it but the king, that man would have been transported for life; and the king is as much bound by the laws of God, and of justice, and conscience, and morality, as any other man. When Henry separated from the pope he made himself head of the Church; and he told the people of England that he would manage their consciences for them for the future. But when he called upon Ireland to join him in this strange and indeed, I think my Protestant friends will admit, insane act, for such indeed, I think my Protestant friends will admit this act to be; for, I think, it was nothing short of insanity for any man of sense to say: “I will take the law of God as preached from the lips and illustrated in the life of Henry the Eighth, Ireland refused.

Henry drew the sword, and declared that Ireland should acknowledge him as the head of the Church; that she should part with her ancient faith, and with all the traditions of her history, to sustain him in his measures, or that he would exterminate the Irish race. Another scruple of conscience came to this tender-hearted man!
And what do you think it was?
Oh, he said, I am greatly afraid the friars and the priests are not leading good lives. So he set up what we call a commission; and he sent it to Ireland to inquire what sort of lives the monks and friars and priests and nuns were leading; and the commissioners sent back word to him, that they could not find any great fault with them; but that, on the whole, they thought it would be better to turn them out!
So they took their convents and their churches, and whatever little property they possessed, and these commissioners sold them, and put the money into their own pockets. There was a beautiful simplicity about the whole plan.

Well, my friends, then came the hour of the ruin of the dear old convents of the Franciscans and Dominicans. Their inmates were driven out at the point of the sword; they were scattered like sheep over the land. Five pounds was the price set upon the head of the friar or priest, the same price that was set upon the head of a wolf. They were hunted throughout the land; and when they fled for their lives from their convent homes, the Irish people opened their hearts, and said, “Come to us, Sagart a Rún.”

Throughout the length and breadth of the land they were scattered, with no shelter but the canopy of heaven; with no Sunday sacrifice to remind the people of God; no Mass celebrated in public, and no Gospel preached; and yet they succeeded for three hundred years in preserving the glorious Catholic faith, that is as strong in Ireland today as ever it was. These venerable ruins tell the tale of the nation’s woe, of the nation’s sorrow. As long as it was merely a question of destroying a Cistercian or a Benedictine Abbey, there were so few of these in the land, that the people did not feel it much.

But when the persecution came upon the Bráthair, as the friar was called, the men whom everybody knew, the men whom everybody came to look up to for consolation in affliction or in sorrow; when it came upon him, then it brought sorrow and affliction to every village, to every little town, to every man in Ireland. There were, at this time, upwards of eighty convents of religious, Franciscans and Dominicans, in Ireland, that numbered very close upon a thousand priests of each order. There were nearly a thousand Irish Franciscans, and nearly a thousand Irish Dominican priests, when Henry began his persecution. He was succeeded, after a brief interval of thirty years, by his daughter Elizabeth. How many Dominicans, do you think, were then left in Ireland?
There were a thousand, you say?
Oh, God of heaven!
There were only four of them left, only four!
All the rest of these heroic men had stained their white habit with the blood that they shed for God and for their country. Twenty thousand men it took Elizabeth, for as many years as there were thousands of them, to try to plant the seedling of Protestantism on Irish soil. The ground was dug as for a grave; the seed of Protestantism was cast into that soil; and the blood of the nation was poured in, to warm it and bring it forth. It never grew, it never came forth; it never bloomed! Ireland was as Catholic the day that Elizabeth died at Hampton Court, gnawing the flesh off her hands in despair, and blaspheming God, Ireland was as Catholic that day as she was the day that Henry the Eighth vainly commanded her first to become Protestant.

Then came a little breathing-time, a very short time, and in fifty years there were six hundred Irish Dominican priests in Ireland again. They studied in Spain, in France, in Italy. These were the youth, the children, of Irish fathers and mothers, who cheerfully gave them up, though they knew, almost to a certainty, that they were devoting them to a martyr’s death; but they gave them up for God. Smuggled out of the country, they studied in these foreign lands; and they came back again, by night and by stealth, and they landed upon the shores of Ireland; and when Cromwell came he found six hundred Irish Dominicans upon the Irish land. Ten years after, only ten years passed, and again the Irish Dominican preachers assembled to count up their numbers, and to tell how many survived and how many had fallen. How many do you think were left out of the six hundred?
But one hundred and fifty were left; four hundred and fifty had perished, had shed their blood for their country, or had been shipped away to Barbados as slaves. These are the tales their ruins tell. I need not speak of their noble martyrs.

Oh, if these moss-grown stones of the Irish Franciscan and Dominican ruins could speak, they would tell how the people gave up everything they had, for years and years, as wave after wave of successive per seditions and confiscations and robbery rolled over them, rather than renounce their glorious faith or their glorious priesthood.

When Elizabeth died, the Irish Catholics thought her successor, James the First., would give them at least leave to live; and accordingly, for a short time after he became king, James kept his own counsel, and he did not tell the Irish Catholics whether he would grant them any concessions or not; but he must have given them some encouragement, for they befriended him, as they had always done to the House of Stuart. But what do you think the people did? As soon as the notion that they would be allowed to live in the land took possession of them, and that they would be allowed to take possession of the estates they had been robbed of, instead of minding themselves, the very first thing they did, to the credit of Irish fidelity be it said, was to set about restoring the Franciscan and Dominican abbeys. It was thus they restored the Black Abbey in Kilkenny, a Dominican house; they restored the Dominican Convent in Waterford, Multifarnham, in Westmeath, and others; and these in a few months grew up into all their former beauty from ruin, under the loving, faithful, restoring hands of the Irish people.

