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THE

HISTORICAL WORKS

OF

GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS

CONTAINING

THE TOPOGRAPHY OF IRELAND, AND THE HISTORY OF

THE CONQUEST OF IRELAND, TRANSLATED BY

THOMAS FORESTER, M.A.

THE ITINERARY THROUGH WALES, AND THE

DESCRIPTION OF WALES, TRANSLATED BY

SIR RICHARD COLT HOARE. Bart.

REVISED AND EDITED, WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES, BY

THOMAS WRIGHT, M.A., F.S.A., &c.

LONDON GEORGE BELL & SONS

A.^ 1905

933,3

l^Heprinted from Stereotype plates.^

BOSTON COLLEGE LffiRABY CHESTNUT HELL, MASS.

^^^ -2 1973

PEEFACE.

GiEALDijs Cambbeksis, SO Called from the country Oi which he was a native, was born about the year 1146, and belonged to one of the most distinguished families in South Wales. A Norman, or Anglo-Norman, chieftain had esta- blished himself in that district, and left to his family a name taken from the little island of Barri, on the coast of Q-lamorganshire. William de Barri, the head of this family in the reign of king Stephen, was lord of the princely castle of Manorbeer, in Pembrokeshire, and became allied by marriage with one of the most remarkable families in Wales. Ehys ap Tudor, prince of South Wales in the reign of William Bufus, had a daughter named Nesta, cele- brated for her beauty, and for other accomplishments, who became the concubino of king Henry I., and was subse- quently married to Gerald de Windsor, castellan of Pem- broke. From this marriage sprung the illustrious family of Eitzgerald. William de Barri, just mentioned, married Angharad, the daughter of Gerald de Windsor and the princess Nesta, whereby the Barris became related both to the powerful Norman family of the Fitzgeralds, and to the princes of South Wales and the numerous families of Welsh chieftains who claimed kindred with them. Giraldus, the author of the historical treatises, of which we now pub- lish a translation, was the youngest of the sons of William de Barri and Angharad ; and was no doubt named after hia maternal grandfather, the castellan of Pembroke. In

S

W PEEFACE.

one of the books translated in the preseL.t volume, Giraldui relates how his cousins effected that extraordinary series of exploits, the conquest of Ireland ; and it was the unity of family of the conquerors, and their great connections in Wales, which made them objects of jealousy, for their suc- cess, to king Henry. The same feeling of jealousy was ex- tended to Giraldus himself ; and, according to his own state- ment, stood in the way of his advancement to the bishopric of St. David's ; and this circumstance will explain many sentiments expressed by him in various parts of these writings.

Giraldus was born in the castle of Manorbeer, and, as he says, displayed in his childhood a love for literature, and for the ecclesiastical profession, which led his father to call him "his little bishop." His education was entrusted to the care of his mother's brother, David Fitzgerald, bishop of St. David's, with whom he remained until he had reached his twettieth year; and then he repaired to Paris, and gained great distinction in that University. He returned to England in 1172, and obtained ecclesiastical preferment ; but his activity in correcting the abuses in the church gained him many enemies. In 1176, the see of St. David's became vacant, and the chapter chose Giraldus as their bishop ; but the king refused his consent to his election, and Giraldus and the canons were compelled to yield. Peter de Leia, prior of Wenlock, was chosen in his place. He returned to Paris, and continued his career in that cele- brated University, where he rose to great honours ; but he came home again in 1180, repaired to his archdeaconry of Brecknock, and was appointed administrator of St. David*8 during a temporary absence of the bishop. During the few years preceding, the first conquest of Ireland had taken place. King Henry, visiting the borders of Wales in 1184, became acquainted with Giraldus, and, admiring hi« *«arning, took him to court. He employed him on several

PBEFACE. r

occasions in diplomatic negociations with the "Welsh, made bim one of his chaplains, appointed him preceptor to hia son, prince John, and, in 1185, sent him with the young prince to Ireland, in the quality of secretary.

