fm

''•',. v

m
-

-.

*

Mm $$131 M

-. '

illillllls

"
Ktfffl

Rto

1

Hbiflf

.'

'>-'

'J'''JM''-, '

'

'.•.': .'''" .''

'-,

.

DUBLIN THE MARGARET STOKES LECTURES. MUIREDACH ABBOT OF MONASTERBOICE 890-923 a.ALEXANDRA COLLEGE.d. 191 3 .

.

.

-^ .

.d. A. PROFESSOR OF CELTIC ARCHAEOLOGY. UNIVERSITY COLLEGE.. MACALISTER. DUBLIN DUBLIN HODGES.MUIREDACH ABBOT OF MONASTERBOICE HIS LIFE 890-923 AND SURROUNDINGS BY R.S. FIGGIS $P CO. .A. S. M.A. F. LIMITED io 4 GRAFTON STREET 1914 a.

min secge }>aet : : se leofa mannum hit is wurdres beam on )>rowode for mancynnes manegum synnum and Adomes eald-gewyrhtum : : . : God : syllicre treow bewunden . .j?uhte on me lyft J>aet ic lsedan gesawe leohte : beama beorhtost Nu ic }>e hate }>aet )>u ]>as : hseleS : gesyhSe onwreoh wordum se Se selmihtig .

R. A. to Mr. R. Dublin. to M'Googan my in the letterpress The underneath me . . under the foundation in Stokes. A. omis- and modifications) to express a desire to see ment of the subject is at the request of friends them in attempted : who were permanent form. H. have to express quaries . acknowledged to the Royal Society of Anti- acknowledgments Mr. They memory at Alexandra of Margaret are printed as delivered (except for a few additions. Crawford. for permitting and photographs belonging to them. and to Mr. Belfast . in 1913. Count Plunkett to S. is .PREFACE The Lectures contained in the following pages were delivered College. S. Welch. No kind enough exhaustive treat- the lectures profess to be nothing more than three brief hours' discourse. M. sions. to use blocks source of each illustration it. and are designed to stimulate interest rather than to satisfy I it.

.

CONTENTS PACK CHAP. MUIREDACH'S EUROPE » MUIREDACH'S IRELAND «5 MUIREDACH'S MONASTERBOICE 56 IX . III. II. I.

.

Panel 4. VII. A Winged 29 6. showing the corner brackets 31 Key 36 : VI. Lough Erne Shrine 30 7. Map of Europe 4 3. Keli. Patrick and Columba) B. . The Slab of Ruarcan 2 2. from Book of Kells 33 8. and a Procession of Ecclesiastics on a Cross at Ahenny. A Tenth-century Map The Cross of Durrow Crosses IV. illustrating devices for overcoming difficulties of perspective 47 [28] xi .d 12 [13] Finial in Ireland. a. . 27 Church at Kilmalkedar. . Reconstruction of an Irish Timber House 2$ 5. Kerry. World 13 19 Kells (unfinished cross) B. Panels from the broken Cross at Kells 38 9. (Market-place) V. Moone Abbey A. and Dress in 913 a. 13. to the Panels on the Cross Diagrams of Interlacing Patterns on the Cross 51 FIGURES 1. Durer's Drawing of Arms.d. Termon Feichin A. Co. Antrim 12. II. Spirals on Panel 4(> 10. Crosses : : of the Frontispiece . Co.46 in Yorkshire. Diagram of the Spiral Patterns on the Cross 48 15. . Wicklow. Solomon's Temple. . . Glendalough. Figure blowing a triple Flute. 1521 . Co. An Animal figured on a Font 14. 43 11. Armour. Co. . Kells (SS. 45 . Cross at Clonmacnois . Tipperary. showing the corner pilasters and the winged finial and the Righ-fheart Church.ILLUSTRATIONS PLATES PACE The Graveyard of Monasterboice and the Cross of Muiredach I. . .s . 40 . . The Objects figured on the Cross compared with actual specimkn> Fragment of a Harp from Lisnacroghera.23 C. III.

. Key-patterns on the Cross 53 19. Pilate Washing his Hands 32. Panel Paul and Antony breaking Bread [40] 37. 81 [41] .ILLUSTRATIONS xii F I G U RES— continued PAGE with interlaced Human Figures 16. Unexplained Panel 33. Panels ii. 18] [20]. Commission to Apostles 30. Paul and Antony. Panel 53 20. Meeting of 29. Aaron. Crucifixion [27]. Moses and the Rock 72 [19] 72 [21. Moses. . 22] [33]. . The Last Judgment [30-32] The Divine Hand [37] 31. 80 . 54 58-60] 55 [14] Inscription. • • . Panel 58 [15] [17. Horseman 35. Panel 17. Panels 70 26.82 84 . [29] [39. and 34. Panels 28. The Zodiac 69 25. Panel 22. . Magi 27. 50 75 78 79 [38] 79 [36] Hur [42] . 80 [43] 36. Panel [16] 73 [23] SS. Diagram of the same Panel 50 18. The two Cats and 23. Ground Plan of Monasterboice Churchyard 61 24.

or where some historic event was transacted or where of us have stood at an ancient building. In a remote corner of the graveyard lies a slab has lost being about ioo feet high. lights and the dangerous and the shadows. it was first set up where it stands to-day. with an Irish inscription to the 1 its memory of one Ruarcan : and amid the See the frontispiece. bravely painted as well. one of the tallest in Ireland. as only an eye- witness could. Our best historians can give us no more than an : outline. if less satisfying. And in this way let us try to hear what one of the most beautiful monuments in Ireland the Cross of Muirestone. been and with our imaginations we can hear its story. Even the fullest written records are so unsatisfying the bald abstract of the speech reads so cold on the printed page. and. and that in . ragged and unkempt. With our imaginations we can fit a tongue to the have. art of magic is denied endowed with a gift which. some famous man once stood and spoke and have indulged in the vain wish that the blind and deaf stone could have seen and heard. it may be. At one side rises the Round 1 Tower. — dach at Monasterboice —could tell us of the time when. the the finishing touches. and we long to add the background. is over. But the age of miracles us. We is at least less perilous. though it top. though dumb it somehow could find a tongue to tell us. even though our bodily ears may be deaf to its message. what took place on that great day. In the middle are Picture a small cemetery. even yet.MUIREDACH i MUIREDACH'S EUROPE Probably all some time by an ancient monument. A . the decaying remains of two small churches. fresh and polished from the sculptor's chisel. however.

His name was and beside us stands the Abbot at Muiredach. and. let us endeavour to hear the Cross of Muiredach recount something of its humbler memories. He so that if we suppose the Cross to have been died 26 November a. — The Slab of Ruarcan. That is all modern monuments. so that when he died he was probably of a fairly advanced age. and. We are transported back to the first day of its erection. FlG. 923 . Beside the important office which he held in Monasterboice. that time has left us of one of the most ancient Christian foundations in rises this cross the country. He became Abbot of Monasterboice in the year 890. son of Domhnall. Now let ornament of us stand in imagination beside the Cross which this lonely spot. i. he was tanist-abbot of Armagh. and whose name it is destined to commemorate through the coming centuries.d. {From a drawing by the author) whose charges it was set up.MUIREDACH 2 forest of them strangely tasteless and unsightly. one of them much broken. some of with two others. What is known of his life can be told in a sentence. though the notices of him in the Annals are so short and unsatisfying. High Steward of " head the Southern O'Neills. the of counsel of all the men of Bregia. as the great is the chief Saxon poet Cynewulf heard the Holy Rood tell its story. according to the Annals of Ulster. and ruled it for thirty-three years." He must thus have led a busy life. just about a thousand years ago. . as he has recorded for us in one of the most beautiful poems in existence.

while the and that mysterious people the pre-Celtic Picts in the East . Halley's Comet had seems to have been it " paid the earth its " the expresoff colour (if much as when it disappointed ourselves on Halley's Comet made an impression on literature sive colloquialism be allowed). its to that ill-omened visitor. It is of course impossible. 913 was a dark will and rainy year. the earth is passing through the year of grace 913. of its its will be to see.EUROPE 3 —some erected about a. It may be. first. . however. Let us now cast a glance over Europe.d. but year before. or to go into details that The Saxon Edward would have scarcely any bearing on the subject. as we stand beside the Abbot in front of the death—we make Cross that he has caused to be erected. right or wrong. King of England. In any case. Scotland was divided between the Celtic Scots in the West. : Probably it of the Cross. as well as undesirable. roughly speaking. was the Good." The periodic visitation. I. of which the scattered fragments above enumerated are all that are left. condition and especially erection : what in fact. its last whenever Usually but on appearance in a. it what the Cross could its influence upon tell us about Ireland. 913' ten years. 1 This date was chosen as being an even 1000 years before the date of these lectures.d. be a gloomy day as we stand beside the Abbot in front " Our Annals specially record for us that a. to give more than the broadest outlines. Wales was soon to enjoy the rule of her great lawgiver Howel or Edward the Elder. and we finally will interrogate it as to the life that passed around it in the monastery. Next we will try and imagine the monument speaking of life and manners in Ireland itself . and see something of its political condition at the time of the setting-up of the Cross. and was at the time engaged in the task of subduing the Danish settlers on the East Coast. except in a Byzantine Chronicle and in our own Annals of Ulster. return. let us the assumption that. before his cannot be very far wrong. at the time might have overheard if a conversation turning on foreign affairs had taken place beside it. Of course nothing like completeness of treatment can be we can pluck only a few flowers from the garland of interest pretended wound around this ancient monument. 912 it escaped notice altogether.d. Our scheme Europe. that the badness of the season was ascribed it appeared .

d. cross to the And the like elements of disturbance will be found if we European mainland. Germany. Orkneys. Hebrides. Belgium. His reign forms one of the most important his empire extended over what we now call epochs in European history : France. An Irish poet-historian once called " " Ireland oras na n-iorghal. — Map Just a hundred years before of Europe in 913 a. his descendants were wholly unworthy of him. and the Isle of Man—were in the pagan Vikings. where Saxons. Holland. Welsh. Fig.MUIREDACH 4 islands — Shetlands. Scots. As has so often been the fate of great kings. Danes. and Norsemen were brought into contact with one another. could be applied with equal fitness to the larger island. the house of contentions but the name hands of the still . —to — be exact. and Northern Italy. in 814 the great Teutonic King Charlemagne had died. Switzerland. . Picts. It split up into a number of subdivisions. and quite incapable of keeping together the gigantic empire of their great ancestor. 2.

finally the twelfth century did this sturdy little province individuality in the rest of France. Charles made no difficulty It in giving what was not his to give. being too proud to kneel. with the result that he upset the balance of the Majesty of France. he could. and probably brought on wars. a little later than our Cross. and so the bargain was concluded. and commissioned one of his lieutenants to carry and how even the deputy himout this humiliating part of the ceremony . is an oft-told tale how Hrolfr drew the line at kissing the royal foot when that he might. soon settled down into a wellordered state. Litany —A furore Normanniorum libera nos. In 911. on condition that Hrolfr should acknowledge Charles as his lord. the duchy of Brittany alone had remained outside Charle- Not till consent to lose its magne's empire. Normandy. from this and in manners. lord of the Vikings settled on the Seine. From the monasteries of Northern France there went up a virtue of necessity the petition added to the Dotnine. just two years before our critical date. surnamed the Simple. under the rule of Hrolfr. in literature. civilisation.EUROPE 5 and. if he swore fealty to Charles. Charles sent the Archbishop of Rouen. and embrace To these terms Hrolfr agreed. To Hrolfr then. made and ceded the rich province of Normandy to the Vikings. conquer Brittany. province and from the blood of its A century new masters. he had for a time. live at peace with the kingdom. self. during the hundred years that elapsed between the death of Charlemagne and the erection of our Cross. In France. . offering him the hand of the King's daughter and the hereditary lordship of Normandy. In those troubled times the weakness that earned him his contemptuous nickname was his safeguard an energetic man would have aroused jealousies and oppositions. King Charles. From this break-up of the empire of Charlemagne were born the chief nations of modern Europe. who were the scourge and terror of France no less than of Ireland. had succeeded in 898 to the throne of France. it . and in not more than twenty years' time was far ahead of the rest of France in and a half later. adding a further stipulation Christianity. tried to lift the King's foot to his lips. even though was subdued by the overwhelming might of the Northmen. Europe had witnessed the deplorable family history of the degenerate Carolingian dynasties.

now beginning the third century of her long subjection to From 711. The ruler of the one of the greatest of all oriental rulers. surnamed the Conqueror. who maintained their sovereignty for over seven hundred years. indeed. surnamed the Great. Magyar barbarians and Greek invaders in the north. had just died. the great King of Asturias. which this domination has left in local folklore and in place-names offer some of the most striking illustrations available of the value of the critical Mysterious works of antiquity are by the Spanish peasants ascribed to the Moors. : . too. It is utterly impossible to compress into a few words the bewildering complexities of Italian history and politics at the end of the ninth and beginning of the tenth century those interested must be left to follow out the subject for themselves. Muslims of Spain at the time was Abd er-Rahman III. of Spain had been blotted out. Italy. the fact at least could be recovered from the place-names many of the most important of these are easily recog. nisable Arabic words. was in a deplorable condition at the time. During the century before it had been harassed by the Saracens in the south. The many traces Spain was the Muslims. and. At the moment of history with : which we are concerned. The province of Asturias remained unconquered to this day the popular speech of that province is free from the Moorish idioms that can be detected in the colloquial language of other parts of the peninsula. who died in the year 913. and of whom very little is known. Only in the north of Spain was the incubus of Muhammadanism absent. as such remains are attributed to the Danes and if every record of the Arab dominion by our own country-people study of those subjects. and from time to time pillagings from inroads of intrigues the ubiquitous Vikings. Alphonso III. domestic and jealousies at Rome. like France and Germany after the death of Charlemagne. which he was only just beginning. the Christian part of Spain was distracted by the squabbles of his sons. He proved. who and to this were added the still held Sicily and part of the mainland . . The Pope was Anastasius III.MUIREDACH 6 there came Duke William. when the Moors had overrun the ancient Gothic kingdom. who was destined to enjoy a long and glorious reign of nearly fifty years. who changed the course of history in England. Spain was in the grip of the followers of Muhammad.