But soon came a letter from the king; and it began with these notable words: “It has been told to us, that some of our Irish subjects imagined that we were about to grant them liberty of conscience.”
No such thing!
Liberty of conscience for Irish Catholics!
No!
Hordes of persecutors were let loose again, and the storms of persecution that burst over Ireland in the days of James the First. were quite as bad and as terrible as any that rained down blood upon the land in the days of Queen Elizabeth. And so, with varying fortunes, now of hope, and now of fear, this selfsame game went on. The English determined that they would make one part of Ireland, at least, Protestant, and that the fairest and the best portion of it, as they imagined, namely, the province of Ulster.

Now, mark the simple way they went about it. They made up their minds that they would make one province of Ireland Protestant, to begin with, in order that it might spread out by degrees to the others.
And what did they do?
They gave notice to every Catholic in Ulster to pack up and be gone, to leave the land.
They confiscated every single acre in the fair province of Ulster; and the Protestant Primate, the Archbishop of Armagh, a very holy man, who was always preaching to the people not to be too fond of the things of this world; he got forty-three thousand acres of the best land of these convents in fee.

Trinity College, in Dublin, got thirty thousand acres. There were certain guilds of traders in London, the skinners, tanners, the dry-salters; and what do you think these London trade associations got? They got a present of two hundred and nine thousand eight hundred acres of the finest land in Ulster! Then all the rest of the province was given in lots of one thousand, one thousand five hundred, to two thousand acres, to Scotchmen and Englishmen. But the very deed that gave it obliged them to take their oath that they would accept that land upon this condition, not so much as to give a day’s work to a labouring man, unless that labouring man took his oath that he was not a Catholic. And so Ulster was disposed of.

That remained until Cromwell came; and when the second estimate was made of the kingdom it was discovered that there were nearly five millions of acres lying still in the hands of the Catholics.
And what did Cromwell do?
He quietly made a law, and he published it; and he said, on the 1st of May, 1654, every Catholic in Ireland was to cross the Shannon, and to go into Connaught.
Now, the river Shannon cuts off five of the western counties from the rest of Ireland, and these five counties, though very large in extent, have more of waste land, of bog, and of hard, unproductive, stony soil than all the rest of Ireland. I am at liberty to say this, because I, myself, am the heart’s blood of a Connaughtman.

If any other man said this of Connaught, I would have to say my prayers, and keep a very sharp eye about me, to try to keep my temper. But it is quite true; with all our love for our native land, with all my love for my native province, all that love won’t put a blade of grass on an acre of limestone; and that there are acres of such, we all know. It was an acre of this sort that a poor fellow was building a wall around.
“What are you building that wall for?” says the landlord. “Are you afraid the cattle will get out?”
“No, your honour, indeed I am not,” says the poor man; “but I was afraid the poor brutes might get in.”
Then Cromwell sent the Catholics of Ireland to Connaught; and, remember, he gave them their choice. He said, “Now, if you don’t like to go to Connaught, I will send you to hell!“

So the Catholic Irish put their heads together, and they said: “It is better for us to go to Connaught. He may want the other place for himself.” God forbid that I should condemn any man to hell; but I cannot help thinking of what the poor car man said to myself in Dublin once. Going along, he saw a likeness of Cromwell, and he says, “At all events, Cromwell has gone to the devil.”
I said, “My man, don’t be uncharitable. Don’t say that; it is uncharitable to say it.”
“Thunder and turf!” says he, “sure if he is not gone to the devil, where is the use of having a devil at all?”

At any rate, my friends, wherever he is gone to, he confiscated at one act five millions of acres of Irish land; with one stroke of his pen, he handed over to his Cromwellian soldiers five million acres of the best land in Ireland, the golden vale of Tipperary included. Forty years later, the Catholics began to creep out of Connaught, and to buy little lots here and there, and they got a few lots here and there given to them by their Protestant friends. But, at any rate, it was discovered by the government of England, that the Catholics in Ireland were beginning to get a little bit of the land again; and they issued another commission to inquire into the titles to these properties, and they found that there was a million two hundred thousand acres of the land recurred to the Catholics; and they found, also, that that land belonged to the crown; and the million two hundred thousand acres were again confiscated.

So that, as soon as the people began to take hold of the land at all, down came the sword of persecution and of confiscation upon them. And Cromwell himself avowed with the greatest solemnity that as Ireland would not become Protestant, Ireland should be destroyed. Now, is it to excite your feelings of hatred against England that I say these things? No, no; I don’t want any man to hate his neighbour I don’t want to excite these feelings. Nor I don’t believe it is necessary for me to excite them. I believe, sincerely I believe, that an effort to excite an Irishman to a dislike of England would be something like an effort to encourage a cat to take a mouse. I mention these facts just because these are the things that Ireland’s ruins tell us; because these are at once the history of the weakness and the sadness, yet of the strength and of the glory, of which these ruins tell us. I mention these things because they are matter of history; and because, though we are the party that were on the ground, prostrate, there is nothing in the history of our fathers at which the Irishman of today need be ashamed, or hang his head.

But if you want to know in what spirit our people dealt with all this persecution, if you want to know how we met those who were thus terrible in their persecution of us, I appeal to the history of my country, and I will state to you three great facts that will show you what was the glorious spirit of the Irish people, even in the midst of their sorrows; how Christian it was and how patient it was; how forgiving and loving even to our persecutors it was; how grandly they illustrated the spirit of duty at the command of their Lord and Saviour; and how magnificently they returned good for evil. The first of these facts is this: At the time that England invaded Ireland, towards the close of the twelfth century, there were a number of Englishmen in slavery in Ireland. They were taken prisoners of war; they had come over with the Danes, from Wales, and from North Britain, with their Danish superiors; and when Ireland conquered them, the rude, terrible custom of the times, and the shocks that all peaceful spirit had got by these wars, had bred so much ferocity in the people, that they actually made slaves of these Englishmen! And they were everywhere in the land. When the English landed in Ireland, and when the first Irish blood was shed by them, the nation assembled by its bishops and archbishops in the synod at Armagh, there said, “Perhaps the Almighty God is angry with us because we have these captive Christians and Saxons amongst us, and punishes us for having these slaves amongst us. In the name of God we will set them free.”