G-iraldus was evidently a zealous, if a rather credulous, observer and collector of facts. It was during this visit to Ireland that he occupied himself diligently in collecting materials for a description of that country, and remained there for that purpose some time after the departure of prince John. The result was his " Topography of Ireland," which he began to compose soon after his return to "Wales, a little after the Easter of 1186, and completed in 1187. Its completion gave occasion for a remarkable display of the writer's vanity and love of ostentation. He recited his book, which was divided into three parts, which he called by the then fashionable term of distinctions, before a public audience of the university of Oxford on three successive days ; and, to give more ejffect to this proceeding, he gave on each day a sumptuous feast. The poor people of the town were entertained on the first day; the doctors and students of greatest distinction on the second ; and on the third the other scholars and the burghers and soldiers. Giraldus was evidently very proud of the sensation he had made on these occasions ; for in one of his books (that De Gestis Suis, lib. ii. c. 16), he declares that it was worthy of the classic ages of the poets of antiquity, and that nothing like it had ever been seen in England. Its effect appears to have been to increase his celebrity.

In the latter part of this year news arrived of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, and all "Western Europe was thrown into a state of great excitement. Preparations were made on every side for a new crusade ; and Henry II., though too prudent a monarch to be led away by the enthusiasm to vhich it gave rise, could not avoid seeming to encourage ft. He accordingly proclaimed the crusade ; and Baldwin,

n PEEFACE.

fL'Vflbisliop of Canterbury, was sent to preach it in "Wales. Giraldus was appointed to accompany the archbishop, in which tnere was no doubt a stroke of policy ; for our author was then, known throughout Wales as the champion of the rights and independence of the "Welsh church against the pretensions of the metropolitan see of Canterbury ; and it was thought that, by joining him in the mission, the fears and suspicions of all who might be inclined to look with distrust upon the visit of the English metropolitan would be silenced. It is probable, indeed, that the presence of Giraldus, the Welshman who had morally been raised to the see of St. David's, did give favour in the eyes of the Welsh to archbishop Baldwin's preaching ; although the vanity of the archdeacon led him to believe that his own marveUoTis eloquence was the chief element in their suc- cess. This expedition is the subject of one of the most in- teresting of his books, the " Itinerary of Wales," which was compiled with the avowed intention of immortalizing the acts of the archbishop, and especially of his companion, the archdeacon.

In the year 1189, Griraldus accompanied Henry II. on his last expedition into Trance, and he appears to have been present at that king's death. The new king, Eichard I., shewed the confidence he placed in our writer, by sending him immediately to "Wales, to persuade his countrymen to abstain from revolt, and he appears to have fulfilled his mis- sion with success. We find a further proof of the king's consideration, in the circumstance, that, when Bichard de- parted for the Holy Land, he appointed Griraldus, who had obtained a dispensation from the crusade, to be coadjutor with the bishop of Ely, in the administration of the king- dom. Our author was now so confident in his expectation of obtaining, through the king's favour, the high ecclesiasti- cal preferment to which he aspired, that he refused the lesser bishoprics of Bangor, in 1190, and Landafi*, in 1191, but his

PEEFACE. VU

seem to have met witli continued disappointment, until, at length, he quitted the court, and, being preventea from going to Prance by the breaking out of war between the two countries, he retired to Lincoln, where he gave him- self to his old literary occupations. And he remained in this retirement several years. In 1198, Peter de Leiadied, and the bishopric of St. David's thus again became vacant. Giraldus was elected by the chapter, and opposed by the archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, who refused to accept the nomination on the same grounds which had been previously alleged by king Henry II., that it would be dan- gerous to the English supremacy to appoint a Welshman to the metropolitan see of Wales. Meanwhile king Eichard died, and king John, whose favour Giraldus enjoyed, gave him reason to expect that his election would now be con- firmed ; but the king yielded to the arguments of the arch- bishop, and, after a rather obstinate struggle on the part of the canons of St. David's to sustain their choice, the election of Giraldus was set aside, and the bishopric of St. David's was finally conferred on Geoffrey de Henelawe, in 1203. In the course of this dispute, in which an appeal was made to the pope, Giraldus gave so much off'ence to king John, that that monarch proclaimed him an enemy to the crown, accusing him of a design to raise a rebellion among the Welsh, and seized upon his lands. He, however, made his peace with the king, after the election of Geoffrey de Henelawe; but, having resigned his archdeaconry in favour of one of his nephews, and retaining only his two church preferments of canon of Hereford, and rector of Chesterton, in Oxfordshire, he retired finally from public life. The see of St. David's was again vacant in 1215, and was offered to Giraldus, but he was now unwilling to accept it. We know nothing of his history during the rest of his life, but he appears to have died in the year 1223.