Archbishop died in the year that we are assuming for the erection of a thousand years ago. raging at the very moment when our Cross was erected. The history of Poland. This event altered the map of Europe for intruders. We can hardly doubt that echoes of these storms. was cast by the devil into the crater of Mt. These were the Magyars. hungry for more plunder. As though the Vikings and the Saracens were not misery enough for the Continent. adopted the fatal policy of history England. Etna. The first Hatto.EUROPE The rise 7 of feudalism had virtually divided Germany into a large of petty duchies. been was in the He of Mainz. according to the legend of our school books. in the Tower of the Rats. it was said. buying the which of course only brought them back again a year or two later. as of the other Hatto who was archbishop of the same province later in the same century. and indeed of the various area of Russia. tribes that They were fill fate of the great still almost we can hardly suppose that any knowledge of them other than vague hearsay had reached Ireland. another barbarous horde had burst into the middle of the Continent from the East. hands of whom was Hatto. barbarians off. They drove like a wedge right through the mass of the Slavonic In the disorders of the time. on account of his enormous Everyone knows the gruesome Rhineland story of the the second Hatto. one petty in their aid against another. an event of the greatest importance for the subsequent history of Central Europe had taken place. 913. crimes. so it is not necessary for us to occupy time with them. duke would to his call whole country —just as. among all the future. had hardly wholly pagan. For these the few people in the Continent speaking a language not . penetrated even to peaceful Monasterboice. chief of the Cross. Vortigern called in the aid of the The dukes Saxons and thus lost attacked. with consequences disastrous population of Eastern Europe. just memory of this prelate. which we cannot stop even to enumerate. in their turn. the founders of the interesting kingdom of Hungary. Just seven years before the date we have assumed for the erection of the Cross. The Louis was a child and any central government that there may have number King . In any case begun in a.d. Popular tradition preserved a lurid his regents. and became the scourge of inland Europe as the Vikings were the terror of the coast lands.

Constantine proved in time to be of the same kind. We now come to what was still the greatest power in Europe. as we stand newly erected Cross. Constantine VII.MUIREDACH 8 belonging to the Indo-European family. empire had fallen into the hands of a His child of seven years. When he was forty his regent died. so all in front of his Irish literature of a thousand years ago. these events are beside the is still Abbot more than thirty years away in the future." par excellence : thus the stantinople is Miklagarsr. and those of the East from the West. who had just died. obsessed by the spectre of Napoleon and the prospects of his invading England. The heirs of the Roman Empire were still established Constantinople Constantinople was still the chief city of Europe. and he quietly allowed them to manage his affairs till he was forty years of age. and indeed in the world. In the Icelandic sagas the name for Con" the big court. and the Saracens for a share in the spoil. sundered the Slavs of the North from the South. His kingdom was guided for him during his minority by regents. and became entirely Teutonised in religion and in language. who otherwise would certainly have disputed with the Magyars. had been a man of letters rather than of action. heir of the great of Constantinople In civilisation and in commerce it was the and the empire unforgotten days of Rome was the barrier which saved Europe from the inroads and still . Just as all English literature. and had remained so from the beginning. so far as it reflects . cut off from their brethren. Thus those of the North and West. while he amused himself " On the Administration of Empire " and another by writing a treatise " his time writing treatises On the Ceremonies and Etiquette of a Court. Just at the and had spent moment. the Vikings. this great on theology and on the art of war. father. except during the brilliant reign of Charlemagne. of the uncivilised tribes of Asia Minor." which display much curious and painstaking research. An outburst of popular indignation compelled the dilettante Emperor to come out of But his study. and the sons of the latter proclaimed themselves emperors. surnamed Porphyrogenitus. supremacy of Constantinople was acknowledged even in the most in : remote island of Europe. and to awake to the duties and responsibilities of his birth. lost their independence. not much more than a hundred years ago.

Thence in time they made a colony of Irish monks there before them. such as the Cross of Cong or the Psalter of artists of the way in which the abstract interRicemarch. and thence to Vineland the Good." That is the truth. cut on it by some wandering sea-rover. they made their way over the stormy North Sea. splendid literature similar to those which moulded the arts of the Celtic peoples. They were. and there. " " Who were the Vikings ? he will probanyone be asked casually " hordes of savage heathen sea-pirates from Scandinavia. and discovered Iceland about 850—-though." apparently coasts of France they travelled. In Venice there stands a stone lion formerly in the Piraeus by Athens. America. Not only were they thus bold explorers . Intrepid sailors. and likewise pirates. they forced the King to give them one of his best round by the west of Spain. of Gibraltar. to be sure. a few to complete words as to who on Ireland when the Cross was these people really were will be necessary this part of the subject. This bold faring across the open ocean was a very different matter from the nervous shore-hugging expeditions of those much over-rated people the Phoenicians.d. The Vikings or men of the bays " (for that is the meaning of the name) were the foreigners at the time. " their way to Greenland. ninth. is " better or worse had the greatest influence erected. berant imaginations. and. is almost revolutionary lacements of the native Celtic school give place to dragons of various kinds B : . their predecessors in active maritime enterprise. Along the northern : — . whose Arab chronicles speak provinces " " of them as the Aalad Majuj on through the Straits Sons of Magog N. Indeed the Scandinavian influence on the later works of Celtic art. heathen.EUROPE 9 obsessed by the spectre of the Northmen. who ably answer plundered everything they could lay hands on in the eighth. But we must not overlook the other side of the whole truth. which bears an inscription in Runes. and they developed what they learned to so high a pitch that they rivalled even the Early Christian Ireland. they were gifted with exu- Their rich and impressive mythology and their In art they had come under influences testify thereto. as they were the Europeans who for contemporary feeling at all. and If tenth centuries a. as we have seen. and as far as Greece. they found picture. but it very far from being the is Savage they undoubtedly were. moreover.E.

and so to spread the knowledge of foreign lands and their ways. however. In all this intercourse Ireland had its share. and malice not merely in its meteorology was the year dark and Such then. there was no little intercourse between the nations. Commercial and military opera- men from place to place. we do name inspired in Ireland. in return for the learning they acquired. full of envy. and the Apennines. at the literature they have left us. it is To some extent. like Erigena at the French court in the preceding century. must also have been instrumental in bringing back knowledge of foreign lands to Ireland . So left not unlikely that the Abbot has a fair knowledge of the details of the various countries over which we have been travelling in thought. may be seen in the Royal Irish Academy's collection in the National Museum in Dublin. France. When we glance. manners. by the works of art — was the setting of the world of Muiredach on the whole an evil and a depressing world. and missionaries like those who carried the light to Germany. and profited both materially and intellectually therefrom. In short.MUIREDACH io is undoubtedly due to the play of Scandinavian art-motives upon those practised by the Irish craftsmen. tions also served to bring Scholars. — they have left behind some of which. : gloomy ! Notwithstanding the disorders of which some indication has now been given. Dahomey more than anything else not wonder at the terror their Horrors reminding one of Benin or are recorded of them indeed are recorded with glee by themselves yet if estimated had attained to a standard of civilisation they certainly high — . in outline. the Vikings were a strange mixture of civilisation and barbarism. if ever so casually. and men who came Schools from abroad must have for study to the Irish behind. or customs were native to themselves. hatred. the question of his acquaintance with European geography is put beyond the region of speculation by a remarkable map . and pilgrimages Holy Places every traveller that went on these perilous journeys brought back with him a narrative of observations and experiences that gave him material for conversation for the rest of his life. from the Island Bridge Cemetery. Religious were to Rome or to the of Palestine frequent. a fuller knowledge of whatever language.

gave old it its is name easily recognisable Trinacria. knowledge it probably gives us a good idea of the in Ireland during the tenth century (p. and at the extreme In the right-hand top top (East) the island of Taprobane or Ceylon. so that Ireland appears in the lower left-hand corner. Working away to the North are the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea. . though it has lost made unmistakwould be hard to name familiar boot-like shape. " corner is an inscription which says. represents very fairly the geographical notions current at one time in Ireland is shown by a very interesting fact. cutting off Italy. When descrippossible to lay them down on this map. its is by having Rome conspicuously marked. It the islands that the artist has liberally peppered over the Mediterranean able Sea but Sicily . to the East Britannia. . To the North is Iceland. That this map. Armagh . Thus the most curious features it is the strange succession of wanderings backward and forward which the various tribes are supposed to have passed is 1 Class-marked Tiberius B. the other side is the Nile. 13). their connecting straits being greatly of the sea is but Constantinople clearly identifies this part of the world. divided among the tribes. not the North. our maps. East is . . or Book of Invasions of Ireland. with a firework of islands in which the Hebrides is In the centre of these appears to be and the Orkneys are combined. V. " in the Leabhar Gabhdla. The by the three-cornered shape large island like a starfish at the that mouth probably Sardinia. The Continent is cut through the middle by the Mediterranean." the inscription. Iona. unlike the only place in Ireland which is marked. but. it has the East. by an Irish to be found in a However artist. it has been supposed. which." one of tions of itineraries are given. Mount Sinai. ' that state of geographical be seen It will in the top may be. with the Straits of Gibraltar or Pillars of Hercules represented as actual columns at its mouth the Adriatic is recognisable. with Noah's ark on its top Babylon. that. the date of which is some sixty or eighty years later than our Cross. here they say there is a burning " in the left-hand top corner is a sketch of a wild beast with mountain " here lions are abundant.EUROPE 1 1 — Manuscript now in the British Museum a map drawn in England and for an Anglo-Saxon. with Alexandria at its mouth. One sees Mount Ararat. the Holy Land. Farther widened On .

relation to ledge. 1883). would now tell a story of a places. and less brought so near to Ireland that the distance between them is actually than the width of the Straits of Gibraltar. They must be considered in their setting and in their contemporary Europe. — Panel [13]. gives on the whole a very favourable way for the whole journey. but if this " —a map it person who stock epithet of Spain in tenth No one is drawn three-cornered. On an ordinary map they zigzag over the countries like a knight over . (From a drawing by the author^ . The history and antiquities of Ireland cannot be studied with profit as a subject apart. 3. in all no exception. art countries . . and should be treated as such. Even a sculptured cross in an our remote island is not a mere parochial monument and Ireland is inland cemetery in it is a fragment of European history. probably written originally some time in the tenth century. On this map they are more or less things in these tales of wanderings are explained at once. We are told that Ireland was discovered by a man who saw it from " " the top of a tower in Brigantia in Spain a wild enough story until you see a map in which the northern point of Spain is called Brigantia. straight lines. to Ireland . No one would now think is " of calling Spain three-cornered On century Irish poems.MUIREDACH 12 through before finally finding a these are unintelligible a chessboard. without home in Ireland. Many . of map shows Sea would open into the Northern Ocean. Royal Irish Acad. metrical treatise on geography in the Book of Leinster (see Proc. sailed over the the world were as this Caspian Sea. Fig. The idea of the geographical knowledge current at the time in Ireland. In the constant give-and-take of knowand civilisation must have received stimuli from without. rhyme or reason. and thus there is all the Caspian an open waterit.

Plate A Tenth Century Map of the World.) I . (From a photograph by Mr. Macbeth. D.

.

" Niall son of Aedh led a second hosting into the North of Ireland. . *5 ample which a certain South of Antrim and Down. in which the —such Annals of Ulster (by far the best and most trustworthy) or the Annals of the Four Masters. " Niall son of Aedh led a hosting into Dal nAraide. it natural to turn up one of the great collections of Annals. we will find a long entry. " The King of Ui Conaill was killed by the Ui Echach. " naval battle at the Isle of Man. If we turn to the Annals of Ulster for the year 913. 890. Battles.and in several battles routed the defenders of the district.d. murders. in which Muiredach found himself. of Monasterboice in a. and ruled error of a year or two in each date. it till 923. let us concentrate our attention on the Ireland of the end of the ninth and beginning of the tenth He succeeded to the Abbacy century.. and a large new fleet of Vikings A appeared in Waterford Harbour. There seems indeed at first sight justification for the lurid picture of life in ancient Ireland 1 The district between the Boyne and the 2 Liffey. and slaughters of one kind and another are the most conspicuous entries throughout the Irish Annals. and forty-five men were killed.II MUIREDACH'S IRELAND Turning now our eyes from Europe at large. with a margin of possible When we is wish to know what was going on in Ireland at any time. historians recorded current events recording such events as these " as the : Flann son of Mael-Sechnaill devastated the region of Bregia. 1 and violated several churches." The record of any year would be similar to this.

which it They at these is worse.1 MUIREDACH 6 from compilations such as these kind of bear-garden. Scoffers at the uncertainty of life in ancient Ireland may be reminded that even now. but because they are extraordinary. you would infer that in each case the event was abnormal. us make the wild supposition that there was a ferocious gang on the Dalkey road who as a matter of course killed everyone that passed then we let . would have newspapers the report of the brilliant achievement of escaping the danger and reaching Dalkey in safety. need not therefore trouble ourselves further to pity the Abbot for . . so that. modern newspapers. so little.drives We and faction-fights. that Ireland their was whole time a killing infer each other. the inhabitants of which spent class of writers love to depict. yet the organisation of the inhabitants into extenuating circumstances a congeries of loosely-knit clans. And we must also remember before passing verdict and sentence on the old world of Ireland that there were newspaper daily . if in reading a file of old newspapers you were to find one or other of these reports. ancient Irish Annals and the however. But now a . so of it. This way of looking is unscientific. but everywhere else. even if the people wished. they simply could not devote themselves to the arts of peace. Suppose man going from Dublin to Dalkey were set upon by highway robbers and killed the newspapers next day would be full of the details. It follows that the Annals of Ireland are full of tales of bloodshed not because there was much in the but because there was. with many excuses for mutual jealousies many : —the few outlets that there were at the time for natural and legitimate ambition the fact that not only in Ireland. a list of horrors quite as long and as deplorable could be compiled in the course of a month from any after a most of us go through life without being at all personally affected by such events. not merely unfair There is a real analogy between the records is. Both record events not because they are normal. fighting was — the business of every self-respecting man not devoted directly to the service of the Church the fact that a foreign foe had already estabstill — lished himself in Dublin. thousand more years of Christianity. on the whole. Thus. We must also remember " " that many of the events grandiloquently described as and hostings " were what in our less romantic days we should describe slaughters ' as cattle.