And on that day every soul in Ireland that was in slavery received his freedom. Oh, what a grand and glorious sight before heaven! A nation fit to be free, yet enslaved, yet, with the very hand on which others try to fasten their chains, striking off the chains from these English slaves! Never was there a more glorious illustration of the heavenly influence of Christianity since Christianity was preached amongst the nations.

The next incident is rather a ludicrous one, and I am afraid that it will make you laugh. My friends, I know the English people well. Some of the best friends that I have in the world are in England. They have a great many fine qualities. But there is a secret, quiet, passive contempt for Ireland; and I really believe it exists amongst the very best of them, with very few exceptions. An Englishman will not, as a general rule, hate an Irishman joined to him in faith; but he will quietly despise us If we rise and become fractious, then, perhaps, he will fear us but, generally speaking, in the English heart there is, no doubt a contempt for Ireland and for Irishmen. Now, that showed itself remarkably in 1666. In that year the Catholics of Ireland were ground into the very dust. That year saw one hundred thousand Irishmen, six thousand of them beautiful boys, sent off to be sold as slaves in the sugar-plantations of Barbados. That year London was burned, just as Chicago was burned the other day. The people were left in misery. The Catholics of Ireland, hunted, persecuted, scarcely able to live, actually came together, and, out of pure charity, they made up for the famishing people of London a present, a grand present. They sent them over fifteen thousand fat bullocks! They knew John Bull’s taste for beef. They knew his liking for a good beefsteak, and they actually sent him the best beef in the world, Irish beef. The bullocks arrived in London. The people took them, slaughtered them, and ate them, and the Irish Catholics said, “Much good may they do you!” Now comes the funny part of it.

When the bullocks were all killed and eaten, the people of London got up a petition to the Houses of Parliament, and they got Parliament to act on that petition; it was to the effect that this importation of Irish oxen was a nuisance; and it should be abated. But they had taken good care to eat the meat before they voted it a nuisance.

The third great instance of Ireland’s magnanimous Christianity, and of the magnanimity with which this brave and grand old people knew how to return good for evil, was in the time of King James. In the year 1689, exactly twenty years after the Irish bullocks had been voted a nuisance in London, in that year there happened to be, for a short time, a Catholic king in England. The tables were turned. The king went to work and he turned out the Irish lord chancellor because he was a Protestant, and he put in a Catholic chancellor in his place. He turned out two Irish judges because they were Protestants, and he put in two Englishmen, Catholics, as judges in their place. He did various actions of this kind, persecuting men because they were Protestants and he was a Catholic. And now, mark. We have it on the evidence of history that the Catholic archbishop of Armagh and the Catholic pope of Rome wrote to James the Second, through the lord lieutenant over the Irish Catholics there, that he had no right to do that, and that it was very wrong.

Oh, what a contrast!
When Charles the First wished to grant some little remission of the persecution in Ireland, because he was in want of money, the Irish Catholics sent him word that they would give him two hundred thousand pounds if he would only give them leave to worship God as their own consciences directed. What encouragement the king gave them we know not; at any rate, they sent him a sum of a hundred and fifty thousand pounds, by way of instalment. But the moment it became rumoured abroad, the Protestant archbishop of Dublin got up in the pulpit of Saint Patrick’s cathedral, and he declared that a curse would fall upon the land and upon the king, because of these anticipated concessions to the Catholics.

What a contrast is here presented between the action of the Catholic people of Ireland and the action of their oppressors! And in these instances have we not presented to us the strongest evidence that the people who can act so by their enemies were incapable of being crushed? Yes, Ireland can never be crushed nor conquered; Ireland can never lose her nationality so long as she retains so high and so glorious a faith, and presents so magnificent an illustration of it in her national life. Never she has not lost it! She has it today. She will have it if the higher and more perfect form of complete and entire national freedom; for God does not abandon a race who not only cling to Him with an unchanging faith, but who also know how, in the midst of their sufferings, to illustrate that faith by so glorious, so liberal, so grand a spirit of Christian charity.

And now, my friends, it is for me simply to draw one conclusion, and to have done. Is there a man amongst us here tonight who is ashamed of his race or his native land, if that man has the high honour to be an Irishman? Is there a man living that can point to a more glorious and a purer source whence he draws the blood in his veins, than the man who can point to the bravery of his Irish forefathers, or the immaculate purity of his Irish mother! We glory in them, and we glory in the faith for which our ancestors have died. We glory in the love of a country that never, never, for an instant, admitted that Ireland was a mere province, that Ireland was merely a “West Britain.” Never, in our darkest hour, was that idea adapted to the Irish mind, or adopted by the will of the Irish people.

