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Ireland – 1571

THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, County Galway Photo:  Boomur  Wikimedia Commons

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, County Galway
Photo: Boomur
Wikimedia Commons


January 12, 1824 (abridged)

The following is the character of the Irish as described by Campion, in 1571:-
“The people are thus inclined: religious, franke, amourous, irefull, sufferable, of pains infinite, very glorious, many sorcerers, excellent horsemen, delighted with warres, great almsgivers, passing in hospitality. The lewder sorte, both Clarkes and Laymen, are sensual, and loose to leachery above measure. The same being vertuously bred up, or reformed, are such mirrours of holiness and austeritie, that other nations retaine but a showe or shadow of devotion in comparison of them.

As for abstinence and fasting, this is to them a familiar kind of chastisement; in which virtue and divers other, how farre the best excell, so farre in gluttonie and other hateful crimes the vitious they are worse than too badde.

They follow the dead corpes to the grave with howlings and barbarous outcryes, pittyful to appearance, whereof grew (as I suppose) the proverbe ‘to weepe Irish’. The uplandish are lightly abused to believe and avouche idle miracles and revelations vaine and childish, greedy of prayse they be and fearful of dishonour. And to this code they esteeme their poets who write Irish learnedly, and penne their sonnetts heroicall, for the which they are bountifully rewarded. But if they send out libelies in disprayse, thereof the gentleman, especially the meere Irish, stand in great awe.

They love tenderly their foster children, and bequeathe to them a child’s portion, whereby they nourish sure friendships, so beneficiall every way, that commonly five hundred kyne and better are given in reward to winne a nobleman’s child in foster. They are sharpe witted, lovers of learning, capable of any studie whereunto they bend themselves, constant in travaile, adventurous, instructable, kind-hearted, secret in displeasure.”

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