Posts Tagged “Bards”

Irish Hedge Row History. Session #13
Two Thousand Years of Irish History
From the Hedge School at

Today:  The Bardic Schools and Bards in Ancient Ireland

Listen to the complete Hedge Row History Series here:
See all of our sessions on Genealogy; Song; Travel;
Language; and History at the Hedge School here:

Random notes on todays show

Before the time of Patrick
The Irish Bardic School existed before the coming of St. Patrick.
Written in the 7th c., Memoir of St. Patrick, there was a contest
between St. Patrick and the Druids. Each was to throw a book
into the water and see which came out uninjured. Same story is
told in the Tripartite Lives of St. Patrick.

Could they write ?
Tradition says ancient Irish used Ogham, as in the pillar stones
by chiefs graves with a name carved in the stone. Bardic Literature
and Lives of St. Patrick both speak of finding literary and
professional men, all pagan, druids, poets, antiquarians, and and
elaborate code of laws.
Immediately after the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century,
they began writing it down in the Irish language, which tells us
they understood letters already.
Irish poetry also developed in pay schools, with many Irish terms

End of the Bardic era
The Ancient Professional Schools that lasted until 1641 in General.
Generally stopped in 17th century when patrons (Great Families)
became homeless or exiles.
Closer to a University type system, but some may have migrated to
Hedges as teachers, or even students. Started out Pagan, then
Christian fr. Rom trdrs & Pat.

Bardic Schools were secular (taught in Irish as Hedges were at first).
Focus was Irish Language, Irish History, and Brehon Law, and used
intensive scientific study
Long succession of Poets, Brehons and Historians. 1st English Language
account was in 1561?  Four Levels of Study:
1) Brehon or Judge  2) Shankee or Pettigrer  3) Aoesdan = Bard
4) File : Poet, Scholar, Guardian of Values, above the bard.

Hedge Schools arise
Hedges arise from Cromwellian suppression, and further under Wm. III’s
Penal code, increasing in severity till 1782.

The Clanrickarde Memoirs
Clanrickarde Memoirs: London 1722: was a school of Poetry, for
descendants of Poets and of some note already in their tribes.
Day 1 : Student told to write a poem, and went to his cubicle in the dark.
Day 2 : Evening, candles brought to write by, then Professors examined.

The School year
Open from Michaelmas to 25 March, then went home with report on them.
Memoir say it took 6 or 7 years to attain mastery, but maybe not.
The Bardic Schools were very exclusive. Students came from traditional
families serving traditional tribes. Very conservative in nature.  Study of
Latin taken up early by the time of St. Patrick at least.

O’Curry says 10th and 11th century classical knowledge is good with these sch.
Quiggin say the poets of the 13th – 15th century knew religious lit in Latin.
Latin was also used in Irish medical schools at varying levels.

English Tudors brought decline in Bardic Schools. The wars of Eliz. and
Henry 8 hurt Irish and Anglo-Norman Lords.

Bards Forbidden
Earl of Desmond had to pledge no bard would appear in his territory,
as they were a threat to those who ‘occupied’ Ireland.
Entire country is dominated, land confiscations, Flight of the Earls.  Cromwell
then sealed their fate later in the century, i.e. 1641, 1691 Treaty of Limerick
Still, some educated survived, some mention of antiquaries and deducers of
pedigrees for noble families. – per Sir Henry Piers in 1682.

Low point for native learning.  Clanrickarde says reduced to just read and
write a common dialect. “not one country school’ was frequented since 1641.
Schools declined into ‘Courts of Poetry’ for reciting and talking.

Remains of the Bards
Bardic Practice, per a Doctor before 1767, described his visit:
After work day, sit down in house, in bad weather, without doors in fair
weather; telling stories of ancient heroes and times in an amazing style.
Protestant Rector of Dungiven, Derry, says tradition preserved in winter
evenings when Seannachies met, taking turns reciting. If any variance
between 2, then decided by vote !

Galway Seanch. reciting 55 stanzas of 4 lines each from 13th century work.

The above are only rough notes on todays broadcast, please do listen
in for the full account !


Stay tuned for the next session of “Irish Hedge Row History”.

…….So end the notes from the Irish Hedge Row today.
You can see the entire series at
Advertisers and sponsors welcome of course !
The Hedge School has 8 Broadcast series, including
Genealogy; History; Song; Travel; and Language.

All available on the iTunes Irish provider page (click below):
Contact Us

You can reach the Irish Roots Cafe on Twitter and Facebook.
Also at and by mail at our U.S. location:

The Irish Roots Cafe
Box 7575
Kansas City, Missouri 64116
Leave a message on our Phone (816) 256-3360

Contact us for speaking engagements,
exhibits, and educational events. Since 1984.
©2009 IGF, This information is intended
for personal non-commercial use only.
Please apply for any other usage in writing.

Sponsors Welcome.
Remember to keep the hedge growing –
with your donation, subscription or membership.
– Thank you.

About Your Session Leaders

Both Michael and Peter are graduates of Rockhurst University,
and have given lectures, exhibits, tours, and educational
seminars relating to Ireland since 1984.