And, therefore, I say, if we glory in that faith, if we glory in the history of their national conduct and of their national love, oh, my friends and fellow-countrymen, I say it, as well as a priest as an Irishman, let us emulate their example; let us learn to be generous to those who differ from us, and let us learn to be charitable, even to those who would fain injure us. We can thus conquer them. We can thus assure to the future of Ireland the blessings that have been denied to her past, the blessing of religious equality, the blessing of religious liberty, the blessing of religious unity, which, one day or other, will spring up in Ireland again. I have often heard words of bitterness, aye, and of insult, addressed to myself in the North of Ireland, coming from Orange lips; but I have always said to myself, He is an Irishman; though he is an Orangeman, he is an Irishman. If he lives long enough, he will learn to love the priest that represents Ireland’s old faith; but, if he die in his Orange dispositions, his son or his grandson will yet shake hands with and bless the priest, when he and I are both in our graves. And why do I say this? Because nothing bad, nothing uncharitable, nothing harsh or venomous ever yet lasted long upon the green soil of Ireland. If you throw a poisonous snake into the grass of Ireland, he will be sweetened, so as to lose his poison, or else he will die. Even the English people, when they landed, were not two hundred and fifty years in the land, until they were part of it; the very Normans who invaded us became “more Irish than the Irish themselves.” They became so fond of the country, that they were thoroughly imbued with its spirit. And so, any evil that we have in Ireland, is only a temporary and a passing evil, if we are only faithful to our traditions, and to the history of our country. Today there is religious disunion; but, thanks be to God, I have lived to see religious, disabilities destroyed. And, if I were now in the position of addressing Irish Orangemen, I would say, “Men of Erin, three cheers for the Church disestablishment! “And if they should ask me, “Why? “I would answer, “It was right and proper to disestablish the Church, because the Established Church was put in between you and me, and we ought to love each other, for we are both Irish!

Every class in Ireland will be drawn closer to the other by this disestablishment; and the honest Protestant man will begin to know a little more of his Catholic brother, and to admire him; and the Catholic will begin to know a little more of the Orangeman, and, perhaps, to say, “After all, he is not half so bad as he appears.” And believe me, my friends, that, breathing the air of Ireland, which is Catholic, eating the bread made out of the wheat which grows out on Irish soil, they get so infused with Catholic blood, that as soon as the Orangeman begins to have the slightest regard or love for his Catholic fellow-countryman, he is on the highway to become a Catholic, for a Catholic he will be, some time or other. As a man said to me very emphatically once: They will all be Catholics one day, surely, sir, if they only stay long enough in the country!

I say, my friends, that the past is the best guarantee for the future. We have seen the past in /some of its glories. What is the future to be? What is the future that is yet to dawn on this dearly-loved land of ours? Oh, how glorious will that future be, when all Irishmen shall be united in one common faith and one common love! Oh, how fair will our beloved Erin be, when, clothed in religious unity, religious equality and freedom, she shall rise out of the ocean wave, as fair, as lovely, in the end of time, as she was in the glorious ‘days when the world, entranced by her beauty, proclaimed her to be the mother of saints and sages. Yes, I see her rising emancipated; no trace of blood or persecution on her virgin face; the crown, so long lost to her, resting again upon her fair brow! I see her in peace and concord with all the nations around her, and with her own children within her. I see her venerated by the nations afar off, and, most of all, by the mighty nation which, in that day, in its strength, and in its youth, and in its vigour, shall sway the destinies of the world. I see her as Columbia salutes her across the ocean waves. But the light of freedom coming from around my mother’s face will reflect the light of freedom coming from the face of that nation which has been nursed in freedom, cradled in freedom, and which has never violated the sacred principles of religious freedom and religious equality. I see her with the light of faith shining upon her face; and I see her revered, beloved, and cherished by the nations, as an ancient and a most precious thing! I behold her rising in the energy of a second birth, when nations that have held their heads high are humbled in the dust! And so I hail you, O, mother Erin! And I say to you,
The nations have fallen, but you still art young;
Your sun is but rising when others have set;
And though slavery’s clouds round your morning have hung,
The full noon of Freedom shall beam round you yet

Culture, Tourism and the Self: Travels in name and space
medieval clothes

Image by timtak
Yuji Nakanishi, professor of Tourism at Rikkyou University, points out that “Japanese tend to associate tourism with historical landmarks, but foreigners are interested in people’s lives and their lifestyles,” he said. “Places like the fish market were never really considered a tourist site until quite recently, so both sides are really confused (Tanikawa, 2009).”

"A shop owner told me in an interview: ‘Tourists from China and Japan: here in the morning full of them, but they arrive, five minutes, and run away; they have their own schedule, take a picture and hurry; they don’t stay longer; they have ten minutes to see the church, twenty to see the museum, ten to go in another place.’ These tourists are seemingly not interested in cultural heritage but in collecting the icons of that culture." (Parmeggiani et al., 2010, p110)

Japanese tourists do different things. How should we make sense of them?

Summary
Japanese travel to places for symbols where they themselves provide the sights from the imagination or bodily via auto-photography, whereas Western tourists go places for sights which they interpret and narrate in their thoughts and words. The purpose in each case, of going all that way to experience otherness, is to return to an experience of self undiluted by other.

A few days ago in the village near our beach house, a rainy day, a group of Japanese tourists went from community centre to Buddhist temple, to road side shrine, collecting stamps as part of one of those uniquely Japanese "stamp rallies." No one came to the beach in front of our house. The panoramic view of inland sea, with gulls and fishing boats and its setting sun was of no interest to them. Likewise, this jaded old Westerner can not think of a more boring, more pointless tourism experience than a traipsing around a grey landscape collecting the blotchy red imprints left by a set of rubber stamps.

As Urry (2002) famously argues, Western tourism is about going to see something. This form of tourism has a very long tradition. The picture above left is from a stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral, England (Wells, 2002, p127, Crown Copyright NMR), the destination of Medieval Christian pilgrimage. Wells, and more famously the anthropologist Victor Turner (Turner & Turner, 1995) have argued that there is a visual bias to Christian pilgrimage, or that the destination of Christian pilgrimage is a located image, such as stained glass, a sacred image or icon.