It was an age of simple faith. the year before the Abbot's election. there was a total eclipse of the sun. for though was by no means it a golden age. There was no lack of these in our Abbot's time. that the oracular utterances with which he is sometimes credited shrink down to a mere invocation of the divine name to utter a sound " " a Dhe that imaginative bystanders will take for does not seem a very difficult feat even for a baby of two months. in Ireland . as white as a swan. when we follow up any mode- after his birth. and the stars were seen by daytime in the As heavens. Halley's Comet appeared and was noticed in that year. when. that there was and the various references list show On the strength of his achievement he earned of the wonders of Ireland. and Scotland to Ireland. two suns ran together on that day. And strange news came from — — —and Scotland in the following year guest-house of the monastery telling ings as to what this should portend can picture some traveller in the the tale amid awe-struck question- I —how a woman had been cast up by the sea on the shore. it 7 was not nearly so bad as some people love to make out. when we compare It is a little the various references to him disappoint- that have been preserved." In the following year. and frost unpre- . and with nose and fingers 7 feet long. to cause talk. where near months were not enough for one year. Six years before his election to the abbatial chair. 195 feet long.IRELAND i living in a bear-garden. whale to begin with. it was quite enough . this up against : rately extensive course of reading in Irish literature. and signs and wonders were a matter of course. a place in the standard to this precocious infant On the ist of January 889. talk in plenty. and in 916 there was " great snow and cold. with hair 17 feet I suppose it was a seal or a long. as I have already mentioned. " as the Annals say. Science was not yet born. ing to find. there was a display of the Aurora Borealis so we are to understand the state" " an admirable ment of the Annals that the sky seemed to be on fire description of that beautiful phenomenon. " shower of blood " I No daresay the story did not lose in crossing from doubt the Abbot was worried in 897 about a which took place in the district round Monasterboice and about a parhelion that was seen on the 6th May 910. a child was born someClonmacnois who distinguished himself by speaking two if that This made a great impression at the time we run child every now and then. However.

whose special talents lay in that direction. that it shows proof that there was a measure of quietness in the country. costume. A human bear-garden could not possibly have developed the artistic taste a high development of art. have caused alarm to an extent which we find Was it impossible to realise. and art in ancient Ireland. I think the mere fact that it exists. and probably here does mean. I . in other to help out its and about houses. was some kind of fireball or but in an age when the motions of the heavenly bodies exploding meteor were interpreted as portents of coming disaster. but not to go outside the This being special subjects on which we can make the Cross speak to us. and skill which this is sufficient Cross and the other works of art of its period display. suppose that this was the Abbot himself. with thunder. music. I do not for a moment I." last. — monuments testimony. about the maker of the Cross. and fishes. for what we are to say in this section about Ireland a thousand years In the rest of the chapter it will be best to confine ourselves to what the Cross itself can tell us calling in any evidence that may be available ago. There probably were not many it stone-cutters in the country competent to carry out such a monument as . These words of introduction were necessary to supply a setting. A work of art such as this is the crown of the quiet patient industry of generations of craftsmen. so that the chief lakes and rivers of Ireland were passable. mass of fire was seen. I think we can get the Cross to tell us something about its own maker.1 MUIREDACH 8 cedented. weapons and implements. birds. He would no doubt commission a professional sculptor to carry out the — work under his superintendence " " professional sculptor may being understood that the expression mean. science. First then. such events as these must out to sea eastwards. notwithstanding the stormy records of the Annals. and they simply could not have existed in the cut-throat community which ancient Ireland is by some supposed to have been. which went signs besides : The suppose. so. There were horrid A the heavens seemed to glow with comets. then nothing but an alternation of wars and slaughters and murders and appalling portents ? I think the Cross of Muiredach can life answer that question. so to speak. passing over Ireland from the west. which brought great havoc upon cattle. one actually an inmate of a monastery.

5 $ s z c E 3 Q c ha u p .3 B I t f .I .

.

appears the top with imitation of shingles. the on the outer surface of the house-roof treatment of ring.Abel panel.IRELAND 2 and we may therefore expect crosses of the same kind elsewhere. Co. is a less pretentious cross. to At Termon Feichin. seems to show signs of having been altered at a later date. is one important difference : the little roll in the angles of the cross is for attached to the ring. These points of resemblance come the more into prominence when . that these Kells crosses are direct imitations of Muiredach's. the head being in a different stone from the shaft. The Cross possibly at Castledermot. showing. Kildare. King's Co. as is the detail of the The Durrow Cross spiral pattern in the side panel. again. Take to 1 be able to trace his hand in other example the Cross at Durrow. At Kells are several crosses. that I feel as certain as it is possible to feel on a question of the kind. Louth from Monasterboice. Co. the peculiar ornament of two twisted snakes with heads between each both in as . C). on the other hand. this. not to the body of the cross as at Monasterboice. In the taller of both the Durrow Cross and to that of Muiredach. (Plate II). we may It has many points of resemblance see our artist's hand at work here also. by an inferior artist. It reproduces the Adam-Eve-Cain. a member of the same The Market Cross at Kells is also though the resemblance is more remote (Plate IV. and also the charming panel [29]. however. The treatment of the main figure-subjects on the two faces of the head of the Cross is practically identical in both. the two chief crosses at Monasterboice. not far Monasterboice patterns. There are many details in the ornament and the choice and treatment of the There subjects which show practical identity in the two monuments. one of which. But. points of resemblance with the Monasterboice Cross. and the two fitting badly together. is very similar to the Monasterboice Cross. A). family. B). however. dedicated to SS. This. does also coil. some details in the treatment of the interlacements and spiral patterns common with the (Plate III. however. I suspect. may be ascribed to our artist with greater probability. in the absence of actual documentary evidence. Patrick and Columba (Plate IV. that the two are to be ascribed has so to the many same hand.

. however. with its animal figures in . with its perfectly hideous figure-sculpture and bad proportions high relief Ahenny Crosses the . There is also appears at details which also a strong presents in suggestion of Clonmacnois influence in the treatment of the ring on the tallest of the Monasterboice crosses. and Dysert O'Dea. 1 Memorial Slabs of Clonmacnois. B) twelfth century crosses at Tuam dragonesque coils taking the place of the and of course the . which there to be seen. with its elaborate bosses. . Tipperary). were at Clonmacnois . Kildare). (Plate IV.. Westmeath. by name Turcan. for example. summoned from his craft. with their clumsy border frame and comparatively poor interlacing the Moone Abbey Cross (Co. pp. no. it have elsewhere suggested that the sculptor of the Flann Cross was an inmate of Clonmacnois. Thus we have the picture of a sculptor working in what are now the counties of King's Co. which subordinates the central scene of the Crucifixion to the geometrical ornament of the stone the Drumcliffe Cross (Co. Ahenny). place to place according as he was required to exercise for the His headquarters. and the roof-treatment of the top are common with the Muiredach Cross.MUIREDACH 22 we consider crosses which are certainly not by the same hand. Louth. and no one was found series of crosses at Kells (Plate III. on the strength of an inscription still to be seen among the ruins of that spot. and that he has bequeathed us many works of art in other places as well. It now appears possible ' I that the labours of that great sculptor extended beyond his own monastery. the remarkable panel of the Divine the equally remarkable panel of interlaced men (which. Sligo). . (Co. reason it was unfinished probably the sculptor died. the twisted snakes. I suspect. and perhaps Kildare. is another member panel representing the soldiers watching the tomb identical with panels on the taller Monasterboice Cross and on the The of the family. great Cross of King Flann. Meath. . Another of the A) gives us techFor some nical information about the methods of such a sculptor as this. is is Durrow Cross Hand. 109. with their flat late — these present so strong a contrast to the Muiredach family of crosses that they throw the mutual resemblances between the monuments ascribed to that family into yet pure geometrical patterns of the higher earlier period all relief. The south cross at Clonmacnois.

.

.

the purpose Fig. and made the top arm of the Cross of its the idea to its logical developthe picture of an Irish house period. The panels. this. only the in the right first few strokes had been cut. in the left arm central panel of the head touches . was almost completed. of which is — Reconstruction of an Irish Timber House. gable-like top to most of his crosses. 4. lacking only the finishing arm the figures were blocked out. The Ahenny II. and this suggested to shed off the rain Our artist made a He carried out to him the roof of a house. let 4) to illustrate us first what I have to say about it. and prevent it percolating into the stone. I have left aside considerations of internal divisions or furniture. We see from this that the form of the cross was finished first. ment. for which there D is . The panels on the shaft had not been begun. understand diagram all (fig. projecting blocks being left for the future The minute interlacing of the ring was then completed. Cross has an awkward conical capstone. To inquire what the outline of a betterI have drawn out this class house in ancient Ireland would be like.IRELAND 25 equal to the task of completing the work.

The material. first built in this country they followed the in which. . having been made of wood and other destructible materials) but some descriptions of houses that we have. and below it is secured the beam that sus- rise at upper end of the roof rafters. which have suggested the appearance of feathers to the writer of the poem and his reference to colours indicates . On as being of the colour of lime. earliest primitive stone churches. . in order at the to show the When construction. The doorway has oblique a Curious passage in the Brehon laws gives us a hint of its height. It is a poetical description of the birds' wings. — the gable ends. so to speak. crossing each other X-wise. apparently. at least on the outside. that these shingles were painted with some ornamental alternation of hue. overlapping of the wooden shingles. its silver. The ridge-piece is supported in the fork of the X. and. This describes the house being covered with plates of lintel honesty of the neighbours. of wattling intertwined on smaller which seems to have posts and covered. This I . which the roof was a door good testimonial to the thatch of blue and yellow is a need not say is not to be taken literally such a roof would not stand our climate for an hour. a number of rules and regulations in the Brehon laws. with clay had a limewash painted over it to make it white. are imita- wooden houses. connected at the top by beams. I have left out one of these. The cross top had apparently an ornamental piece fastened on to each side. jambs by forbidding anyone under penalty of a fine from carrying a child into a house on his back for fear of the child knocking its head against the lintel.MUIREDACH 26 amount of available a certain four walls and the roof. as I show shall presently. Two great beams . It is these posts which carry the weight of the roof the sides between them are filled with a screen. the first assemblies of . 20 feet broad. masking the ends of the roof-beams. The house was ioo feet long and. and confine foundations on which my attention to the we can base a study of early houses in Ireland are not the remains of the houses themselves (for these have long ago disappeared. There is a poetical description of a house contained in the ancient document called the Colloquy of the tains the Elders. The roof is very high pitched to shed off rain and snow. no doubt. the . especially. stone churches were model of the wooden houses. At the four corners are stout posts. tions in stone of which.

*C^V

IRELAND

29

Christian believers had been held

;

and they display certain

details

which

cannot be explained satisfactorily except as translations into stone of features

wooden

Most notable among these are
the rectangular plan
corner pilasters, which reproduce the heavy upright corner beams of the wooden house the projecting
bracket, about the use and symbolism of which many wild conjectures
have been made, but which is merely a translation into stone of the proOn the wealthier houses these
jecting ends of the wooden wall-plate.
essential to the

;

buildings (PI. V).
the high-pitched roof

;

;

projecting ends were probably decorated with carving or with ornamental

Fig.

5.

—A

Winged

And

Finial.

{From an example at

Iniscaltra

drawn by

the author^)

the winged finial, a peculiar ornamental terminal
frequently found on the gables of our earliest stone churches, which is
an attempt to represent the crossing tops of the great beams of the gable-end.

metal plates.

lastly,

When we

look at the head of the Cross (see the frontispiece), we see
most of these details reproduced.
The strong corner-posts, the roof
timbers crossing in an ornamental
form, the shingled roof, are all there.

X

The

side walls have been turned into panels for the reception of sculpture,
but otherwise the head of the Cross is a perfect little model of a house.

The winged
It

can be best seen in the drawing in fig. 35 below.
might be called a model of a church, but this is only moving the house
finial

among differently shaped and the fantasies of the illu- Clearly we could not expect houses like these to last for any length of time. — Lough ception.MUIREDACH 30 original a step further back foregoing paragraphs have shown. or in Ireland. Thus. . but to this the same remark applies. as that structure was conceived of by Irish ecclesiastical artists.) and the roof of coloured shingles are clearly traceable minator. even large steadings. Mainchfn. in which no doubt the earliest assemblies of Christians were held. might also be called a model of a shrine (like the famous shrine of St. If not destroyed by fire. 6. for. The Erne Shrine. the natural decay of the wood and subse- quent agricultural operations would sweep them out of existence altogether. among the remains of antiquity in estimating the culture of Ireland before the coming we must not forget that many elements that have of the Anglo-Normans. For these shrines were made after It the model of Solomon's temple. And this is one explanation of the total absence of early towns or villages. as the houses. Any metal ornamentation they may have possessed would be appropriated for later use. or the fine specimen found in 1891 in Lough Erne. " winged (By permission of finial " the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. and as we find it pictured in the Book of Kells : and it is quite evident that the framed house was the source of the con- Fig. here figured). the older Irish churches were modelled on the contemporary framed timber .

.

.

in our pictures of the patriarchs. This was the ordinary convention. stained glass. represent Abraham.IRELAND 33 on the problem have perished by the ordinary processes of decay so that if we find that any important necessary of civilisation seems to be absent from the relics left behind. Even we Isaac. from Book of Kells. represented the persons with whom he was concerned in the costume of his contemporaries. . unknown III. according to the is followed. its of which. permission of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland!) of early Christian art. — Solomon's Temple. or miniatures you will find regularly that the same convention senting the Madonna There are countless pictures repreas an Italian or a Dutch maiden. said further that the Cross gives us information about the costume of its time. (/>'r 7. are shown in some Just as the artist of the Book of Kelts represented Solomon's temple like a contemporary house. There are in all 124 figures sculptured in various panels . form of costume. I at the time. so the artist of our Cross. In mediaeval frescoes. one often sees paintings of the Holy Family with a distant view in the background showing a village from which rises the nationality of the artist spire of a church. and Jacob as modern Muhammadans. ourselves. . E So. we cannot always justly infer that it was a bearing quite . and of all such works all Fig. with five exceptions.

sufficient number of outstanding figures. all the figures are bareheaded. who were to be resplendent in The king may or may not be the seven ranks of the — rainbow-like garments mythical. to tell us a good deal on the subject . That one exception is Goliath [18]. a large number are too small. We gather from literary allusions. however. they would not add very much information. One of the early legendary kings of the country was fabled to have introduced a law to the effect that this. The first thing but would simply repeat the testimony of the others. for there is would have been quite 1 Numbers We therethis is not sufficient evidence to suggest that the hatless league at home in ancient Ireland in square brackets throughout indicate the panels as accompanying key. and so on up to attire kings and queens. in which the costume is carefully and probably even if the indicated.MUIREDACH 34 instead of casting the stone of scorn at the sculptor of the Monasterboice Cross for his anachronisms in the draping of his figures. VI and in the . which they were worn we must look to monuments like these. A few tattered rags for the valuable information as to have been found from time to time in bogs. but there is probably a basis in fact for the law he was said to have promulgated. There is. to make them instructive. For obviously we can hope to gain even less information about ancient costume from actual specimens than about ancient houses. let us be grateful costume that he has preserved. that strikes us is that. of seven colours. where references to illustrations in this book ! numbered will also in Plate be found. less carefully executed figures were finished with the exactness of these more important examples. as well as from monuments such in as — ranks of the community had different types of costume the difference lying both in cut and in colour. Of the 119 draped figures on the Cross. with one exception. fore gain no information about headgear from our Cross. but 1 surprising. that different of colours in their community should be distinguished by the number slaves to have only one colour. a or too indefinitely carved. and something about the texture of the garments can be learned from them but for their cut and the way . who has a conical helmet.

