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Showing posts from December, 2016

Medieval Irish Monks: Mayhem and Murder

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Over the Winter holidays I sat down and read Dr. Barry W. O'Dwyer's "The Conspiracy of Mellifont, 1216-1231" (Dublin Historical Association, 1970), which a fellow historian kindly gifted me some 20 years ago and has regrettably sat mostly idle on my bookshelf ever since.  
Essentially, the paper looks at the Irish Cistercian monasteries just after the arrival of the Normans and the influence the Norman conquest had on Irish ecclesiastical reform.  From a modern point of view, I would tend to assume ecclesiastical reform takes the shape of much discussion and argument amongst religieux albeit in a somewhat civilised manner.  Not so, gentle reader, not so.  
Dr. O'Dwyer recounts how the French Cistercian mother-house & general chapter's desire to reform Irish Cistercian houses & communities was met with much resistance and outright violence.  In 1216 a reform visitation to Jerpoint, Co Kilkenny was prevented by the abbot calling "out his whole commun…

Beannactaí an tSéasúir!

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Nollaig Shona daoibh agus Athbhlian faoi mhaise daoibh!

Well its been a mild Winter here so far in Dublin Bay North.  But a busy one! Especially the last two weeks, where active parenting, getting the house ready for Christmas, volunteering (at my daughter's primary school and Fighting Words) and getting the odd day of work in when the parenting schedule permits...whew! I've barely had a chance to sit down the last two months, never mind write.

But now...its Christmas Eve and all the house is quiet.  I absolutely love this time of year.  I've written before that there is no place better than Ireland at Christmas and that is true.  The lights, the festive atmosphere and everyone in great form for the entire month of December.  It is something to behold.  For me, everything turns on the Solstice and gets a bit quieter.  The light is absolutely spectacular right now and although we are in the depths of winter, there are always signs of Imbolg agus Spring.

Tulips are sprouti…