That the Japanese word for tourism, Kankou is often glossed as "seeing the sights" persuades us that Japanese tourist too are interested in going to see. In fact the would "Kankou" originates n the Tao-Te-Ching which argues that rulers should travel to other countries so as to gain information on how better to rule their own. The passage which introduces the word "kankou" is a recommendation not to travellers but to hosts to " indicate (shiimesu) the (high)lights of your country." Even on a literal reading, "Kankou" (Japanese tourism) is about going to places where things are explained (note 0).

The stamp rally has its origins in the proof of visitation required of Japanese pilgrims during the Tokugawa period (Graburn, 1983; Reader, 2005), but before that Japanese accumulated pieces of paper stamped with sacred symbols for more than one thousand years. The religious act of Shinto, far more than prayer, is a form of pilgrimage, shrine-visiting, mairi or moude, a movement of the worshipper. And at the shrine, before amulets and sacred stamped pieces of card were distributed symbols: first branches of trees and stones, later stamped pieces of paper. The destinations provided the names. The destinations were the named places, the "meisho". But did Japanese pilgrimage destinations provide the sights?

Not only in the stamp rally but in many forms of Japanese tourism is the sight strangely eschewed. I can remember my disappointment when taken to the the ancient seat of regional government at Dazaifu to find only an empty field. Japanese tourists visit castle towns, such as the most famous, Hagi, where there is NO CASTLE TO BE SEEN! They visit ruins (‘of identity’ see Hudson, 1999; Plutschow, 1981) such as that visited by Matsuo Basho, where there is NOTHING to be SEEN at all. Hudson, citing Plutschow (1981, p22) argues that, "Basho’ choice of ato (ruin) was itself derived from the medieval Japanese tradition of travel diaries, wherein the significance of a place was determined by its history – its location in time, rather than by geography."

Traditionally shrines, the destination Japanese par excellence contained a prototypical meibutsu, the God-body (goshintai) of the shrine that might be a mirror, sword, jewel, or sacred stone but it was *forbidden to see this item*. The goshintai was situated symbolically . It was wrapped up in layer upon layer of cloth, box, inner shrine, out shrine and shrine walls (Hendry, 1995; Pilgrim, 1986; Bachnik & Quinn, 1994) partly to ensure that it was never seen at all. Shrines have the structure of an onion. The visitor may never become aware that there is anything at their centre, other than the fact that the visitor knows that something is there, symbolically. After all, shrines are the prototypical, great and famous, named place (meisho).

According to an informant, a Japanese tour guide, the vast majority of Japanese tourists visiting Ise Shrine today, visit the woods around the shrine, see at most its outer walls, and the souvenir shop, and the car park. Japanese tourists have thronged to Ise for centuries (especially inspired by stories of sacred symbols falling from the sky (fudaori), but without special appointment they do not see the shrine itself, much less the holy of hollies, the mirror of the sun goddess, the goshintai, prototypical named-thing (meibutsu) at its centre. Even those that do have special dispensation to enter the outer walls of Ise Shrine will be faced with that which Guichard-Anguis (2007) describes as the biggest difference between pilgrimage to Ise compared with that in Europe; the shrine building itself will have been rebuilt within the last twenty years. Even though Japanese are noted for their fondness of historical attractions, not only do they go to visit empty sites or ‘ruins’, the Japanese rebuild even the old sites and buildings anew. This is not just in the case of Ise Shrine but also in the case of Japanese homes, and Castles such as Osaka castle, as bewailed by XYZ.

The fact that sights are not so important as named significance may also explain the lack of attention to the maintenance of visual "authenticity," even in places such as Tokyo. Tomomitsu-Tomasson (2005) a research student in sociology, expresses her disappointment at arriving in Kyoto with a quote from Kerr’s damning portrait of the dark side of Japan (2002).

“How must Kyoto appear to one who has never visited here? Passersby clad in kimono going to and fro along quiet narrow streets between temples, rows of houses with black wooden lattices, glimpsed over tiled roofs the mountains covered with cherry blossoms, streams trickling at one’s feet….the traveler’s expectations must be high – until the moment when he alights from the Bullet train. He leaves the station, catches his first sight of Kyoto Tower, and from there on it is all shattered dreams. Kyoto Hotel cuts off the view of the Higashiyama hills, and big signs on cheap clothing stores hide Mount Daimonji.Red; vending machines are lined up in front of the temples. It’s the same miserable scenery you see everywhere in Japan, and the same people oblivious to it all” (Professor Tayama Reishi direct quote) (Kerr 2001:164/65). in Tomomitsu-Tomasson (2005), p 4.

In my new home town of Yamaguchi I have written about how sad it is that less is done to maintain traditional urban architecture such as in Tatekouji Street, since it is this type of sight, that is the essence of a tourist attraction and destination. That Japanese are happy to visit Kyoto and Yamaguchi without demanding visual authenticity is again a result of their relative lack of interest in the visual dimension of tourist destinations.

Finally, it just seems to me that the Japanese are not so interested in views. The fact that I continue to live in an more recently purchases house with excellent views, or that I have a panoramic view from the window where I now write drives this home. I feel considerable empathy with the words of the Blondie song, "All I want is a room with a view," and seek to live in places which command a view. In Japan, however it is said that "high places attract smoke and stupid people," and while the high places may be elevated social positions, I think that it may also apply to the more literal interpretation. Perhaps part of my preference for views is my stupid desire to look down on things and other people.

Why do Japanese go to these symbolically significant named-places places, rather to interpret visual sites?

It seems to me that the answer can be found in theories of the Western, and Japanese self.