.

e P* 4) .

4. Interlacement (Plate VII. (Plate VII. Pilate washing his hands (Fig. (Defaced) Zodiac. Aaron. (Fig. Interlaced snakes (Plate VII. 29) 3itf. Cain and Abel (Fig. Two animals (Fig. 28) do. Michael weighing the Souls (Fig. do. Fig. (Plate VII) 56. 27) 22. 29) 49) 53. Paul and Antony breaking bread (Fig. 28) 50. 31) 37. 10. Key. Two animals (Fig. 28) 33<A Interlaced snakes (Plate VII. 37) 42a. 30) 38. 43. 28) 36. (Fig. (Figs. Interlaced snakes with heads in the coils 58. do. Spiral pattern (Figs. 28) 33*-. 35) Moses. 18) The Resurrection (?) (Fig. 44. TO THE Spiral pattern (Figs. 30) . 25) 18. 14.24) 12. (Plate VII) 57. (Fig. (Defaced) Interlacement (Plate VII) Key-pattern (Fig. 34. do. 45. (Plate VII. do. 29) 32. do. 28) (Plate VII) 28. and Hur (Figs. (Fig. Fig. Christ seized by soldiers (Fig. The Lost (Fig. 29) (Fig. 14. Paul and Shaft 13. The Blessed (Fig. 18) (Fig. (Fig. (identical with 52. &c. Key-pattern (Fig. 19) Head 29) 49. 20) 59. Fig. Soldiers (Fig. 16. 25) 17. Interlacement (Plate VII. 27) 25- 34) Adam 20. 42. 16.pattern (Figs. 33) 41. 30. 18) Interlacement (Plate VII) 5. 36) Antony meeting (Fig. do. Incredulity of Thomas (?) (Fig. Interlacement (Plate VII) do. Interlacement (Plate VII) 7. 47. The Crucifixion (Fig. to the Apostles (Fig. 14. 28) 33<7. 15) 29. 14. 14. 1 29) 62. 3) Two dwarfs (Fig. 28) 35. 19. 32) The Divine Hand (Fig.pattern 6. 20) 61. 29) 48. Ring Moses striking the Rock Magi Commission 26. 24) 39. 28) 33*. Two animals playing (Fig. 15. do. 18. do. 21) Two cats and inscription (Fig. 46. 20) Top 40. 28) do. (Plate VII) of human figures (Figs. Spiral pattern (Figs. do. 2. Base 1. 14. 55. (Pig. 20) 60. 30) 63. 26) 24. 18. Key-pattern (Figs. (Plate VII) The Last Judgment (Fig. do. 29) 3 A. The Recording Angel (?) (Fig. 24) 11. VII) 22) and Eve. David and Goliath (Fig. 33. 27. 26) 21. 3. 17) (Figs. Similar to 59 (Fig. (identical with 48) 51. 28. (Fig. Interlacement (Plate VII) do. (Defaced) 8. (Plate VII) 54. 14. 29) Vine pattern with animals do. Key. Adoration of the 23. Spiral pattern (Figs. Fig. 24) 9. 14.IRELAND 37 A LIST OF THE PANELS ON THE CROSS WITH REFERENCE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THEM IN THIS BOOK. 30) 31. (Figs. (Unexplained) (Fig. do. Fig. Fig. do. Two birds (Plate A Horseman (Fig.

it is slender youths in those fifty chariots and there was not one of but was the son of a king and a queen and a hero and a warrior of . Here. who stands in the river. 8. moment the interesting panel on a broken cross in the graveyard at Kells (the lower panel in fig. and A silver. 8). principal persons. in every robe. is one from the old story called the " There were fifty white-faced Wooing of Ferb. H. {From a Photo by Mr. —Panels them Con- on them. with loop-fastenings of yellow refined gold girt about " their white skin and so on. when you take away the golden brooches and chains and other ornaments which the storytellers hang so liberally about like their heroes. in the Book of Leinster. A Crawford. there of — importance a called brat were two main garments in evidence on the persons close-fitting smock. fire.MUIREDACH 38 In some of our ancient tales there are descriptions which of' the attire of the very instructive to compare with the sculptured figures. Fig.) filmy silken smock. called leine. passages indicate that. This and the fifty battle-shields of silver — . The Baptist is pouring water over the head of Consider for a Christ. S. The representation of the river is interest- . refined in the from the broken Cross at Kells. and an outer mantle thrown over it. Fifty purple robes were nacht. with hems garnished with gold brooch of red-gold. This represents the baptism of Christ in the Jordan. for instance.

but there is of this cape seems to reappear in the figure in the panel [22] just above. For rapid movement the long . with a line round the lower hem which suggests an embroidered border and above . dated 1521. while the foremost man has drawn it over his head. in the famous drawing of Irish Warriors and Poor Men. reaching almost to the feet. The It appears general details of this costume lasted long in Ireland. fig. later stage see the published in 161 1. same principle underlying the attire of the wellknown representations of all sorts and conditions of Irish in Speed's map. 10. and worn when the person was not engaged in active pursuits. 16). with above an inscription which means Here go the War- men of Ireland beyond England. evidence that a wide cape was secured to the back of the mantle. as it 39 mediaeval idea that the River Jordan owed illustrates the to the confluence of two sources called the Jor and the Dan. The central figure. In front are two warriors. But it is the two bystanders to which I wish to direct attention just now. and there are indications which suggest that the The Tara Brooch pin artist meant them to appear embroidered all over. the familiar pin of the and exactly sculptured of all the figures on the Cross. The mantle seems in this case to be doubled. which is the most caremilech. and brat the third seems to have a cape attached at the back. in an odd sort " of armour. reappears very clearly (see No. and now in Vienna. At an even in the leine we ." These three are attired inscribed. secured by the Tara Brooch type.IRELAND ing. The edge in inclement weather. it the brat or mantle. a longer or fully inner mantle appearing below the hem of the outer one. this was evidently the attire of important people at the time of our Cross." Behind are three wild-looking figures " Here go the poor men of Ireland. They show the long leine. Look now at the panel on the Monasterboice Cross which represents Christ seized by soldiers [21]. There is the leine. is attired in the same costume. Though in the Middle Ages the dress of poverty. by Albrecht Diirer. Both end below in graceful spiral coils. which could be drawn over the head These figures are bareheaded . its Above origin is the Holy Dove. which has obviously an ornamental lower border. as they exactly illustrate the costume suggested by the description in the Courtship of Ferb.

MUIREDACH 4Q and apparently close-fitting leine would not be convenient. The same it is is true of the prin- difficult to distinguish in the sculptures between the girt-up leine and a true kilt. 9. But cipal figure in the panel just below. both figures are attired in kilts. in the picture of Cain and Abel [17]. Abel is bare from the waist upward. Fig. (From a Drawing by Alurecht Durer.) have their garments drawn up to the knees. Thus. who have just come in from a journey.d. and Dress in Ireland a. (By permission of the Royal 1521. such as is certainly shown in some of the figures. so as to resemble a kilt. . We find illustrations of this in several of the panels of the Cross. Armour. — Arms.) Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. In that representing the adoration of the Wise Men [20] these. but . and would then be drawn up into the girdle.

It is one of the unof the — solved puzzles of the Cross. clipped in a straight line over the forehead.IRELAND 4 1 Cain has a cape thrown over the upper part of his body this is slit up at the sides to allow free play to the arms. night. It resembles most. though in some cases the hair is represented distinctly as curly a feature generally emphasized in the romantic tales as a mark of beauty. Yet a third variety of costume represented by the two figures of soldiers in a panel that has already attracted our attention [21] this possibly These figures wear short represents some form of military equipment. This. covering the upper part of the arm." and shall have his upper lip shaven at least once a fort" and if any man be found among the English contrary hereunto. which is naturally less likely to be described in the romantic tales. which are apparently bare. reaching to just above the knee. lya is a latchet brooch. No. Many of the figures have no — moustache. A diagram of the ornament will be " " seen in fig. is shown figures in [19]. 17. Very likely we have here a picture of the costume of a person of inferior rank. where the radiating lines represent the gathers of the garment. added for comparison. but not in the crowd of kneeling slit up. On one of these there is a peculiar lozenge-shaped ornament on the left breast apparently a kind of brooch. No. braccae or trews. Another : kind of cape. into which the garment is gathered. a rule the former seems to be worn in a kind of shock. and have the upper part is : body covered by what we may call a jerkin. moustache became a mark of Irishry as well-known Acts were passed at the Parlia- be. word or two may be said about the method of dressing the hair of the A head and the As face. This is unique. and no ornament of this kind has ever been discovered. to the effect be taken for an Englishman shall have no beard and again in 1465 Every man that will above his mouth. : under Edward IV. this heavy time of Henry VI Trim in this country in 1447. comparatively late date of the Cross. to the . that F . but several of them testify to a fashion for very long moustaches with heavy knob-like ends hanging down to the level of the chin. perhaps. to judge from specimens of Scandinavian sculpture. otherwise unrecorded. was also a Viking fashion possibly . 10. However that late as the ment " of may it was imitated from Viking usage. the latchet brooch of the La Tene period but the chronology of this type of ornament is a difficulty unless we are to assume its survival.

and Saul are represented on the Cross with full beards. as well as of bronze. [18]. however.. This is the regular equipment of the people of the Cross. fig. recent. There are round shields both of wood and leather. but. No. We certainly cannot infer from this that beards were not commonly worn. and might well be an implement not unlike the bill-hooks in the hands of the Irishmen Four picture above mentioned. the West Doorway of Clonfert. but these are of The late buckler of O 'Donovan of Skibbereen. which most nearly resembles the weapon. unless specimens should come to are all long. There is. is in the Royal Irish bog at some time. Such. and a fine specimen is shown on one of the many heads sculpsilky that : tured on our great architectural treasure. No. With regard to the weapons and implements figured on the Cross. no tool like this in the Royal Irish Academy's Collection. The bill-hook {ibid. dagger. 3a). though be compared (see fig. In the panel above. It is is Abel killing kind of pruning axe. Moses. though Adam. 10. some objects are shown of which no actual example has survived. slight grooves on the back of the blade suggest a form of mounting on a wooden shaft by means of two loops (resembling one side of an ordinary in Diirer's the conjectural drawing. strangely enough. To much more be also noticed in earlier date. \a. No. Indeed they were often so long and there is an example of such they could be plaited like pigtails a plaited beard on the Durrow Cross." it shall There as a rule is man to take them and their goods as Irish no beard. and a circular shield with a boss in the middle. this panel may is the .MUIREDACH 42 be lawful to every enemies. lb) is fairly common. but has a shorter handle. 10. for they are very frequently represented in sculpture of the time. The Viking swords which come There nearest to it in point of time Academy's Collection a wooden As for the shield. of husbandry. Cain. another on the Flann Cross at Clonmacnois. no examples of such weapons from this particular period seem to have military survived. for instance. there is little chance of our ever seeing one. but always has a backward door-hinge) bend : see in the blade which the weapon figured lacks. it probably was of wood or leather. are examples of a short dagger with knobbed handle. in light in a the Royal Irish Academy's Collection. IV. so. is the curious axe-like knife with which Cain It looks like a [17].

3. Goliath. A book [31a] 8. 14. Meath. E. 1 Some of these objects it is impossible (as the loaf of bread. —The 1 objects figured on the Cross compared with actual specimens. (?) on figure o Armagh. 41] : : 20. : poured on Pilate's hands [38]). for which compare the five loaves and two fishes on the Moone Cross. A trumpet of willow-wood with bronze band. C. som unnecessary (as the book). from Becan. 13.g. [18]. The seat of Saul [18] and the B. to illustrate by actual instances. Latchet-brooch of La Tene period from Slane Park. Sceptre of Our Lord [31] 14a. the chariot in [12] and some (such as the vessel from which water is bein Academy's Museum. The specimens have been selected with the help of Mr. The dagger of Saul. 16. [18] Bow and a crannog in the R. Loaf of bread [40. Crozier 18. [40. Michael [30]. Goliath. The buckler (wood with brass studs) of O'Donovan of Skibbereen. Brooch on of Latchet-brooch Christ [21]. David's wallet crook [18]. io. Wicklow. Mayo. The shield ol Saul.Fig. Armstrong from the Royal Iris There are one or two other objects illustrated elsewhere. 11a. Trumpeters [31. 5. <5v:c. Crutched staff-head. collection arrow Bow from 40. Possible hand of Saul [18] 2a. 41]. 15. The drinking-horn in the i. Triden in Satan's hand [316] Wooden fork found near 16. A. Co. Balances [30]. 12. [34] 6. &c. 9. Kilmainham. [18]: 3a. restoration of the tool. which are so worn that their details cannot be made out satisfactorily. The cleaver with which Cain kills Abel [17]: ta. 17. Co. Plate IVb). Staff of St. figure soldier [21]: 17a. 4.M. 12a Balance: from a Viking grave. Harp [31a]. David's 7. : : 11. David's sling [18]. . 15a. Co. An iron bill-hook. Wooden dagger from Ballykilmurry. 31s]. 10. 5a. e.V. R. 19. 2. The Kavanagh Horn.I. [20].