Such was Giraldua de Barri, or Cambrensis, the writer ol

fUl PREFACE.

the four works translated in the present volume, and of mary otners, most of which have been preserved. In these writings he appears to us in the character of what we may truly describe as an elegant scholar, deeply learned in the learning of his day, and widely read in classical and medieval literature. He was evidently a diligent collector of facts, but he was at the same time a man of extraordinary credu- lity, as all who read the following treatises will soon dis- cover. Yet the information he gives us is almost always curious, and we feel in every instance that it is the bona fide result either of his own observations, or of his own in- quiries. In common with "Walter Mapes, and others of his contemporaries, he was fond of anecdote, and the continual introduction of popular stories into his writings not only render them extremely interesting, but give us very curious pictures of life and manners in the twelfth century. Our readers will soon detect another characteristic of Q-iraldua Cambrensis, which is not less apparent than his credulity I need hardly say I mean his vanity. He seldom omits an opportunity of speaking of his own writings, and almost always in a laudatory vein of talking of his own eloquence, of which he was evidently proud or of setting forth his own deeds with the utmost degree of self-satisfaction. He also affects humour and wit ; but this consists too often in puns and jokes upon words which tend rather to confuse than to amuse the reader. "With all these different qualities, Griral- dus Cambrensis is one of the most agreeable prose writers of the middle ages.

The four books contained in the present volume are those which may more strictly be called the historical treatises of G-iraldus Cambrensis. The Topography of Ireland, as already stated, was completed in the year 1187, and was dedicated to king Henry II. The History of the Conquest of Ireland appears to have been commenced immediately «fter the completion of the Topography, and was dedicated

PEEFACE. . IX

to Bicliard, count of Poictiers, then the heir to the cvo.vn of England, which he inherited some two years afterwards as Eichard I. In the preface to the description of Wales, he informs us that this history was the labour of two years, so that he must have completed it just before that prince ascended the throne. At a later period he published a re- vised edition of this book, and dedicated it tc king John. The Itinerary through Wales, which was intended to com- memorate the mission of archbishop Baldwin to preach the third crusade to the "Welshmen, and the part which Griraldua himself acted in it, was dedicated to archbishop Langton, and therefore cannot have been completed before the year 1207, when that prelate was elected to the see of Canter- bury. The Description of Wales, or the Topographia Cambrice, appears to have preceded, in the date of its composition, the Itinerary, as the first edition was dedicated to Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, who occupied that see from 1186 to 1203 ; but a second and probably enlarged edition was subsequently published, and dedicated, like the Itine- rary, to archbishop Langton. In the account of his own writings, given in a letter addressed to the chapter of Here- ford, Giraldus tells us, that in order to make his country better known, as well as to occupy his leisure, and exercise his talents, he had drawn " a map of the whole of Wales, with its lofty mountains and dense forests, its principal lakes, rivers, and castles, many cathedral churches and mo- nasteries, especially those of the Cistercian order," and that this was executed in a small space, on a single leaf, but per- fectly distinct and clear. The loss of so singularly curious a record is greatly to be regretted. It appears that G-iral- dus had already imbibed the taste for writing topographies when he composed that of Ireland, for in various passages in that and his other works he announces his intention of writing similar works for Wales, England, and Scotland. One only of these plans he fulfilled, when he published thAt

S PEEFACE.

of Waxes, the extent and plan of whicli differ very consi- derably from those of the Topography of Ireland. We have every reason I'or believing that the Topographies of England and Scotland, which appear to have been delayed until tlie close of his life, were never written. It is certain that no Buch works are known to have existed.

It only remains to add, that the translations of the Topo- graphy of Ireland and the Yaticinal History of the Conquest are the work of Thomas Forester, Esq., well known by many excellent translations of our medieval chroniclers and historians, published in Bohn's Antiquarian Library. They are the first complete translations of these books that have ever appeared. The translations published by Sir Eichard Colt Hoare, in 1806, have been adopted for the Itinerary and Description of Wales. All have been carefully revised on the original texts by the editor. A large portion of the notes on the Topography of Ireland are by the editor, while the rest, with nearly all those on the history, are by the translator. Sir Eichard Colt Hoare took the Itinerary as a frame on which to build a large work on the local history and antiquities of Wales, and it was neither possible nop desirable to give the whole of his notes in the present volume. In abridging them the editor has retained chiefly that part which related to the history of the different places visited by G-iraldus down to the time of his visit, and to the description of scenery or antiquarian remains. The words of Sir E. C. Hoare are retained, with the exception of a few necessary alterations and corrections ; and wherever the writer speaks in the first person, the reader will under- stand that Sir Eichard alone is responsible for the state- TDeut or opinion.