Here I should have a long introduction to (cross cultural psychology)
Origins in Triandis’ Hofestede’ collectivism
Markus and Kitayama turn around
Heine rejection of the need for self regard
Oyserman/Takano/Yamagishi attacks on collectivism
Hong YY and more so, Nisbett/Masuda cognitive turn
Kim and Non-Linguistic thought, and in her second paper on that topic on self expression, the non-linguistic self

And then ask what, phenomenologically is the self in the West and Japan like? What is it like to have an independent self? What is felt to be self? What is felt to be not self? How can one have a "interdependent self" what does hat feel like? What phenomena are felt to be self in that situation?

And then me (ha!)

For the Westerner, the self is the self narrative. Tourists of the MacCannelian or Cullerian kind visit and play ethnographer or semiologist (MacCannell, 1976; Culler, 1988) regarding the sights that they see. The Western tourists provides the narrative because they are narrative and the sight is the otherness which they attempt to interpret. To these tourists the things that they see are signs but they are signs which have the structure of an alibi (Culler, 1988; Barthes,1972), signing off to a meaning which the tourist, in their phonetic inner narrative, provides. The Western tourists may take of photo of the sight, or better still purchase a photo upon the reverse of which she will narrate herself in this location. The Western tourist goes to see and say. Like ethnologists or anthropologists they use the phenomenological technique of bracketing away preconceptions (the more other unusual, opaque to the interpretations that they have to hand that a sight is the more that task is performed for them) and then they make pronouncement upon the sights that they see. This transcendental meditation employed by Western Anthropologists and Tourists alike, can be described in the following way,

From this new transcendental standpoint Husserl maintained that the manifold stream of contingent world-objects could be perceived in a new way, giving ‘a new kind of experience: transcendental experience’. The transcendental ego because a ‘disinterested onlooker’ whose only motive is neutrally to describe ‘what he sees, purely as seen, as what is seen and seen in such and such a manner’ (Rayment-Pickard, 2003)

Japanese tourists on the other hand do not go to provide symbols about sights, but to provide sights or images regarding symbolic locations. The symbolic sites visited by Japanese tourists, the named places, the named things, do not have the structure of the alibi (see Hansen, 1993) but are the signs themselves. That Japanese tourists go to places with literary, historical, named significant, that they vistic symbolic geographies as been ascribed (as all things Japanese always are) to their "groupism," and also, in the face of Westernisation, to their nostalgic desire to return to their historical routes, to their self. This latter interpretation hits the mark I think because the Japanese self is a space (Kanjin; Hamaguchi, 1997) , a primordial space (Nishida 1993; Watsuji 1979; see Mochizuki, 2006) a mirror (Kurozumi). When the self is a space, then the concept of travel presents inherent difficulties. How can space travel? I argue that the Japanese tourists’ interest in historical, literary, or otherwise famous named-places, and named-things is because it is not the place but the name that they are visiting. The Japanese travel to places precisely because they are "encrusted with renown,&quot (Culler); and are all the more happy if as at shrines, or ruins, their is nothing to see because it is in the space of their mind that they provide the images to go with the otherness of the symbols that they are visiting. Indeed in a sense they do see that holy of holies, the mirror of the sun goddess in the internal space that is the Japanese mind.

Lacan argues that the self is at the presumed intersection of linguistic self signification -self narration, and visual self reflection, mirrorings and imagingings. Neither the symbolic nor the imaginary can say or see itself. The word can not enunciate the enunciated even in time since it is always delayed, defered (Derrida, 1998), never the person that it was what the attempt was started. Husserl’s "living present" is always already gone. Likewise, the minds eye is unable to see itself. It requires the admixture of an other, the image of oneself, the name of oneself for each to enable the self to wrap around upon itself and self itself into self hood. This admixture is to be kept to a minimum. The self image in the West is external, when identified a sign of vanity or ‘narcissism’. The word or symbol in Japan is external, and when internalised an impurity of mind (See Kim, 2002).

In either case, these essential impurities or ‘supplements,’ which are both required to complete and are additional to self(Derrida, 1998) are washed away in the experience of tourism when the Western and Japanese tourist meets the other as image or symbol respectively. The transcendental meditation for the Japanese tourist, at the British Museum, at the Named Place ruin of a famous castle, at the walls of Ise Shrine, becomes a interested visualiser of the place hidden in time, behind those walls. Souzou ga fukuramu. Images spring to mind. And even as the "Kankou" they shut their eyes to the world (Hitomi wo Tojiru) and call to mind the glory of the place they are visiting and in that experience, see themselves as the visual space, place or soul, that they believe themselves to be.

If either the Western tourist leaves something of himself it narratival. He signs a guest book. He narrates himself on a postcard (postcards are not sold for writing upon in Japan but only as packs, as symbolic souvenirs).

The Japanese tourist on the other hand provides the images, not just in her own mind, but also in the form of auto-photography so central to the tourism experience in Japan.

These differences have important implications for the tourist industries catering to Western and Japanese tourists.

When serving Japanese tourists it is important to provide the names, the narrative the guidebooks (which Japanese tourists themselves prepare in relative abundance), the words. They must also be provided the opportunity to provide images: above all to to imagine, and also to photograph themselves. Tourist destinations that do not have words related to them (iware no nai) are not of interest. Japanese tourist travel all the way to the lake district in the North of England, ignoring the beauty of the Powys hills completely, because the former have no literature – no words associated with them. They avoid the markets of London concentrating on the British museum and tower since the latter are redolent with renown. Japanese tourism providers need to counter the ocular turn of contemporary tourism theory and as the Japanese policy paper at the start of the ”tourism-oriented country" advocates a return to the original meaning of Kankou, or rather the provision of Kankou, which is not merely in the gaze directed, but in the of indication of facts, of nominal, symbolic entities.