The harp is of the same kind as that shown on the Monasterboice Cross —a triangular frame with curved . in the Last Judgment scene are represented as leading the celestial choir. when Meanwhile we may compare Moone Abbey. has a harp. the second a long straight trumpet. (fig. evidently I the important objects represented on the Cross. On the other side of the Cross the most interesting object represented is the great three-pronged fork with which Satan is driving the lost to their of doom [31]. heads. 15a). This figure is drinking from a drinking horn a detail which the artist has also introduced into — Durrow his Cross at (for these objects see fig. soldiers with bow (fig. V. The first [31]. 3. . what has the Cross to tell us about music ? Three figures among the blessed. remain will be most suitably studied when we come think. as will appear we come it identical object. No. 4«. Here three men in monastic attire. B). Nos. 7. where five similar discs and two at fishes typify the miracle of feeding the Those. 4. the second apparently a bagpipe with drone and chanter. 10. 2«. and the third possibly some percussion instrument like a pair of castanets. With this orchestra may be compared that on a slab at Ardchattan. chair in the panel next but one above is similar. 10. 3a. An some kind. The thickly padded seat and the uncomfortable slope forward of its back. 11). with cowls over their Argyllshire. 5 5«) and spear are seen with others. But meanwhile. cj. with its . secured by a strap round the neck and the chair on which the figure to the left is seated. In the figure of the Crucifixion [33]. are playing instruments —the first a harp. now in the Royal Irish 15. with one of the panels Any an agricultural implement circular disc [40] represents a loaf of bread. all examine the panels in detail. No. 8. .MUIREDACH 44 shepherd's crook the wallet. probably of leather. 10. 6. bearing the short dagger and shield. are others that may multitude (see Plate IV. and the third is apparently singing from In front of the a book. 10. following with his finger the words on the page. 2. The angel seated beside Our Lord in the Judgment scene [33] appears to be blowing a double trumpet (see fig. to is to the explanation of this scene. 9). harper also there is a book. from one Academy's Collection The of the lake-dwellings. Nos.

Dublin. small enough to be held on the knee of the rather larger harp. a good cast of the Nigg stone in the National Museum. shows of a harp from Lisnacroghera. As for the trumpet. and harmony. That is .) us that the compass of the ancient harps was quite limited. having octave and a half in its compass. supposed to be a musical instruto all intents ment 1 (see fig. Nos. croghera. Allen's Early Christian Monuments of Scotland. the only specimen I have to compare with it is a long tube of willow wood. is shown on the fine shown on one side cross shaft at Monifieth in Forfarshire. There are not more than seven or eight strings shown in these sculpof the slab at Nigg in Ross-shire. and 80. No. This alone does not mean much. in the Royal Irish Academy's Collection. the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. but otherwise essentially similar. 11 a). . and another is generally acknowledged to be the most intricate piece of sculpture in the Celtic style in existence. Illustrations of these slabs will be pp. which has yielded Fig. and purposes not yet come into existence. it any case be difficult or impossible to represent in the sculpture but a fragment of an actual specimen found in a lakea greater number dwelling in Co. There is am sorry the sculptor had no room R. Antrim. 265. — Fragment (By permission of many antiquities of great importance. 10. I found in J. 11. commonly but apparently wrongly called Lisnain .IRELAND 45 performer. A sound-board. for 20). giving us thus a little over an quite sufficient when we remember that the only function of the instrument was that of supplying a unison accompaniment to voices instrumental music as such. 11. 378. 10. Antrim. which is 1 tured harps (see would fig. Co. This interesting object was prepared for thirteen strings.

would the series of figures round the pedestal [9-12]. . testifies to no small degree of musical culture and the evidence is the more to sing.) . among the zodiacal figures are . valuable musical notes has come it : as down not a to us. This is we remember that at the time musical notation was in The first experiments a most rudimentary condition. Interspersed others no longer possible to identify. 10). To be able not merely — Figure blowing accompany song from mere shorthand indications like these. if we could an orchestra composed of a small harp and a coach-horn does to imply that hear left not in any case hold out promise of high artistic possibilities. musical notation had not yet got beyond the stage of mums mere glorified accents. VI. a reminder to the — singer that and some " some of the notes are the same as others. call science is — indeed. the pitch and the intervals to his judgment and memory. being all worn and injured some of them. Cross at Clonmacnois. with do not mean we ourselves should enjoy the performance. but he made up for this on his Cross at Clonmacnois. But the great interest of this little group of musicians at Monasterboice not so much their instruments. single When Irish I liturgical say this I MS. and the rude beginnings of harmony which were all that were then available would not sound satisfying to our ears. I said at the beginning of this section of our subject that science was not yet born the only point on which the Cross touches on what we . (From a drawing Sir by Samuel Ferguson. These figures are unfortunately in a very bad condition. but to a triple flute. 12. " are different (like the Professor's song in Sylvie and Bruno). 10. as is the fact that not only the singer placidly blowing is away at a provided with a book especially remarkable when but the instrumentalist also is No. were only being made about the time of the Cross (fig. where he introduced a very quaint little figure to curious triple flute. effaced altogether.MUIREDJCH 46 add other instruments to his orchestra. but Fig. which led to the development of the system of lines and spaces on which modern musical notation depends. which obviously represent the signs of the zodiac.

1 and 7 bringing up the rear. we have a procession of seven The central figure is ecclesiastics. illustrating devices for overcoming difficulties of perspective. to apply them to works such had therefore to be invented as this. He trying to solve the problem of showing an animal viewed full face. must be admitted as defective as us something of the art of tells drawing of the human figure on the Cross in Celtic art. the others side-face. If.IRELAND 47 VII. behind him Nos. Lastly the Cross of defects and its It is its time its —both excellences. on the that the usually is other hand. It would seem. both sides of which are seen at once. next Nos. as though the Celtic artist could not be fettered by reality. The animal figures. Tipperary. — An Animal figured on a font in Yorkshire. and a Procession of ecclesiastics on a cross at Ahenny. their interest is other than artistic. with abstractions : when pinned down He to the facts of everyday the sculptured figure-panels on this Cross are interest. towards him. he full of Another point to be noticed is that the rules of perspective had not yet been fully discovered. and Nos. A number of strange expedients to suggest perspective effects. apparently walking In point of fact we are to suppose the procession walking out of the Cross towards the spectator. it is not to be supposed that the artist is representing a sort of nightmare monster. or at least that it had not yet been found possible Fig. 13. The animals in it which he excelled were grotesque creatures of the imagination. for example. 3 and 5 walking side by side. are often wonderfully graceful. When we come to consider the . full-faced. Though dealt life. you see a piece of ancient sculpture representing a beast with two bodies and only one head. Co. 2 and 6. however. failed. the central figure heading the rank. So on is one of the Ahenny Crosses.

.

and this Cross offers an almost inexhaustible the study the ring surrounding the field for of these patterns. art the spiral early and began — Spirals on panel [28]. in general are constructed. interlacing. all is unusual : it is rare that more than two of the types are found coThe spiral patterns existing on one monument. . 14) (fig. Good specimens of Cross. and are united by S and C curves which fit into one another.) and key-patterns. which this and key-patterns. Interlacing patterns began to develop about the end of the eighth century out of simple fret patterns. was the chief art-motive of the Celtic peoples in the ages preceding Christianity. a plain diagonal fret. Celtic geometrical art designs fall into three main groups. But it is in the treatment of purely geometrical and abstract patterns that the Celtic artist excelled. we shall see some curious examples of expedients to get rid of the difficulty of perspective. Here a series of seventeen centres is taken. so to speak. The best example of spiral decoration on the Cross is [28]. three are to be found on spiral. are the oldest of these. This is though there the is way an in which spiral patterns infinite variety of possible. having been developed in the middle of the pre-Christian Iron Age from classical models mixed with older Bronze Age traditions : and the spiral Fig. 15. and form the spirals at the nuclei. The spaces left are then filled with expansions of different kinds. By taking and by. {Photo by In Christian to disappear before interlacing Mr. Crawford. them 1 in a different 1 See Romilly Allen's Celtic Art in Pagan and Christian Times. according to the distribution of the nuclei design and the means whereby they are united by curves. arranged in alternate rows of two and spiral panels are in the three on the panel. where the principles of the con- structions of Celtic art-patterns are fully described and illustrated. an interlacing pattern is produced.IRELAND 49 interpretation of the panels in detail. such as we see in Roman mosaics. minority in this monument. cutting the cords and re-tying On one of way. On head alone there are seventeen different patterns.

on this Cross. Mr. — Diagram of the same panel. to the base or pedestal on which it stands. 16. The key-pattern is confined. arms. they turn so as to avoid intersecting. On each of the four faces of the pedestal : there are two panels end to end. and to the panels [53. 26] which have all the same geometrical foundation (see Plate VII. Drawing is built by Fig. They are shown Fig. their legs.). 17. —Panel [27] with interlaced human {Photo and in fig. 18. of geometrical the lines meet. at Ahenny. 61. containing an elaborate interlacing and key-pattern alternately.MUIREDACH 5° the sides of the Cross there are three very elaborate patterns [24. where eight and treated as purely geometrical objects. This device of interlaced men is also to be seen on the Cross at Clonmacnois. Three of these panels are almost completely effaced. instead Specially to be noticed is the combination of the the same key-pattern with spirals in panel [61] device occurs at Termon Feichin. except that when of intersecting. 63] on the ring. but different this from the rest. Cross a high position it is clear that the pattern of each panel was These panels alone would give the sculptor of among Celtic artists. This shows that the two types of ornament existed as separate classifications in the artist's mind. The key-pattern figures. Crawford. A men curious taste are taken is displayed in the panel below the spiral. .) up on the same kind basis as the interlacing pattern. and also in one of the great series of sculptured slabs at Meigle in Forfarshire. and beards being elaborately intertwined. 25.

Plate VII Diagrams of Interlacing Patterns on the Cross. {Drawing by the Author.) .

.

(The terminations of panel [53] are much worn and very doubtful. chasing one another (fig.) .IRELAND 53 —in fact it scarcely Foliage was curiously neglected in early Celtic art " " exists. {Photo by — Panel the former are the two charming animal figures. kicking up hind legs and tails of the two middle animals make a little work in the middle of the panel. The whole panel full of life and gracefulness. bit of fret- Two birds feed on the topmost coil. 18. — Key-patterns on the Cross. fig. 20). The six coils little animal. and through each of the there gambols a playful its hind is.water mark. on panel [39] Cross. 19. legs. This shows a coiling plant.) {Drawing by spiral ornament above the and Antony [41]. Paul There moreover. [29]. Lastly human we may mention figures Of used as the animal decorations is and on the Fig. the quaint . one very charming panel the Author?) figures of SS. 36. Crawford. But a distinct floral feeling is to be traced in the divergent defaced Fig. [29] in which indeed our great sculptor of a thousand years ago has reached his high. Mr.

58-60]. Panels twined their snakes. 30. with necks and there also is intertwined. tails 33d] coiled of these will be found [39.) very ingenious devices of round bosses (see Plate VII). It has been drawn with the help of a attempt at . figures The on in ring [48-51] are founded underneath [42] a couple of interlacements on the west face of the animal birds figures. 14. Fig. which are shown in figs. M'Googan. [336. 20. which has now. 16] in the base of the shaft.MUIREDACH 54 the narrow panels [13. and the twined snakes on [59. on this boss is An drawing out an enlargement of the device added to the plate. 20. weathered away beyond all hope of recovery except in one case. Diagrams — Panels (From a photograph by on Plate VII. however. Mr. present These bosses have been decorated with minute basket-like interlacing. A. 62].

but the original device can be given.IRELAND 55 telescope.— Panel [14]. is so worn that only an approximation to the The human heads between the coils of the snakes and the two dwarfs pulling each other by the beard examples of the use of human figures as motives of decoration. 21. (From a drawing by the author. 62]. on panels [14]. are [59.) . FlO.

He has had the beautiful fancy of placing two angel figures. from the treatment of the same subject on other crosses presumably by the same maker. We may be sure that he exercised some oversight over the choice and treatment of the subjects sculptured on the Cross. and even if The of great beauty and the Cross had not the interest of the figured scenes. within the precincts of the monastery itself ? And first. achievements elsewhere. found long ago 56 at Athlone . . ingenuity. perhaps.Ill MUIREDACH'S MONASTERBOICE We now come to the question. tenderly supporting the dying Saviour's head. and therefore there must be some reason when we find a deviation from his ordinary conception of the scene. we may. Now on Muiredach. beyond the meagre details recorded in the Annals ? I think it can. as. for instance. Whoever designed this Cross was a man to whose mind beautiful things and beautiful thoughts made an irresistible appeal. can it tell us anything more of the Abbot who caused it to be made. The representation of the Crucifixion [33] is practically identical on all the crosses which I venture to attribute to our sculptor. interlacements are would still be one of the foremost monuments of early Irish Christian art. it occurs in a few other Irish representations of the Crucifixion. detect the working of the Abbot's mind. one on each side. a bronze plaque of crude workmanship. what can the Cross tell us of the life that passed around it. The sculptor has here been inspired to put forth his full strength he has surpassed all his . But it is not merely in the inspiration which caused the sculptor thus to excel himself that we seem to detect the working of the mind of it There are two noteworthy details in the figure sculpture that may have been due to his suggestion. while leaving to the and where they differ artist the designing of the purely ornamental panels . This is neither unique nor original at Monasterboice this Cross there is such a deviation.

perched of heaven which the Irish allegorists delighted to weave. 68. and so Muiredach pictured it upon his Cross. and how they and the archangels lead the song of the heavenly choir. So our good Abbot ness of his. And I think there designer of the Cross. even on the panel where he asks for the prayers of the passer-by. yet conceived " in the same spirit And he saw streams of exquisite pure water. were they played in harmony. where it is figured. to ravishing untainted : And beautiful birds were to be seen in the tops of those trees. p. organs. with his great hunting-hound couching at his feet. In mediaeval monuments we often see the effigy of a knight in armour. all the many wonder-visions birds standing before the Throne. H . half poetic mood he has confessed to this little weak- — . written about eight hundred or a thousand years later. sweeter would be the sound of one of the birds than of all these together. And when we poet's at work. that this is an idea that would have attracted the mind of the designer of the Cross. could not fail to appreciate one of the most beautiful of all animals the common domestic cat and it is very charming to see how in half playful. singing melody. among those streams. yet another pleasant hint of the character of the The artist who was so keenly alive to the beauty of is things and thoughts." So through the ages they dreamed of the happy world to come. has not been ashamed to put figures of his pets on the Cross. and the lutes. And here is a description from another Vision. and instruments of music of the world. turn to the other side of the Cross. Can anything be we find the same prettier than the picture of the on the harp of the heavenly minstrel. and pouring into ear the melody which he is rendering on his instrument [31a] ? In little his mind it bird. and that it was he who caused the sculptor to depart from 1 in order to give expression. Here are two quaint 1 See Coffey's Guide to the Christian Antiquities in the collection.MONASTERBOICE and now in the his usual scheme 57 But one has a feeling Royal Irish Academy's Collection. and like : wine was the scent coming from those streams and many trees. lovely and various. the song of birds is one of the greatest joys which they pictured In the ancient Vision of Adamndn we read of the three noble therein. and beside him the figure of his lady with at her feet the pet lap-dogs which used to wile away for her the tedium of life in a mediaeval castle. so that it were fulness of pleasure and joy to be gazing at the fruits and flowers upon them.