T. W.

THE TOPOGRAPHY OF lEELANl);

ITS MIEACLES AND WONDERS.

BY

8ILVESTEE aiEALDUS CAMBEENSIS.

THE TOPOGRAPHY OP lEELAND.

THE AUTHOE'S FIEST PREFACE.

When I reflect that our life is short and fleeting, I am filled with admiration of the noble aims of those men of genius who, before their path for the future was yet plain, resolved on making it their principal object to leave behind them some excellent memorial, by which they might secure enduring fame, and at least live in after-times, when their brief span of existence had ended. Thus we read in the books of cele- brated poets :

" Denique, si quis adhuc prsetendit nubila livor, Occidet J et meriti post me referentur hoaores.** ^

" Should clouds of envy still around me spread, Harmless on me their venom wiU be shed, And honour's meed be mine, when numbered with the dead."

A-nd elsewhere :

" Quaque patet domitis Romana potentia terris, Oro legar populi, perque omnia ssecula, fama, Si quid habent veri vatum praesagia, vivam." ^

" Far as the power of Rome the world obeys, All climes and nations shall peruse my lays j And, if inspired poets can divine, Renown, through endless ages, shall be mine."

This was the first, and main, incentive with the greatest authors to undertake their works. There was another, second indeed in merit as well as in order, namely, the pa-

1 Statius, Thebaid, xi. 818, 19. « Ovid. Met. xv. 877—9.

B 2

4 I'HE TOPOGBAPHT OF lEELAKD.

tronage, reward, and encouragement of illustrious priiiu»^». For honours are the nurses of the liberal arts :

" Nam si Yirgilio puer et tolerabile desit Hospitium, caderent omnes a crinibus hydrse." ' " The snakes, bad Yirgil no Meesenas found, Shook from the Furies' head, had dropt upon the ground.**

And again :

" Quis locus ingenio, nisi cum se carmine solo Vexant, et dominis Cyrrhae Nisseque feruntur Pectora nostra, duas non admittentia curas." ^ " What room for fancy say, unless the mind, And all its thoughts, to poetry resigned, Be hurried with resistless force along By the two kindred powers of wine and song."

The philosophy, however, which loves a happy mean and modest independence, neither revelling in wealth, nor ex- posed to poverty, seems to have been condemned by Solomon : " Grive me, O Lord, neither riches nor poverty, but only what things are necessary for subsistence." For, although mediocrity is not allowable in poets,

" Won dii, non homines, non concessere columnse ;" ' " Which gods, nor men, nor critics will permit ;"

still, if their wits be slender, there is no reason why they should not possess a moderate competence.

When, therefore, at any former period, the last mentioned inducement to write ceased, poetry began to fail. Not, in- deed, that poetry was altogether lost, or philosophy extinct ; nor did the imperishable records of glorious deeds ever fall into oblivion. Letters were not wanting, but lettered princes. The liberal arts had not disappeared, but the honours which ought to attend them were withheld. There would be no lack of eminent writers at the present day, if there ivere none of enlightened rulers. Grive but a Pyrrhus, and you will have a Homer; a Pompey, and you will have a TuUy ; a Caius and Augustus, and a Virgil and Horace will follow in course. While, then, in our case, the second motive for writing fails for want of patrons, the first and most powerful of those I have mentioned urges me on. Eor

' ^UT. Sat. vii. 69, 70. ^ lb. vii. 64—67. ^ Hor Ars Poet. 37?.

THE AtJTHOE's FIEST PEEFACE. 5

nothing can better tend to kindle the sparks of mental vigour, and fan the innate fire into a flame, than that, sup- ported by so many and such great authorities, and borne, as it were, upon their shoulders, we may rise to eminence by the aid of their manifold grandeur, if only we have confi- dence in ourselves. Nothing is so great a hindrance to bold attempts as diffidence. Despair of success is fatal to all efibrts for obtaining it ; so that many men of praiseworthy talent and learning have for this reason lived in idleness and seclusion, and while they shrunk from proving their abilities by active exertion, their brilliant merits remained hidden. Hence it happens that numbers of men of the greatest learning grow old without knowing their own powers ; and turning the force of their genius to no account, for want of vigour of mind, perish like the beasts, and their names are lost in oblivion.