"When promoting tourism it is therefore essential to return to this [etymological] origin of tourism, and create revolution in the very notion of tourism. The origin of tourism is not just looking at famous places and scenery, or seeing the sights, in regard to the the things that the local population feel happy about, to the things that the inhabitants of a certain land feel proud of and "indicating these highlights." (note 1)

Those especially in Japan however, who are catering to Western tourists should be aware that a place does not need to have a name for the Western tourist to want to visit it. In fact it helps if (other than the "markers" to find it) the destination is un-named "authentic" since the Western visitor provides the words. He is the words that he provides. These ethnographic, phenomenological tourists want to narrate, pronounce, theorise (what I am now doing) about the things that they see and in so doing they (I make myself shiver) have a transcendental experience of who they are, the words that drift across the universe of ‘exterior’ visual phenomena. Give us a view, any view, something to speak about, a picture and postcard, a picture postcard, above all give us something to see and some means by which they can narrate and we will be happy. There are such opportunities in every Japanese village not only the famous ones. Western tourist go to see spaces and places, and there is (or should be) much more for them to see. Alas at present, or until recently, the Japanese presume that their visitors are also Japanese and "indicate the highlights" (Kankou) or show the Named-places only. Very recently, there is a trend to promote regional tourism resources which do not have a name, this geographical tourism (shock!) had to be given a neologism "jitabi," since the very concept of simply going to see a place was alien to the Japanese.

Finally the above theoretical position resolves the problem how tourists can be going in search of authenticity (MacCannell, 1986) even in blatantly inauthentic "post tourism" (Urry, 2002) sites: on tour we bring ourselves to confront the other of the self, we find our self in maximal authenticity.

Bibliography created using Zotero
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Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. (A. Lavers, Trans.). Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Culler, J. D. (1988). Framing the sign. Univ. of Oklahoma Pr.
Derrida, J. (1998). Of grammatology. JHU Press.
Rayment-Pickard, H. (2003). Impossible God: Derrida’s theology. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Graburn, N. H. H. (1983). To pray, pay and play: the cultural structure of Japanese domestic tourism. Université de droit, d’économie et des sciences, Centre des hautes études touristiques.
Guichard-Anguis, S. (2009). The Culture of Travel (tabi no bunka) and Japanese Tourism. In A. Guichard-Anguis, O. Moon, & M. R. del Alisal (Eds.), Japanese Tourism and Travel Culture (1st ed., pp. 1–18). Routledge.
Kerr, A. (2002). Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan. Hill and Wang.
Hamaguchi, E. 恵俊浜口. (1982). 間人主義の社会日本(The Japanese Society of Spatial-Personism my trans). 東洋経済新報社.
Hansen, C. (1993). Chinese Ideographs and Western Ideas. The Journal of Asian Studies, 52(02), 373–399. doi:10.2307/2059652
Hendry, J. (1995). Wrapping Culture: Politeness, Presentation, and Power in Japan and Other Societies. Oxford University Press, USA.
Hudson, M. (1999). Ruins of identity: ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands. University of Hawaii Press.
Kim, H. (2002). We talk, therefore we think? A cultural analysis of the effect of talking on thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
MacCannell, D. (1976). The tourist: A new theory of the leisure class. Univ of California Pr.
Mach, E. (1897). Contributions to the Analysis of the Sensations. (C. M. Williams, Trans.). The Open court publishing company. Retrieved from www.archive.org/details/contributionsto00machgoog
Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. (2003) "Creating a Country which is Good to Live in and Good to Visit." www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/kanko/kettei/030424/houkoku.html#I
Mochizuki, T. (2006). Climate and Ethics: Ethical Implications of Watsuji Tetsuro’s Concepts:‘ Climate’ and‘ Climaticity’. Philosophia Osaka, 1, 43–55. Retrieved from ir.library.osaka-u.ac.jp/metadb/up/LIBPHILOO/po_01_043.pdf
Nakashima, Y. 中島義道. (1997). 「対話」のない社会―思いやりと優しさが圧殺するもの (A Society without Dialogue; Things Suppressed by Sensitivity and Kindness. My Trans). PHP研究所.
Nishida, K. (1993). Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview. University of Hawaii Press.
Tanikawa, M. (2009, April 7). In Kyoto, a Call to Not Trample the Geisha. The New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/world/asia/07iht-geisha.html
Parmeggiani, P., Burns, P. M., Lester, J. M., Bibbings, L., & others. (2010). Integrating multiple research methods: a visual sociology approach to Venice. Tourism and visual culture, Volume 2: Methods and cases, 94–110.
Pilgrim, R. B. (1986). Intervals (‘ Ma’) in Space and Time: Foundations for a Religio-Aesthetic Paradigm in Japan. History of Religions, 25(3), 255–277.
Plutschow, H. (1981). Four Japanese Travel Diaries of the Middle Ages. Cornell Univ East Asia Program.
Reader, I. (2005). Making pilgrimages: Meaning and practice in Shikoku. University of Hawaii Press.
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Urry, J. (2002). The Tourist Gaze. SAGE.
Tomomitsu-Tomasson, J. (2005). Furusato and Theme Parks: Cultural Authenticity and Domestic Tourism. Furusato and Theme Parks: Cultural Authenticity and Domestic Tourism. Unpublished essay submitted for coursework: The Tourist Gaze, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from www.lancs.ac.uk/postgrad/tomomits/authenticity.pdf
Watsuji, T. 和辻哲郎. (1979). 風土―人間学的考察 (Climate: Human Observation. My Trans.). 岩波書店.
Wells, E. J. (2011). Making ‘Sense’ of the Pilgrimage Experience of the Medieval Church. Peregrinations Journal, III(2), 122–146. Retrieved from peregrinations.kenyon.edu/vol3_2/raw_materials/Wells/Pere…
Wittgenstein, L. (1973). Philosophical Investigations (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall.