! The indeed. and his eye fell on his pet cat. memoranda on logic. a leopard eats a wild goat. when [15]. . and let the monkey. Fig. the four leaves of a student's notebook which have found a resting-place in the Benedictine Convent of St. which luckily . as for instance. " " afraid of a white cock the nightingale hatches her eggs by singing all sorts. by sitting [ = in] chros ("A {From a drawing by on them " " . or [ two Cats and Inscription. 22)." Then come some more notes on Vergil.) the lion is sick it eats a same way. but thou. the other disposing of a bird she has just caught and the letters of the inscription play hide-and-seek between them little figures of cats (Fig. Then come memoranda about grammar and the geography of the Holy " the lion is much Land. every beast knoweth what is good for it. knowest not what is good for thee. . It is a queer miscellany of jottings of begins with notes about the life of Vergil. Paul in Carinthia. And the whimsical idea struck him that there was an analogy between that as the cat was hunting mice.MUIREDACH 5§ one of them licking a newly born kitten. 22. for monkey-meat a lion's medicine is . so he was himself and his little friend hunting knowledge. The thought took shape as a poem. and so on. Perhaps there is not one document of all that have come down to us from ancient Ireland that possesses more human interest than cat. Thus. O man. prayer for Muiredach by the author. As our student was at his work his attention wandered. as a pet as well as a destroyer of mice. a diagram of the signs of the zodiac. the bear eats ants. Greek grammar and the other things take care of themselves for a while. and the deer eats twigs. and curious details of zoology. panel = oroit] do muiredach las ndernad whom to — The them as well as I was made the cross"). some muddle-headed notes on Greek grammar. It . He was fascinated he laid down his pen. at the moment intent on watching a mouse-hole. in the . was a favourite in monasteries.

with steady glare From net. . : loves his playful art. He was of the Cianachta of Bregia. so Steadfastly do learning seek. though he has immortalised that who may read these lines are probably familiar with the poem. mind. While game. of his cat. p. its first Abbot. Now ! firmly seized his swift claws. I suppose without the least suspicion had now accomplished his life's work for the waters of forget- . drawing light the gloom. I ami Pangur Ban. Even name his Though most is may forgotten. and get hard saying in all Neither blocks the other's : While — he's pleased Answers his heart. Columba English —about twenty-five or thirty years name " Monasterboice " is a cor- ruption of Mainister Buite. Buite's Monastery. Each one occupied apart.MONAS TER BO ICE 59 When he scribbled in his note-book. both day and night. d 'esprit he went back that he he had worked off his little jeu to his Vergil. sport. to hard questions spy. The after St. — he gives a spring and see. Hunting knowledge With my book See his bright eye shining there On the wall. fulness have for ten centuries been rolling over everything else he have done. our several arts are drawn For a mouse-hunt to my is While my eyes — When a mouse is By I am happy how when I too. to furnish Practice that our wits can burnish. love sit I renown above Glory or ! : he's inclined. yet reading between the lines something can be made out of the outline of his career. A fragmentary life of the founder exists like the majority of such documents. When we two are here alone Tedium is never known Though we're here alone For we've endless Each enjoys his several art. of the records of miracles wrought by him. it consists chiefly l . There's a mouse caught. who died on the day It of which Muiredach that witnessed the birth of St. I labour. way : Thus he does his duty meet With a mastery complete ! . i. life will he was a native of the district where he founded be found in Plummer's Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae. it has the not inconsiderable interest of being one of the very oldest secular poems in the Irish language : We By two. valorously Some I hunt my The monastery in Ireland. Besides illustrating people the cat-figures on the Cross. my ! day. Pangur So no envy grieves weak alas. vol. was Abbot was one of the oldest was founded by Buite. that 1 The Latin text of this is. 87. an attempt at a version of it may be given here for the benefit of any who may not have come across it. Patrick's death.

in reward for raising from the dead the daughter of the local chieftain. the territory in the N. where. on which he mounted to the celestial regions. in — him from the dead in reward for which the King presented him with the castle in which the service was wrought and as witness of the substantial truth of the story.MUIREDACH 6o — Tradition said that he was baptized at Mellifont a story which possibly had some influence on the choice of the site of the great Cistercian house whose ruins are among the best-known in Ireland. Teilo of Llandaff. covered with a disc of glass. and founded there another church. it was necessary that his face should be . and then to have made his way. to the court of Nechtan. exhorting . there being no other water at hand suitable for the sacrament. with men and virgins. was received hospitably by the chieftain. Dal Riada. Indeed " " the which gave that place its pretty name was said to honey-fountain have sprung forth when the infant's hand was caused to touch the earth. From Nechtan's court he made raised . Buite is strange. remain to this day. but that has been recognised as a corruption apparently under St. though this is not — — free from chronological difficulties . monastery were apprised of his loss. that he might see without being seen. unknown. And he remained among his followers till the following December. on a day end of April or beginning of May. he obtained land. the Church of Boethius or Buite. the fortress of Nechtan) and Kirkbuddo. corner of Ireland. of counsel or of benediction to earth again. The story of the death of St. he was strolling through the cemeand was seized with an unspeakable longing for the life of the other at the tery. King of the He did the King some service —the Life says he Forfarshire. and broke into bitter lamentations when they knew that their head had been taken from them without a word world . whereupon suddenly the angels above him let down a ladder of The brethren of the gold. though. and on it erected a church where he established a priest his way to who belonged to his own clan. Leaving Dal Riada. the two adjacent place-names of Dunnichen (Dun Nechtain. He seems to have studied in Wales the Life says Italy. called Dornglais. At last he arrived in the territory of his clan.E. It is told how. a following of holy Picts. who made him a grant of land on which he founded his monastery. he proceeded towards but once more on the way obtained land in a place now his own people . like whereupon the angels brought him back Moses. his monastery.

Fig. After that date there is a succession of twenty-one abbots. At any rate Though records were imperfectly kept or preserved. 61 ending with a saint born on the day when he the future life .) came and found the ladder on which Buite had ascended to heaven. Monasterboice seems to have been one of the minor houses. f " i" — Ground (By permission of the <" f PtcT r - or Sc^v. of Scotland i" (there said to have been of glass) thus one of the oldest Christian foundations in the island. for between the death of its founder and the year 723 the Annals fail to give us the names of the abbots.MONASTERBOICE them and telling prophecy of the them many things about greatness of Columba. bless the fulfilled. This prophecy was as we learn from the Lismore Life of St.c mmr f *ii r plan of Monasterboice Churchyard. Columba the Apostle . prophesied also that Columba would visit and monastery thirty years after his departure. the He finally left the earth. Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 23. none its .

but he was quite said he. The twenty-first abbot of this list died in 1122. The name of the founder of Tallaght was Mael-Ruain one of the — countless unfortunate results of the loss of the Irish language has been " the vile corruption of this honourable name to "St. Academy." Another thing he insisted upon was the daily repetition of the whole Psalter. publication. daily life in an ancient Celtic monastery like this can be pictured with the aid of a most important document recently discovered Something of the MS. It was written by an inmate of the monastery of Tallaght. seems to have Probably the establishment of the imposing Cistercian house of Mellifont in the immediate neighbourhood. in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. somewhere about the year 835 nearly a hundred years before our Cross was set up. xxix. A few points those interested must be referred to the full only can be here extracted in a in the library of the Royal Irish — . vol. shall give rules. the fourteenth of the series. men monks Music was to forget God as my shall not rules are here obeyed. led to the humbler Celtic One monastery being starved out of existence. Mael-Ruain the stern abbot sent " him certain hermit he offered to play the pipes till off: A " My to him. as in a in his house A brother abbot suggested that he might relax this rule tery in his time." " But. " and so long liquor that causes " said his friend." my monks have leave to drink it. Dublin. He was asked once whether fifty psalms would not be enough. in the year 1142. and they shall be in " " but peradventure Heaven with thy monks.MUIREDACH 62 been of any special note except our Muiredach." said he. however. ears are closed to earthly music. p. by precepts and prohibitions. " So long as I on the three chief feasts. not and. drop of beer was allowed to be consumed in the monas- was very exactly regulated For instance. My was will not. 115. thy monks will have something for the fire of Purgatory to cleanse. and after this date we hear no more of the monastery. Co. but Mael-Ruain was adamant. in the graveyard may be simply of the two ruined churches probably of the thirteenth or fourteenth century is : it a parochial church." . all the other monasteries. built after the disappearance of the monastic foundation. Moll Rooney ! He was life a most strict disciplinarian. that they may be open to the music of heaven." said Mael-Ruain." True. the be drunk here. of whom." in favour with Then also forbidden at Tallaght.

thousand years ago were mere kraals or wigwams would do well to mark Ireland. Round Tower was burnt — perhaps its In 1097 which every and in of the fire distorted shape. visitor notices. and in 969 Domnall. history. came up this passage the : it against is not a small house that will hold 350 people. Muiredach I should like No doubt he often stood before it and pondered over its sculptures. poetry. the tower the treasures and books of the monastery were stored. and was punished by withholding butter and bacon from him during the whole Indeed. the loss of the library of Monasterboice tured the great scholar Flann Mainistrech. are the effects . It had nevertheless its share of troubles. wisdom. But Ireland still laments. one Gospel to each quarter of : A very strict observance of Sunday was enforced. vegetables cooked. or bread baked. King of them and plundered them. burning 350 of them Those who suppose that the dwellings in Ireland a alive in one house. Flann of Monasterboice was probably the most learned historian that Ireland had up till then produced. We of Monasterboice having suffered violence such as so frequently befell the larger houses like Armagh or Clonmacnois." of the Gael in literature. . Perhaps even more than to make the Cross speak of this man to us. At meal times the Gospels were read aloud. or even lifting a fallen apple from the ground on Sunday. the one man of the place beside . the year. was likewise forbidden. which was accounted a breach of the Sabbath. Muiredach who has left his mark in history. — Those unhappy wretches whom the King put to a cruel death their troubles are long since over. The Annals speak of him in language of almost extravagant. and ever must the library which nurlament. and . and blackberries and nuts plucked on Sunday were not to be eaten gathering of apples. and the laughter of children.MONASTERROICE 63 immovable not a man was to go to table till he had accomplished the task. the writer of the tract relates of the following day. and round the Cross which on that day echoed their despairing shrieks we hear to-day the hum of bees. how once he took a bath on Saturday after evensong. as well as its ruined cap. The Foreigners that is. and perished. the Scandi- hear very little — navian settlers —penetrated as far as this. " The paragon " The chief lector and historical sage of Ireland. Herbs cut on Sunday. and the song of birds. From one point of view this was a greater catastrophe than the other.

it is to the writing-room that so that he . It is really extraordinary this — the writing of our oldest extant manuscript of history. many of which he has no doubt copied and annotated himself. we would most there is in it. too. What a wealth of fascination as we can gather from the few relics that time has left us of the ancient libraries of Ireland ! When we turn over the Book of Armagh. and never heard of again. acquired the reputation which he enjoyed for well nigh He died in November 1056 about fifty years before six hundred years. Books were familiar to Muiredach they enter conspicuously into more than one of the panels of his Cross. how one man. . most if not all of which presumably perished in the great fire. It is pleasant to picture this old scholar. Finnchua." The " final sage of the Gael such are some of the testimonies to his scholarDown to the seventeenth century all the historians that follow him ship. was spared the sorrow of it. and there was no getting behind his word. But when that catastrophe occurred Flann was happily forty years in his grave. I certainly think that as we wander in thought through the monastery. to reflect that the books which we see piled around him. and save for some chance allusions we know nothing about their contents. among other things. which was copied into the still extant Book of Lismore. taken away by stealth over the sea. working in a comparatively small monastery. and working out the But it is sad.MUIREDACH 64 " " best learned chronicler in those parts of the world. among whose contents was a life of St. There is a little book to be seen at Flann's elbow. details about the burial- and we know that this Short Book was afterwards stolen by a student from Monasterboice. and picture it alive with its varied activities. On the history of Ireland Flann had said the last word. frequently retrace our steps. Another manuscript was called the Book places of the Irish chieftains of Monasterboice. much as modern writers appeal to the works of O'Curry and O'Donovan. which he calls Leabhar Gearr the — of the ancients than even he — Short Book —containing." The — appeal to Flann as to an authority indisputable. . which surely contained more wisdom was able to digest in his own works of these books not one has survived. historical theories by which he gained his enduring fame. It is possible that a hunt through Irish literature might bring to light some other scraps of information about the books with which Flann is busied when we visit him. science. poring over the books in the library.