Since, then, " there is little difference between powers not called into action and buried in sloth ;" since " fear is the token of a degenerate mind ;" "a work well begun is half ended ;" and " fortune favours the brave ;" I have resolved on writing, preferring rather to incur the ridicule of the envious and malicious, than to seem in the judgment of worthy persons to shrink from my task through fear. Nor am I deterred by the example of Cicero, who says : "I do not compose a poem on that subject, because I cannot write such verses as I could wish, and those which I can I am unwilling to write." My own determination is this, and on this subject it is very decided

" Cum neque chorda sonum reddat, qiiem viilt manus et mens, [Poscentique gravem perssepe remittit acutum :] Nee semper feriet, quodcunque minabitm' arcus."*

" For oft the strings the intended sound refuse ; In vain liis tuneful hand the master tries ; He asks a flat and hears a sharp arise ; Nor always will the bow, though famed for art, With speed unerring wing the threatening dart."

Feancis.

If I cannot write as well as I would, I will at least write according to the best of my ability. Devoting myself, therefore, to a task requiring long and close application,

.^ ^ Hor. Ars Poet. 347—9.

6 THE TOPOGBAPHT OP lEELAND.

shall I be esteemed presumptuous or provident, exposing myself to the shafts of envious malice while I live, in the hope of possibly achieving a glorious reputation when my days are ended ?

After long musing on this subject, and after anxiously revolving it in my mind, at last it occurred to me that there was one corner of the earth, Ireland, which, from its posi- tion on the furthest borders of the globe, had been neglected by others. Not that it had been left altogether untouched, but no writer had hitherto comprehensively treated of it.

But it may be asked, " Can any good come from Ire- land ?" " Will its mountains drop sweetness, and its val- lies flow with milk and honey ?" Let us, then, endeavour to suck honey out of the rock, and draw oil from the flint. Let us follow the example of great orators, who, in an admirable manner, most polished the shafts of their elo- quence, when the poverty of their subject required it to be elevated by the superiority of their style.

Et ferat InvaHdse robur facundia causae.

It behoved them, therefore, to lavish the graces of elocu- tion on cases which were in themselves barren of interest, that, where reasoning little availed, language might do its best. Eor such is the eff'ect, such the power of eloquence, that there is nothing so humble which it cannot exalt no- thing so copious which it cannot amplify, nothing so obscure which it cannot clear up, nothing so clear which it cannot illustrate. Por, as the noble senator says in his Paradoxes : " There is nothing so incredible that it cannot be made pro- bable by the manner of putting it, nothing so rude and barbarous that a brilliant oratory cannot ornament and po- lish." But what can a discourse which has but a slender pith of sense, a barren waste of words, offer to erudite ears, and to men of the highest eloquence ? For it is useless, and altogether superfluous, to address the eloquent in bar- ren phrases, or to set before the learned things which every one knows. What sort of sounds would the cackling goose utter among tuneful swans ? Are we, then, to publish what is new, or what is already well known ? Men recoil with disgust from what is trite and common, while, on the other hand, novelties require the support of authority.

fHfi AUTHOR S FIEST PBErAdE 7

For, as Pliny says, " it is a difficult matter to give novelty to old subjects, authority to new; to embellish what is threadbare, shed grace on what is out of fashion, light on obscurities, give confidence in what is doubtful, and nature to all."

Notwithstanding, it will be my endeavour, in the best manner I can, to rouse the reader's attention, by setting before him some new things, either not before related or very briefly noticed ; exhibiting to him the topography of Ireland in this little work of mine, as in a clear mirror, so that its features may be open to the inspection of all the world.

I propose, therefore, to take, at least, a distinct view of this most remote island, both as regards its situation and character, explaining its peculiarities, so long hidden under the veil of antiquity, and searching out both the quali- ties and defects of almost all things which nature has pro- duced there, both for the ornament of the better class and the use of the lower orders. Besides this, I propose to unravel the stupendous wonders of nature herself, to trace the de- scent of the various tribes from their origin, and to describe from my own knowledge the manners and customs of many men. And since the country of which we treat is backward and feeble, it will be no small satisfaction to studious minds to survey, at least in thought, our better part of the world and its condition, having all things made easy to be under- stood.