note o
「易経」の「観国之光利用賓于王」(「国の光を観しめす(みるとも読む)、もって王の賓たるに用いるによろし」と読む)、すなわち「国」とは、当時の中国の状況からみてひとつの地域を表し「光」とは、地域のすぐれたものないし特色を意味するとされる。
The [relevant passage] of the Tao Te Ching reads "*Indicating* [Shimesu, Kanagmiru] the lights of the country are good to use as hospitality for a king". where country mean the localities of contemporary China, and "lights" [highlights] refer to the superior or special things of that locality. (my translation, my emphasis, and my comments in brackets).

note 1
観光立国の推進に当たっては、まずはこうした「観光の原点」に立ち返ること、つまり「観光」概念の革新が必要になる。観光の原点は、ただ単に名所や風景などの「光を見る」ことだけではなく、一つの地域に住む人々がその地に住むことに誇りをもつことができ、幸せを感じられることによって、その地域が「光を示す」ことにある。 「国の光を観る」 −観光の原点−

note 2
I think that the primordial space of the Japanese self (Nishida’s ba), or the "climate" (Wasuji’s fudo) can best be understood from a Western perspective as the "Field of Vision" (Mach, 1897). The visual field pictured in Mach’s self portrait is usually seen, if existing at all, as being a form of barrier ("veil" "tain" or "hymen") between self and the world. To the Japanese this field, this primordial space, however, is the pure experience of self (Nishida, Zen no kenkyuu), as self-inseparable-from-spatial-other. This Japanese self is however separate from the world of symbols but, Japanese need the admixture of symbol, the name, their own name, for the Japanese child to believe that the their body houses this ephemeral mirror. In Japan it is precisely the linguistic which is public (Nakashima, 1997) and space, place and vision which as private as it gets. Taking a balanced view, neither images nor language are more private than the other, both requiring an other to have meaning, but it took Westerners almost two millenia to realise that language is meaningless if private (Wittgenstein, 1973).

SIBIU – Young women in traditional dresses
medieval clothes

Image by Fergal of Claddagh
These young ladies were not uploaded for some technical reason or other, sorry! They are dressed in the style of clothing once popular in Sibiu. It would appear to have heavy influences of Germanic and Lutheran traditions.

___________

SIBIU HISTORY
Hermanstadt and the German Colonists

Sibiu’s history is closely linked to the history of the German colonists in Transylvania: it was them who founded Sibiu in the middle of the 12th century, on the remains of an old Slavic settlement.
With constant attacks coming from the Mongol tribes, it took Sibiu (or ‘Hermannstadt’ as it was called in the 13th century) three centuries until it reached its full potential.

By the mid 16th century, Sibiu was a flourishing medieval city, run by powerful craftsmen guilds and having developed strong political and commercial links with the Occidentals capitals. Although both Austro-Hungarians and Ottomans have tried to take over Sibiu in their numerous territorial conflicts, the city managed to heal its war wounds very fast and continued to progress. The German population continued to represent the majority; therefore, Sibiu became a Lutheran city after the Reform. In addition to its religious and commercial importance, Sibiu was the site of several scientific innovations: the first paper mill in Romania, the first pharmacy, the first printed book in Romanian language, the first rocket designed by Conrad Hass.

Sibiu as Part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
When Transylvania became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Sibiu was chosen as the capital of the principality. When Romanians were finally granted the freedom of religion by Emperor Joseph II, Sibiu became the centre of Romanian Orthodoxy. This overlapped with the efforts made by Romanian intellectuals to revive national values and fight against Hungary’s annexation of Transylvania in 1867.

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Cool Medieval Clothes images

by admin on May 28, 2012

Some cool medieval clothes images:

feel the spirit….find your way
medieval clothes

Image by Daniel Voyager
slurl.com/secondlife/VALHAL/171/211/46
roleplay clothing gor gorean medieval middleage outfits Fantasy elven celtic free woman Jewelry gowns boots shoes blood scars piercings piercing roman viking cloaks Leather Tartan kilt kilts romantic cuddle explore dance couple dance ba

feel the spirit….find your way
medieval clothes

Image by Daniel Voyager
slurl.com/secondlife/VALHAL/171/211/46
roleplay clothing gor gorean medieval middleage outfits Fantasy elven celtic free woman Jewelry gowns boots shoes blood scars piercings piercing roman viking cloaks Leather Tartan kilt kilts romantic cuddle explore dance couple dance ba

feel the spirit….find your way
medieval clothes

Image by Daniel Voyager
slurl.com/secondlife/VALHAL/171/211/46
roleplay clothing gor gorean medieval middleage outfits Fantasy elven celtic free woman Jewelry gowns boots shoes blood scars piercings piercing roman viking cloaks Leather Tartan kilt kilts romantic cuddle explore dance couple dance ba

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Cool Medieval Clothes images

by admin on February 29, 2012

A few nice medieval clothes images I found:

The hobbit came upon a person in strange clothing
medieval clothes

Image by One lucky guy
"Good heavens! Poor chap has tore his trousers to ribbons! Those won’t do at all for afternoon tea!" said he.

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Wonderful Medieval Clothes pictures

by admin on January 11, 2012

Check out these medieval clothes photos:

Tribal Jewels – Bellydancers at Wollongong Medieval Reasonable
medieval clothes

Picture by Vanessa Pike-Russell
IMGP7484

Tribal Jewels Bellydancers at Wollongong Medieval Fair
medieval clothes

Image by Vanessa Pike-Russell
IMGP7483

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