But unregenerate that scribes. in silence the young brethren and students are sitting there. if there are its much opportunities in a monastic scriptorium as Naughty schoolboys —and as probably naughty schoolgirls — any such evade the rule of silence by scribbling surrepAnd manuscripts have come down to us with just such notes scribbled in Latin or in Irish in the margins. Patrick himself. with some pulmonary disease. also. " whole book like this And I think we can yet hear echoes of the sigh (if we may ! who was studying a dreary treatise on grammar.MONJSTERBOICE for instance." has just in. We have all known modern reincarnations of the swanker ' : use this expressive abomination of a word !) who wrote in exces" If I liked I could write the sively microscopic characters in one MS. An invigilator sits with them to preserve discipline. sometimes from dictation. writing out and multiplying books. These books bring us very near hand of Columba. book had we 65 man who are almost awe-struck to think that the at his side a document in the handwriting of St. obviously intended for the eye of the writer's neighbour. have succeeded on leaving on The scriptorium is not unlike a modern schoolroom their handiwork. and we must tear of relief of the student — ' ! ." Virgin. it may be. let whoever reads it sweat. how my chest aches " " Our white cat is This is a hard page. yet stood in " awe of him.. sometimes by copying. same book was written or that a certain note written later into the no wrote that in the person than Brian. the incorrigible who caused trouble to Mael-Brigte. the conqueror of Clontarf And likethat his eyes rested on the ink before us while it was still wet." Ruadri Patrick and Brigid grant that Mael-Brigte [the " Oh Holy invigilator] be not angry with what I have written to-day " "I have a rotten pen and watery ink." Such sentences are like snap-shots : they bring before us the grumbler. to contact with the men who have so deeply impressed the history of our island. have a very schoolboy ish look about them come " —" I will if go you " like. the poor boy struggling. whose very names are : human nature has in a schoolroom. But perhaps even more interesting are the less imposing but no less vivid human touches unknown. wise that the Book of Durrow was copied directly from a text written by the actual presence of less a ." May ' ! ! running away. Some of them titious notes to their companions. " it's dinner-time and scribbled in the margin tempus est prandii And this reminds ourselves that time is pressing on.

we may give a mere glance into the simple little chapel. this was not the primary purpose for which the Bible was written or the Cross erected. if we remember that archaeology. and the austere cells that form the domestic parts of the settlement.MUIREDACH 66 We the ourselves away. but was death. so far as one of the difficulties that I am aware. As we watch him scrutinising its details." Then he was Ard-mhaer (High Steward) of the Southern Ui Neill. in recording his He was not only Abbot of Monasterboice. containing the more valuable manuscripts. so to speak. The duties of the High Steward of such very clearly defined anywhere : a sept are not. books were few and dear. the duties of which extended over the modern counties of Longford. standing beside the Abbot as he examines the Cross he has just caused to be erected. the unlettered were taught by symbols and by pictures. give a farewell glance around the room. Westmeath. Up to now we have been looking on the Cross. unseen visitors from another century. part However. and we make our way back Time to the Cross. the Abbot of Armagh. it of King's County. back. we pictured ourselves. and had he lived three years longer he might on the death of Mael-Brigte. we meet in studying ancient Irish social history is the fact that the old writers assume knowledge the tradition of which is now lost and cannot be recovered. noticing rows of ornamental leather book-satchels hanging on the wall. . In a world where and we must not lose sight of his original intention. Meath. say about him. also Vice-abbot of Armagh. It considerably increases our respect for the Abbot to find that he could spare time from the labours . have been translated " to that important office and the proud title of Successor of Patrick. a private view of it to make sure that it is all outset as he had wished it to be. we may occupy ourselves in recalling what the annalists. and probably also part of Armagh that being the range of the territory of the sept in question. obviously was a position of responsibility. and it was for the instruction of such simple folk that this great art treasure At the was added to the riches of Ireland. as a source of information for ourselves on Irish history and archaeology just as we may use the Bible as a text-book of Hebrew history and — In both cases this use is legitimate. Muiredach had a solemn purpose and a lofty message. and taking. to which we now come will not allow us to linger over the other buildings .

" head of counsel of all the men of Bregia. it is mysteries to his followers. the loop of the Greek letter P having become exaggerated till it swept round the whole device. Chi-Rho monogram has never been found in Ireland is an objection to the . and reflect that there was once a man to whom every dweller there looked up to as a counsellor in the difficulties that beset their way through life. clerical Further. forty-four contain geometrical or other ornament. more probable 1 as seems to me. he is called and lay. expounding all that had been in his mind when he caused the Cross to be made so that they in their turn might him speak a . know to pass on the teaching to the folk that came from time to time to the monastery for devotion or for instruction. which have been sufficiently described already. Even the upper panels of the wheel. 1 The fact that the explanation suggested. returning at a later stage of the homily. however. Some have supposed it to be a derivative from the monogram of the Chi-Rho. useless to or halo round the Cross. viceabbot of the chief foundation of Patrick. and when they are gathered together we may hear homily to them. man trusted themselves to the guidance of the Half a province of Ireland standing by our side. We need not imagine what he would say on the subject of the Cross We cannot imagine itself. and all that it commemorates and symbolises. who was abbot of one monastery.MONASTERBOICE 67 incidental to administering his monastery the erection of the work of art with which and his stewartry we are concerned. to procure He must surely have been a remarkable man. that the wheel a simple glory It is. are decorated. as the Cross shows us. a generous patron of art. when seventy panels on the Cross. what he would say on the meaning of the wheel surrounding it perhaps he would know as little as we do of the reason why Celtic crosses are surrounded by a wheel. But now the brethren of the monastery begin to assemble reverently before their Superior. counting the twenty panels on the wheel. Of these. It now There are in all remains to speak of the panels containing figure subjects. and. he has begun to speak of the meaning of the separate panels. so for a time we may stand aside as the Abbot expounds these primal a view. administrator of a fourth of the eastern half of Ireland. Others have put forward . guess on such a subject as this." Surely no mean testimony to a man's wisdom ! Traverse the plain that stretches from the Liffey to the Boyne. which cannot be seen from below.

why waste so much space on mere ornament surely. the Ceaseless succession of days and years. it : every inch of space with storied scenes. which is even yet the pride of Ireland that other wonderful book at Kildare. procession horsemen. Abbot uncommon in and tympana of the Probably it was mean t to in the lintels in England. —as that . should be decorated with devices those that glorified their Gospels in vellum. the march that leads on rapidly and inevitably to death and to judgment. and Gemini in [9] Capricornus(P). it) I conceive. however. it . now woefully mutilated.. call to his : a book that was was believed that an angel had guided the artist's hand still a wonder in the thirteenth century. met with a gentle rebuke.MUIREDACH 68 Possibly one of the brethren might ask the Abbot the natural question that occurs to ourselves. The Abbot would remind the questioner that would be well it was their to fill custom to enrich the vellum Gospels with cunning knots and He might mind the Gospels treasured at Kells. a Gospel in stone. Cancer (?) in the with figures Neither signs. And was it not also right that on some parts of the Cross labour should be expended from which no direct return was to be expected ? for that it was more blessed " like to to give than to receive. perhaps. easily recognisable Sagittarius. with the leg . to look upon. the series of signs o"Fthe zodiacJHa device early Irish sculpture. and being instruction could be given. yet these are — much illustrates — the procession of riders preceding a charioteer in [12]. " I may so call philosophy (if crosses with abstract ornament. and they are interspersed which are not zodiacal such as the rider at the end of [10] [11]. and Aquarius (?) in [10]. would point out the Such. . but which our eyes can never hope It would then be fitting that this Cross. ~Tf must be noticed. from which I can imagine the question asked. contrast the riders in [12]. yet been the attitude so explained common : an exactly similar in Irish representations of stretched horizontally forward. Taurus. not very he might also tell him of far off. suggest to the observer the vault of the sky and the world beyond of time. though frequent doorways of Norman churches is the of the decoration of this and similar Beginning with the base of the Cross. Aries. so marvellously decorated that it scrolls. namely. These 1 ' is have not This rider defaced panel not in their proper order. though certain signs of the zodiac are Leo. if the function of the Cross was to convey instruction. or.

) mingled it with ideas which we .MONASTER BO ICE 69 appears on the crosses at Clonmacnois and at Kells. and are no longer able to reconstruct. —The (From a drawing by treated the subject very freely. 24. no doubt that the zodiac was in the mind of the Fig. There can be artist. but he Zodiac. the Author.

which Round the tree Eve. is the coiled apple to her S. scene is . husband. H. Cross It is fitting that this the story. containing two scenes. whispering into the ear of — Panels [17. and the reason for the necessity of the scheme of redemption of which the Monasterboice. serpent. (Photograph by Mr.MUIREDACH 7o Next we come of the face are first one another [13] hand is first . 25. who is handing the fruit. : tells Adam The all die. The figures of Cain and Abel follow naturally. take in order. a double panel.) the scenes sculptured on the high crosses. though. occurs on most of the crosses that have figure subjects. At the left- Adam and laden with Fig. commonest 18]. beginning with the lowermost. is it the is not found of all among the numerous panels on the taller cross at the scene should begin the series story gives the explanation once for all of how sin entered the world. Crawford. each enclosed in a rope [17] is side are heavily on the stem of the Cross. we may border. As in so the first murder is the natural pendant of the first sin. which The to the panels to say. strange This It At the bottom two animals (perhaps lions) playing or fighting with above which are four panels. Eve. standing under the forbidden tree.

the two spectators to be together at the back. was seen a foreshadowing of the Good Shepherd's victory over Satan.MONASTER BO ICE much less common than that of 7 Adam and Eve . The two rows We see the staff. who grasps Abel. Cain is represented as a middle-aged man with a beard. He also has the round shield and short sword. pictured as a beardless youth. The characters. being the only one He bears the of all the figures on the Cross with any head-covering. and in the other hand he holds the sling. who lets the youth David fight his battles for him. Nos. which bears nothing by which he can certainly be identified. to indicate that He has a conical helmet. though he may also be Goliath's armourI We have here an example of the troubles of perspective of which have already spoken David and Goliath are no doubt meant to be bearer. for which there is of course no scriptural warrant. hanging open to show that the stone has already been cast. round shield and short dagger of which I have already spoken. and scenes of the Old Testament were always looked upon and interpreted as symbols or types of the truths of the New. his hand pressed against his forehead. figure at the left I is have come to the conclusion that it is intended to suggest the careless- say royal dolce far niente of the monarch. In the middle are the two chief combatants. ness. David has his shepherd's crook over one shoulder. 10. After a good deal of thought over this curious detail. Over his shoulder is suspended the wallet in which the stones were stored. and shall we The fourth figure. The giant is brought down on his knees. za. are illustrated in fig. The next panel [19] represents Moses striking the rock. no doubt King Saul. Moses standing in front with his water gushing forth from a hole. and is drinking from a horn. 2. In David. crowd of thirsty Israelites. Saul's drinking horn. The seated he has been struck there. Old Testament scenes such as this are not used for their own sake. and the of Israelites are to be . : in the foreground. The panel next above [18] represents the duel of David and Goliath. and buries his cleaver in his head. 1 but the two are once more grouped together in one panel on one of the crosses at Kells. and an actual example with which it can be compared. which delivered His chosen people from the consequences of the sin pictured on the preceding panel. events. is probably Jonathan. the shepherd who conquered Goliath and delivered the chosen people.

— Panels by Mr.) number of the Wise Men. and myrrh. Fig. but is very rare in Celtic art. Over the head opposite face of the stem of the Cross there are only three panels. On the this panel. 27. and the same number is shown in of the Holy Child is represented the star. But sometimes. frankincense. It is not infrequent as a device in the Catacombs.MUIREDACH 72 understood as being one behind the other troubles of perspective. H. 22]. because of the of gold. the scene is chosen for its New Testa- the spiritual rock. but these are harder to interpret than the four which have just occupied our attention. — Magi [20]. four are found in representations of the scene in the three-fold gift Catacombs. it is another illustration of the And as before. and other places where works of Early Christian art are to be found. 26. S. Moses and the Rock [19]. and the source of living water. . ment . application : Christ is The fourth scene [20] represents the adoration of the Infant Christ by the Wise Men from the East. [21. M'Googan.) Usually three are represented. The only point to notice specially is the Fig. for symmetry's sake. {Photograph by Mr. (Photograph Crawford.

Above this is a panel [21].Vfc. St. Commission to Apostles [23]. which.MONASTERBOICE 73 the inscription with the two cats [15]. holding a The staff. and it also pictured on the Cross of King Flann at Clonmacnois. is no doubt Christ. and is next panel [22] is difficult to explain. probably represents the seizure of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. a footstool shaped like an animal's K . similar representation of the scene occurs in the Book of Kells. with V. At the bottom is arrested by two men with military equipment. as has already been said. The A is central figure. The fig. M'Googan. {Photograph by Mr. 28. 1 I *' •si Fig. 28. He is standing in the middle. As the figure on the left-hand side of the spectator is stretching out his finger and touching the side of the — am inclined to suggest that the scene represented may be the if so the panel is quite unique on Irish crosses.) the right hand raised in benediction. All three figures bear books a reference to the Gospels. — Crucifixion [33]. I incredulity of : panel above [23] probably represents the parting commission of It will be seen at the bottom of the ascending Christ to His Apostles. The central figure is seated. Thomas central figure.

the foot of the Cross is of uncertain meaning some suppose it . its Luke sented writing on a roll. the pattern of spirals previously analysed. misleading and fictitious colophon. In that to the left [34] are six soldiers.MUIREDACH 74 one of the Apostles He gives a roll. The figure of St. spectators of the scene. four of them armed a respectively with bow. The central figure. placed symmetrically one on each The side. others that it typifies the Holy Dove. In the ends of the arms there are groups of figures. we Our Lord. in spite of form with leaves. the other Evangelists on books. is probably of Irish workmanship. is fully draped. and the arms are stretched straight and horizontal. shield. There is a similar bird above the Crucifixion on the High Cross at Kells. presides and below an ornamental and pattern consisting of eight snakes with their tails twisted ingeniously at the two sides are groups of spirals connected by S and C curves. which. not bent. face see above in Glory. is bound to the Cross. there is a portrait of each Evangelist prefixed to his book. It is very interesting to see that the roll-form of book had not head appearing between His feet. To yet been wholly superseded by the ordinary modern In the famous Gospels of Lindisfarne. to the other (identified by the eagle above his head with St. . John) He gives a book. We have there repreBoth forms of is now reached the elaborately sculptured head of the Cross. as is usual in illuminated MSS. sword. These are no doubt the soldiers assisting at the Crucifixion. A is a symbol of resurrection. while two angels . and belongs to the preceding century. like . The lance-bearer and sponge-bearer. a woman and man kneeling on one knee. At the other extremity [35] is a scene less easy to interpret. the face containing the panels we have just been analysing there is On represented the Crucifixion over the Last Judgment. John. Pro- bably the two small figures. It is usually explained as the soldiers watching the tomb. To the two angels supporting the head allusion has already been made. are also regular features of Irish representations of the scene. as is usual in Early Irish representations of the great tragedy. referring to the darkness at the Crucifixion. two circular knobs between them and the central figure are probably meant for the bird at sun and moon. on the other Taking first the Crucifixion [33]. book were thus familiar to the Celtic artists. are meant for the Virgin Mother and St. and spear.

but somehow it does not strike me as either suitable to this particular scene. the latter being typified by an infant This way of representing the carrying up figure supported in a cloth. 29. No. Kells. Plate IIIb. other a sceptre with volutes on the head. or congruous with the rest of the Cross. as may be seen from the other Monasterboice Cross. of the but I am sure that the last word has not been said on this part monument. Thus a figure of St. and Durrow. of the soul is common enough in monuments of the later Middle Ages. in the Gospel of scene. We now turn to the other face. —The I have no alternative solution Last Judgment (panels 30-32). 10. its ends turn up .) to propose. Fig.. or even to Christ. The staffSt.MONASTERBOICE 75 above bear up the soul to heaven. See fig. in that Compare the cross of Termon Feichin. and the crosses at Clonmacnois. 14. This sceptre always appears in representations of Our Lord in Glory on Irish work : it was probably But it is not confined to this suggested by the budding of Aaron's rod. {Photograph by Mr. Luke. ibid. Crawford. Neither is this the way in which our sculptor was in the habit of representing the scene of the soldiers at the tomb. 1 head. shows the same equipment. 14a. 1 is not precisely analogous. where the Last Judgment is presented In the centre stands Christ holding in one hand the Cross. No. in the [31]. Chad.