This work is divided into three parts. The frst treats of the situation of Ireland, and its locality in reference to the Grreater Britain ; of the quality of the soil, its inequa- lities, and its various properties ; of the fishes and birds which are distinct from ours in place rather than in origin ; of wild beasts and reptiles, the nature as well as defects of the several species ; and of the absence of all venomous creatures. It will also contain a comparison of the East and the "West, showing that the West is deservedly to be pre- ferred. All which is distinctly noted in the titles prefixed to the several chapters.

The second part tells of the prodigies and wonderful works of sportive nature, not those only which are found in this country, but others also, of whatever kind and whep-

8 THE TOPOGEAPHT OP lEELAFD.

ever existing, which are of the same description. It also sets forth the famous records of Saints celebrated for their virtues, which were manifested by glorious miracles unknown to the world.

The third part treats, in regular order, of the first inhabi- tants of this country, and the various immigrants of diffe- rent nations, their arrival and departure ; of the habits and customs of the Irish race which inhabits the island to the present day, and of their subjugation by foreign invaders. In short, it gives a history of all that is worthy of notice re- specting this nation to our own times.

In the two first parts I have found no direct evidence from the Irish records, nothing from other sources, except the advantages I derived from personal inquiry, which could aid me in my task. It is only in the third part, which treats of the inhabitants of the island and the origin of the various races, that I obtained some information from their own chronicles. But these having been heaped together by the native writers in a loose and disorderly manner, with much that is superfluous or absurd, and being composed in a rude and barbarous style, I have digested them, with much labour, as clearly and compendiously as I could, like one seeking and picking up precious stones among the sands on the sea-shore, and have inserted whatever was of most value in the pre- sent volume. But since, from the wretched state of human imperfections,

* Judicis argutum labor hie formidat acumen ;' * ' I tremble at the critic's shrewd review ;' if not the work itself, at least the author's design has claims to commendation. Eor the love of study is praiseworthy ; nor does it appear immeritorious to have had some regard for reputation amidst the regtdar and almost insupportable cares of attendance at court. Be it his praise, then, that while the body was subject to servitude, the mind was free. And since it is the part of a wise man to take breath in the refreshment of his own spirit of cheerfulness when at times he is worn by outward vexations, and to diversify wearisome employments by an interchange of such as are agreeable, nothing that is pleasant being considered a task, dignified leisure intervening between the multifarious calls of business 18 surely worthy of commendation.

1 Ars Poet. 369.

THE authoe's second peepace.

THE AUTHOE'S SECOND PEEFACE.

SILVESTER aiEALDUS CAMBRENSIS TO THE ILLUSTRI- OUS KING OF ENGLAND, HENEY II.

It hatli pleased your excellency, most invincible king of England, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to dispatch me from your court in attendance on Jofin, your beloved son, to Ireland. Coming there, not as a fugitive, but in some sort as a scout whose office it is to explore the country, I soon found occasion to remark many things which are quite diiFerent to what is found in other countries, and, being quite strange, are for their novelty- much to be wondered at. I, therefore, began to make dili- gent inquiries respecting the site and nature of the country, the origin of the race, their customs, how often, by whom, and in what manner, the island had been subjugated and conquered ; and what new and secret works, contrary to her ordinary rules, nature has stored up in these western and extreme borders of the earth. For beyond these confines neither land exists, nor is there any habitable spot either for men or animals ; but throughout the entire horizon, in boundless space. Ocean only sweeps around, and rolls its waves in unknown and unfathomable channels.

For as the countries of the East are remarkable and pre- eminent for some prodigies peculiar to themselves and ori- ginating there, so also the Western parts are dignified by the miracles of nature performed within their limits. For sometimes, like one wearied with serious affairs and realities, she withdraws and retires for a little space, and, as it were, sportively employs herself with extraordinary freaks in secret parts reverently and mysteriously veiled. Having, therefore, selected and made a collection of the most curious facts, I have deemed it a not unprofitable lar bour to bring those which appeared most worthy of notice into one point ol view and to submit them to your high-

10 THE T0P0GEAP3T OF lEELANB.

ness's careful coDsideration, of which scarcely any part of history has escaped the observation.

I might, indeed, have presented for your highness's ac- ceptance, as others have done, some little offerings of native gold, or falcons or hawks, with which the island abounds. But I thought it of little importance to offer to a mighty prince things which are easily procured, and are perishable in their nature, but rather preferred to send to your high- ness what cannot be lost, and thus, through you, instruct posterity by means which no lapse of time can destroy.

