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If we read one of Fr. Ferris's notes we, I think, find it strange: Cuillin district and presumably our whole parish being in the same neighbourhood was occupied by a British tribe which for centuries remained independent of the Gaelic invaders. The remoteness of the place lent itself to this. For the very same reason, for instance, it was the region least and latest affected by the Norman invasion. But because the Gaels espoused the Christian religion warmly, their British antagonists would be all the more likely to hold aloof at the start from new ideas. Hence, Christianity was slow in effecting an entrance to this locality.

We must begin to wonder who these British people were. It might well be that the people of Millstreet are still of this same race. Father Ferris was referring here to one of the early peoples who came to Ireland before the coming of the Gaels, and who apparently came to us from Britain. They were a Celtic people, like the Gaels, and we know them as the Erainn, of the Dairinne or the Muscraighe. Memories of them are preserved in the old mythological cycle, the old series of stories about Tir na nOg. We are probably dealing with a race who believed in a happy Otherworld in the Western sea where the gods live and where heroes are allowed to go after death. There was neither old age nor death there. There is Oisin and Niav Cinn Oir, Niav of the Golden Hair.

All over this area there are remains of old forts and gallauns, fulacht fiadh,

dolmens and underground beings lived

cromlechs, standing stones, passages. All these indicate






stone circles, ring forts, souterrains or ancient habitations, places where human time. They built simple houses and then

surrounded them with some protection, a wall double wall with a moat or dyke filled with water stones were memorials to their dead; the dolmens temples of pagan worship.

of earth, later of stone; sometimes a in between. The gallauns or standing burying places, the stone circles their

These ancient people, the Dairinne or Iverni, have left their own memorials in the many fulacht fiadhs to be seen in the area. One of the problems for early human beings was to boil water. Neither wooden vessels nor stone vessels would allow water to be brought to the boil. Before the discovery and use of metal man had learned to make pits into which they put cuts of meat which were boiled by putting into the water red hot stones, which had been heated on a fire of black turf. This method of boiling water and cooking meat has been demonstrated. Fr. Ferris has succeeded in making a very complete list of all the old field remains of human habitation in this area. With great patience, the changes in human conditions here could be discovered from these remains We may note this particular reference to fulacht fiadh at Baile na Tona on Jeremiah O'Riordan's farm. A bronze axe was found here about four feet from the heap of fulacht fiadh in a field called 'The Crocks". There was six inches of burned stone under the area. It is now in the National Museum where it is dated at about 1,200 BC or over 3,000 years ago. It is very likely that the bronze axe was hidden in the fulacht fiadh long after it had ceased to be used as a cooking place.


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