It may be that these two other is occupied by the lost. It is an open question whether the figure seated on a chair to the left and blowing a long trumpet is part the of the orchestra. [30]. endeavouring by pulling down St. and occupying the whole of the arm of the Cross. in shape precisely similar to this sceptre. However that may be. everyone that . There are a number of small ornamental pins of bronze in the Royal Irish Academy's Collec- rather than down. but : it is noteworthy that the angel has no wings. one on each side. all but one in a the figure in the bottom right-hand crouching attitude corner seems to have a snake wound round him. I must confess that this detail always seems to me the one departure from what we should call good taste that the sculpture displays I think we would have : been glad had Muiredach spared us this perfectly horrible piece of realism Behind these unfortunates comes Satan. A demon drives them to their doom with a violent kick. with his three-pronged fork. The arm There are fourteen figures. and we can hardly doubt that angel with the The Book of this represents the recording Life. Michael scale of the balance to influence it in his favour. Behind the demon is a pair of lovers. led by the orchestra which we have already examined. To the right of the Judge. is — open book. idea of St. separated conspicuously from the rest.MUIREDACH 76 can find nothing better. are notorious persons of the time. but I tion. : people. Michael weighing souls is founded on Daniel xii. Michael the Archangel empty meanwhile is is an interesting scene weighing the souls in a balance. Underneath the central St. whom the Abbot thus gibbeted. or the angel sounding the Last Trump of Judgment conspicuous importance given to this figure favours the latter view. the Michael there mentioned being interpreted as the archangel. probably typifying the Holy Spirit under the form of a dove. is the choir of the blessed. below lying at full length. which the Evil One the figure of Christ ! is thrusting his staff into Satan's head. This scene cannot be sundered from the three figures at the top [32] a seated figure with two On the lap of the seated figure seems to be an angels. 1. Above the head of Christ is a bird. a sort of Irish Paolo and Francesca. clinging tightly to each other in their agony at finding themselves among the lost. and the " time of trouble " when " thy people shall be delivered.

be an irreverence. or. reference " to being " being explained as the Final Judgweighed in the balances and found " in the same book may possibly have suggested that this was to wanting but be the important duty that Michael was to perform on the last day it is an old pagan notion. 12a. But the Ancient of Days. and according to Revelation is to go forth with his angels to war against the dragon. it is Nos. 10. Who had once descended in bodily form as a Dove. (Fig. the difficulty of representing the Divine Persons while preserving a fitting reverence was always present. 12. it till dence was by representing a Hand issuing from the clouds and thick dark- which psalmist and prophet had described as surrounding the Throne. to be seen on a fourteenth century stone sculpture. The shape of the balances. adapting Apocalyptic symbolism. The under-side of the opposite arm [37] contains a hand surrounded by conventionalised clouds. See fig. for example. Michael's crutched On staff. are to be noticed. no man had seen at any time. And here and at Clonmacnois the sculptor has placed the Hand. could be typified under that gracious likeness. Who took upon Himself the form of a servant. . 13. contended with Satan for the body of Moses. The Son. the under-sides and the ends of the arms there are also sculptured figures. evolved by the Egyptians and adopted by the . on Whose Whom face no one could look and majestic. could be represented as the Lamb. could be suitably depicted in the form of flesh in which He clothed Himself. in Kildare Cathedral. The two animals on [39] have already been mentioned. Greeks.) In the efforts of early Christians to depict the mysteries of faith. 30. however With a very few individual excep- to limit about the twelfth or thirteenth century that artists presumed to make likenesses of God the Father. but not infrequent in later It is. Before that time the normal way of indicating the Divine intervention in Creation and in Provi- tions. The Holy Spirit. it was not unnatural that some such symbolism as is depicted on the Cross should evolve There itself. was felt was not to live. This hand is the symbol of the Divine Father. accord- ing to the Epistle of Jude. Him by any figure. who committed the function to Hermes. and St.MONASTERBOICE jj be found written in the book shall The ment. And as Michael. But there is a very significant difference between the Hand as figured ness. is no other example of the occur- rence of this scene on the Irish crosses.

MUIREDACH

78
on these

Irish crosses,

and

as

introduced into such scenes as the Creation,

the Crucifixion, and the like.

Hand

In these the

introduced as part
of a scene, carrying the creative power or the benediction from its hidden
Divine source to the various characters in the picture. But here at Monaster-

boice,

and

at

Clonmacnois

as well, the

Hand

fills

is

the

whole panel

:

it

is

*£•

Fig. 30.

—The

Divine

Hand

[37].

{Photograph by Mr. M'Googan.)

has no connexion with any of the
sculptured scenes, and there seems to be a want of completeness in the
picture of the outstretched Hand of Power, fulfilling no apparent purpose.
not, apparently, doing anything.

Nevertheless

I

think

it

It

has a meaning, and that

with an intention which makes

it

is

put in this par-

one of the greatest of the
many beauties of the Cross. It is placed on the one part of the Cross
where the bystander can see the Hand above his own head. The spectator
ticular place

it

MONAS TER HOICK

79

it is towards him that the Hand
completion of the panel
of Providence is stretched.
This panel is, in a sense, the personal message
of Muiredach to everyone who throughout the ages should visit the Cross.

is

in this case the

As

:

he begs for a prayer for himself, so in return he
That it is the back
pictures the Divine Hand protecting the wayfarer.
of the Hand which is represented need not be a difficulty in the way of
in the inscription

this interpretation

:

Hand is meant to be extended with the finger-tips
we have here another illustration of the attempts

the

downward, and thus
made to surmount the

practical difficulties of perspective.

*,*

>*5

>'
*

Fig. 31.

— Pilate

'

L>

washing his Hands

Fig. 32.

[38].

— Unexplained

[36].

{Photographs by Mr. M'Googan.)

On

the ends of the arms are

two scenes.

In [38] is what has been
reasonably interpreted as Pilate washing his hands. The other scene [36],
at the end of the opposite arm, has so far proved an insoluble
enigma.
It is

probably quite simple

;

but no one has yet remembered a scene that

together three angels, a seated figure holding something unintelligible,
and two other figures, one of which is apparently undraped, with rods.

will

I

fit

have fancied that

by no means

it

satisfied

might represent the Scourging of Christ, but I am
with this guess, and I recommend the panel to the

attention of anyone interested in solving puzzles.
Last come the four panels in the top of the Cross.

Above

the Cruci-

MUIREDACH

8o

shown one of the Old Testament types of that event — Moses in
the Mount, with Aaron and Hur supporting his hands [42]. A horseman,
perhaps one of the mystic riders described in the Book of Revelation,
fixion

is

occupies one of the end panels [43] a much effaced pattern of spirals
above his head. The panel is badly weathered and difficult to make out.

The two remaining
figured on the Cross.

Fig. 33.

— Moses,

is

panels are the only certainly non-scriptural scenes
They are incidents, or rather successive develop-

Aaron, and Hur

Fig. 34.

[42].

— Horseman

[43].

{Photographs by Mr. M'Googan.)

ments of one incident, in the life of the Egyptian hermit St. Antony, the
He was born in
recluse whose example made popular the monastic life.
Egypt about A.D. 250, and from his twentieth year practised asceticism,
withdrawing more and more into solitude, till at last he ended his days
an extreme age in a mountain by the shore of the Red Sea, where a
monastery still perpetuates his name.
at

The

of Antony, with the story of his perpetual struggles against the
assaults of the powers of evil, has been written by Athanasius, and has

made

life

the subject of countless pictures

—good, bad, and indifferent.

Atha-

panel {From a drawing by [41]. after a whole day's L loaf. a raven bread. by a centaur. . Antony sought the cave of Paul. Paul command to go to Fig. the other with smiles gave him access. was revealed pay him a visit. with a Guided over the trackless desert first to SS.) by a satyr. however. says nothing of the incident figured is of a contemporary hermit. At first the older hermit barred the door against the intruder on his solitude. existence of St. Christ has doubled his soldier's rations. but on Antony's introducing himself and telling As they were conhis errand. and Paul twenty-three years older. now thou hast come. " came flying " See. For the last sixty years them a whole loaf of the loving and merciful Lord has sent us a down." said Paul. —Meeting of him in the following night. 35.MONASTERBOICE 81 nasius. then versing. Paul and Antony. which. He on our Cross. the author. the former chanced one day to think The that no monk more perfect than himself had settled in the desert. St. When life St. and finally by a she-wolf. I . and laid before have always received half a loaf but. which of the Egyptian desert." Then there arose a dispute as to who should break the bread. Paul likewise found refuge from the evil world in the depths recorded by St. St. Antony was ninety years of age. Jerome in his of Thebes.

36) ' "*-l~ Fig. On this monument may be seen [41] the two aged hermits meeting.:• — and Antony breaking Bread {Photograph by Mr. M'Googan. [40]. and the raven the ground beside them. The most : indeed. 36. For pulling. see fig. the rest of the story how Paul died and was buried.*. — — : incidents have nothing to do with the Cross.MUIREDACH 82 was settled by each seizing the loaf on the side nearest him. This particular incident is not infrequent in early sculptures in these It islands the only non-scriptural scene that occurs with a frequency comparable with the favourite scriptural subjects. and keeping for himself the part that remained in his hand. and Antony returned to his own dwelling those interested must be referred to Jerome the later discussion. with the raven above and between them. each holding his crozier. In the second scene ([40]. — Paul . is seated on was natural that a conspicuous scene in the life of the founder of monasticism should be pictured in a sculpture adorning a monastery.) the two hermits are holding the loaf of bread. it is important representation is that on the famous Ruthwell Cross. for here .

so our us. gone ." So they abode without food. We may very likely hear the Abbot telling his monks some such story as this. and it rest of the story. and cast them- — on the mercy of the Lord. as at the first. in the ragged grave- is Christian worship are and his monks. brightened by the same sun. in the first place. but it illustrates. Take no thought saying. but none the less in simple faith — — the promise. past and future. One of them. their bones lie somewhere in the soil around but their graves are forgotten as completely as the grave of Moses. the little point about the monastic love of cats which we mentioned at the beginning. find ourselves. a mist falls on the scene. and also in the Book of how three young Irish clerics went off on pilgrimage over sea. man. The same scene is represented on two of the it is crosses at Kells. span of life . On the sea they threw away their oars. which it brought to them. and built a church. does not concern us. What shall we eat? or What shall we drink ? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of such But just and when it as the rolls Abbot away we yard where the few mouldering. illustrating crudely perhaps. obvious that the story has given the suggestion for the plot of this tale of the Irish clerics. have brought our what he catches. As a student's library forms part of the world outside. Paul and Antony of St. took his caitin his pet little cat. till a message came to them from Christ to tell them that on the altar there was half a wheaten cake and a piece of fish for each and caitin to feed us. of Book of Leinster. The caitin went selves and caught a salmon.MONASTERBOICE 83 i accompanied by a Latin inscription that puts the interpretation of the panel beyond doubt. Soon they came to an island where there was plenty of firewood and water. a tale told in the taking no provision but three cakes. Flann the great historian and relics of this ancient centre of The Abbot his pupils. Every section of that stream. is as real as our own. it is fairly in any case which the life is Antony exercised in of SS. finishing his homily. however. little forms part of the long stream of time. The it were pity to which eat of not particularly interesting. also illustrates the influence Ireland for . There is Lismore. all are things. " no pilgrimage is this on which we are now ! " We Alas ' ! said they.

I trust that Fig.MUIREDACH 84 darkened by the same clouds. As we turn away from the quiet graveyard. — Panel [16]. {From a drawing by the author^) . The student finds rest and refreshment and wandering among other scenes. where the throb of the motor and the whirr of the telephone are by leaving his study for a while ever in our ears. 37. and come back to our own century. we too bring back some rest and refreshment from our brief excursion into the world of a thousand years ago.

INDEX Annals. 44 Termon Feichin. 49 12. 64 Hair. 83 — Book of Monasterboice. 54. Irish. n — Book of 68. of. 66 of the Cross. 3. 69. 63 Art. 27. 47. 59-63 Houses. 68 — Gospels Lindisfarne. a Clonfert Cathedral. 64 — Book of Durrow. 4 Churches. 74. 46. 42 Panels. 50 64. 33. — Cong. Decorative panels. 57 5. 75 Visions of the other world. Ahenny. 73 — Book of Leinster. 2. 15 — — — Book of Armagh. 83 Music. Europe 15 80-82 St. 41 Hand. 30 19. 22. 25 Human and Animal Kells. slab of.. 17 RuarcAn. ancient. Nature Antony. 11 77-79 History of Monasterboice. 23. Map. 68 Diirer. 21. 83 — Book of Lismore. 76. 46. 73. 57-59. 65 — Book of Invasions. 65 Michael weighing souls. 75 Vikings. Halley's.. 62. 69. 45 Perspective. 17. 9. of ancient. 21. 30. Figures. Costume. 3. 79 — Castledermot. Library of Monasterboice. 46. 75 Kells. of Monasterboice. 46 Shrines. 21 — Clonmacnois. 47 Geography. Moone Abbey. 64 Life of Muiredach. of. 18 St. 77 Buite. St. 42. 40 85 42 . 2 Science. 44. dressing of. Flann in 913 3-8 a. symbolism of. explanation Comet. 9 — Short Book. 10. 64 Annals of Four Masters.. of. difficulties of. of Maker 1. 55 Interlacing patterns. early. Celtic. 75 — Psalter Ricemarch. 72. 47 • — — student's. instruments Charlemagne. St. 26 — Gospels of Kildare. 33 Crosses. 9 — Drumcliffe. 42. 26. 25. 58 of. 71. 23. 21. 74 — Gospels of Chad. 31 Notebook. Albrecht.d. 10-13 Marginal notes in manuscripts. — 17 22. 41 Wkapons and Implements. 68 37 Portents. 22 — — list of. 64 — Colloquy of the Elders. 15 Annals of Ulster. Key-pattern. 27. 53 Zodiac. knowledge Books. 38. 63 Cats. 22.. 59-61 life in Monasteries. 75 Durrow.

V Printed by Ballantyne. at Paul's Work. Edinburgh I3«as . Hanson &> Co.

.

.

J PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET UNIVERSITY OF OCU TORONTO LIBRARY .

.' - : ' '- :. .'' ' i' .'r. ^ r : < i j- '>. •''''*"'. IWHBBMli BMBM 0swwHBi©ii3?! KBSHt I®&A%4 Xh .###BOT_TEXT###gt;-Y:ti.