I esteemed it also a worthy undertaking to give a short account in writing of the virtues and victorious honour of yourself and your illustrious son, that the great glory they have conferred on our age may not be merely transitory, but, by the aid of letters, be firmly planted in the memory of posterity. Nor do I hesitate to believe that it may be well entrusted to your watchful care, that through the re- cords of such noble achievements, the minds of many in future times may be roused to increased vigour by the ad- mirable examples of valorous action ; and that the perusal of these pages may have the same effect as the statues and

f)ortraits of their ancestors had on men of old, rousing a audable spirit of emulation, not only in ardent minds, but in those which are feeble and sluggish ; fanning the sparks of impetuous valour in the one, and lighting up the £re of innate courage in the other.

CONTEUfTS OF THE CHAPTESS. H

CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTEES.

DISTINCTION I.

THE TOPOGEAPHT AND NATUEAL HISTOEY OP lEELAND. OHAPTEB FAOH

I. Of the situation of Ireland. Of the distance between Ireland and Britain. What land it has on the south and north, and on the east ; and how far distant . 17 n. Of the Spanish sea which embraces Britain and Ireland with two arms. How far Ireland corresponds with Britain in its dimensions and quahties. On the length and breadth of Ireland . . .17

III. Of the various opinions of Solinus, Orosius, Isidore,

and Bede ; some true, some erroneous . . 19

IV. Of the surface of the country, and its inequahties.

That the land is mountainous, and more gravelly than rocky. Of the fertility of the tillage-land ; and that the grains of corn are so light that they can hardly be winnowed from the chaff . . 20

V. Of the prevalence of wind and rain, and their causes. Of the prevailing north-west wind, which bows the trees in a certain direction . . .20

VI. Of the nine principal rivers, and several others which ^^ have burst forth of late . . . .22

VH. Of the lakes, and the islands therein. Of the fishes in the sea, rivers, and lakes, and the species which are not found in Ireland. Of some new species of fishes,

which are foimd no where else . . .25

Vlll. Of the birds, and those that are wanting, with their natural and allegorical significations. Of the hawk, falcon, and sparrow-hawk, and their natures . 2G

IX. Of the eagle, and its nature . . .30

X. Of the crane, and its nature . . . .34

XI. Of barnacles which grow from fir timber, and their

natures . . . . . .36

XII. Of birds of twofold species, and mixed breed . 37

XIII. Of martinets, and their natures . .38

XIV. Of swans and storks, and their natures , , 39

XV. Of birds wliich disappear in the winter . . 89

12 THE TOPOaEAPHT OP lEEiAKB.

CHAPTER PAGl

XVI. Of grasshoppers which sing the better when their heads are cut off ; and revive spontaneously after being long dead ... . . 40

XYII. Of the various kinds of crows found here, and their

natures . . . . . .41

XVIII. Of the croericE which are here white, and their natures 42 XIX. Of wild animals, and their kinds, with those that are wanting ; of stags, boars, and the small hares here. That all animals, except man, are more diminutive here than in other countries. . . .43

XX. Of the badger, and its nature . , .44

XXI. Of the beaver, and its nature . . . .44

XXII. Of weasels, and their natures . . . .46

XXIII. Of reptiles, and those that are not fotmd in Ireland ;

and that there are no venomous creatures How venomous animals die as soon as they are brought over, the poison losing its venom. How the soil of the coimtry destroys venomous reptiles. Of the leathern-thongs of this country used as an antidote against poison . . . . .47

XXIV. Of a frog, lately discovered in Ireland . . .50 XXV. Of the various advantages possessed by this island, and

the nature of the climate. That it is cooled by winds from all quarters. That the island has little need of physicians. That the Irish are only troubled with the ague . . . . .51

XXVI. A comparision of the East and West. That in the east aU. the elements are pestiferous. Of the veno- mous force of poison in the East, and of the unhealthi- ness of the climate . . . .52

XXVII. Of the singularly temperate character of our chmate, and

that we are happUy free from many disadvantages . 53 XXVIII. That the East is the fountain-head of poisons, and that more advantages are to be found in the West than in the East . . . . . .55

DISTINCTION II.

or THE WONDEES AKD MIEACLES OF lEELANB.

I. Of the very strong currents in the Irish sea, and the ebb

and flow of the tides therein . . . .59

II. Of the difference of the tides in Ireland and Britain . 59

III. Of the influence of the moon on the waters as well as

on natural humom-s . . . .60

IV. Of two islands, in one of which no one dies, in the

other no animal of the female sex enters . . 61

V. Of an island, one part of which is frequented by good

spirits, tlie other by evil spirits . . .63

CON^TEl^TS OF THE CHAPTEES. 13

CHAPTKB PiUJB

VI. Of an island where human corpses exposed to the atmos- phere do not suffer decay . . . .64 TIL Of the wonderful natures of some fountains . . 65 VIII. Of two extraordinary fountains, one in Britany, the other

in Sicily . * . . . . .69

IX. Of a vast lake, which originated in a remarkable manner 70 X. Of a fish which had three golden teeth , , .72

XI. Of the Northern islands, most of which are in subjec- tion to the Norwegians . . . .73 XII. Of an island which was at first floating, and afterwards

was firmly fixed by means of fire . . .73

XIII. Of Iceland, which is inhabited by a people of few words*

but truthful, who never take an oath . . 74

XIV. Of a whirlpool in the sea, which sucks in ships. '. 75 XV. Of the Isle of Man, which, on account of the venomous

reptiles it harbours, is considered to belong to Britain 76 XVI. That islands were formed long after the flood, not sud- denly, but by degrees, from alluvial matter . . 76 XVII. Of Thule, the Western island, very celebrated among the Orientals, but totally imknown among the people of the West . . . . .77 XVIII. Of the Giants' Dance, which was transferred from Ire- land to Britain . . . . .78 XIX. Of the prodigies of our times j and first, of a wolf which

conversed with a priest . . . .79

XX. Of a woman who had a beard, and a hairy crest and

mane on her back . . . , ,84

XXI. Of an animal which was half-ox, half-man . . 85

XXII. Of an animal engendered by a stag and a cow . . 86

XXIII. Of a goat which had intercourse with a woman . 86

XXIV. Of a Hon that was enamoured of a woman . . 87

XXV. That cocks in Ireland crow at different hours from

those in other countries . . . .87

XXVI. Of wolves which whelp in the month of December . 88 XXVII. Of the ravens and owls which once had young ones

about Christmas . . . . .88

XXVIII. Of miracles of saints ; and first, of the apples and ravens

and blackbirds of St. Keiwin. . . .88

XXIX. Of St. Colman's teal, which were tamed by him, and

cannot suffer injviry . . . . .93

XXX. Of the stone in which a cavity is every day miraculously

filled with wine . . . . .95

XXXI. Of the fleas which were got rid of by St. Nannan . 95

XXXII. Of the rats wliich were expelled from Femigenan by St.

Yvor. . . . . . .96

XXXIII. Of a wandering bell . . , . .96

XXXIV. Of various miracles in Kildare ; and first, of the fire

which never goes out, and the ashes which never in-

> a . 96

14l THE TOPOGEAPHT OF lEELAKD.

OHAPTEB PAOH

XXXV. How the fire is kept aliye by St. Brigit, on her night . 97 XXXVI. Of the hedge round the fire, which no male can enter . 97 XXXVII. Of the falcon in Kildare, which appeared tame and do- mesticated . . . , , .98 XXXVllI. Of a book miraculously written . . .99 XXXIX. How the book was composed .... 100

XL. Of the places of refuge miraculously protected by the

saints ...... 100

XLI. Of the salmon-leap . . . . .102

XLII. How they leap . . . . . .102

XLIII. Of the Hfe of St. Brendan . . . .103

XLIV. Of the cross at Dublin, which spake and bore testimony

to the truth . . . . . .103

XLV. How the same cross became immovable . . 104

XLVI. How a penny, offered before the cross, twice leapt back, but the third time, after confession made, remained ; and of the iron greaves that were miraculously restored 105 XL VII. Of a phrenetic at Ferns, who predicted future events . 105 XL VIII. Of an archer, who crossing St. Brigit's hedge was struck with madness ; and of another who lost the use of his leg . . . . . . 106

XLIX. Of the seed wheat, which being cursed by the bishop of Cork, failed to spring up, and the year following was miraculously produced from rye . . 106

L. How Philip of Worcester was struck with sickness at

Armagh, and Hugh Tyrrell divinely scourged . 107

LI. Of the mill which will not work on Simdays, nor grind

any corn which has been pilfered or pillaged . 108

LII. Of the mill of St. Fechin, which no woman may enter 108 LIII. How two horses, having fed on oats piUaged from thia

mill, immediately died . .... 108

LIV. How some