Peter Reilly Adams
Hedge School Instructor
Peter  traces his roots to the County Fermanagh and County
Cavan. Growing up in the City of New York and influenced by
the Irish neighborhoods, he was educated in Catholic Schools
all his life and was a member of the Augustinian Recollect
Order. Now in Kansas City, Kansas, he has a Bacholar
Degree in  Philosophy, Theology and History and Masters
in Liberal Arts and Public Administration
He has taught at every level of education over the past 40
years and served as Assistant to the Mayor in Kansas City.
He was the host of the Irish Radio show, Celtic Crossings
and has led tours to Ireland for 23 years. He is a noted
musician and a talented vocalist.

Michael C. O’Laughlin
Poor Scholar

Mike O’Laughlin is the founder of the hedge school on the web,
and is the leading author and publisher of Irish Works
in the field of Irish Families, Genealogy and History.

Comments Comments Off on The Irish Bards & Their Schools in Ireland

Irish Family History and Genealogy Podcast
with curious news and notes from Ireland.
From the Hedge School at

Show 145   Advance Release
Among Todays Topics at the Hedge School:

1)   Family of the Day: O’Loughlin
2)   Irish Families in China
3)   Eagles on the coast of Ireland
4)   One minute podcast: The fall of the bards
5)   Clare is the County of the month
6)   Conway family sets a record with 6 !
7)   Searching for Neylon, Traynor, Nolan and O’Malley

Listen to all of our podcasts on the iTunes Irish Provider Page at:

This Weeks Audio Timeline

Todays Topics:                    1:00
Notes from Mike:                 2:00
One Minute Podcast:           4:00
Book of the Month:              6:30
The Magnificent Seven:        9:30
Irish Name of the Day:       11:30
Sources:                            15:30
Websites of the Week:        16:30
Curious News and Notes:   18:30

Total Time: 25:50
Our Enhanced podcast with photos and links is also free at:
Notes This Week:
What’s happening today at the Irish Roots Cafe

1)  We finished up our first Hedge Row Workshops and are
now planning the next.  We had Genealogy, Language
and song at the first one.  Already have another planned
for music on the 27th of February.

2)  More of our books are on the way to Gould Genealogy
down Australia way – many thanks to all you folks down under
for the support of our Irish family publications.

One Minute Podcast
Let’s take a listen to one of our 8 other podcast series.
Covering Song; Recitation; Travel; History; Irish-America;
or Irish language.

Todays Podcast extract is from the Hedge Row History Podcast
and is part of our discussion on the early bardic schools in
Ireland which fell as the hedge schools were being born, both
suffering from the events of the 17th century.

For more podcasts like todays sample extract, go to:

Irish Family History:
Photo Enhanced version:
Irish in America:      
Irish Song /recitation:
Irish Video Shorts:
Irish Hedge Row History:
Book of the Month:

1)  The Families of County Clare, Ireland
an extract from the above book:

Viking Raids
We have early records of Viking raids from Scandinavia which included
landings at Galway Bay on the north of Clare and up the Shannon River
into Limerick in the south of the county.

Part of Thomand
When the new geographical division called ‘Co. Clare’ was formed in
1565, it would hold most of the territory earlier known as Thomand.
In earlier times the territory of Thomand was larger than Co. Clare,
containing major parts of Co. Limerick and Co. Tipperary, running to
the borders of Kilkenny and Queens County.  The exact boundaries were
somewhat flexible, rising and falling with the fortunes of the families of

Co. Clare is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and by Lough
Derg and the Shannon river on the east and south.  It is thus separated
from Tipperary, Limerick and Kerry.  These natural barriers would become
a part of the reason Clare remained independent for so long.  They also give
Clare a flavor of its own.

Thousands Flee to County Clare
It is not surprising to find links between the families of Limerick, Tipperary
and Clare.  Because of the close geography and because of a shared history
within the kingdom of Thomand.  In the 17th century we find Irish from all
over Ireland ‘invited’ into Clare.  For example, dispossessed Irish in nearby
Co. Kerry were given rights to settle in the barony of the Burren in Co. Clare.
(see map for examples)………

2)  County Clare genealogy and family history notes.

3)  The War in Clare.  (From my Library)

4)  The History of County Clare by White.  (From my library)

5)  The History of County Clare by Frost. (From my Library)

More about families in County Clare:

These families are given on the Map of the Four Masters and shown
in County Clare (Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters IGF edition):

de    Clare
Cusack (O’Cisoghe)
Mac    Brodin
Mac    Clancy
Mac    Donnell, C.
O’    Brien, B.
O’    Brien, King
O’    Callaghan
O’    Carmody
O’    Connell
O’    Conor, L.
O’    Considine
Mac    Lysaght
Mac    Mahon, L.
Mac    Namara, P.
O’    Creagh
O’    Cullenan
O’    Culligan
O’    Curran
O’    Daly
O’    Davoren
O’    Dea, C.
O’    Deegan
O’    Dermody
O’    Drinan
O’    Flattery
O’    Fynn
O’    Gorman, C.
O’    Grady, L.
O’    Griffin
O’    Halloran
O’    Heffernan
O’    Hehir, C.
O’    Hickey
O’    Hogan
O’    Honeen
O’    Howley, C.
O’    Kearney, C.
O’    Keeley
O’    Liddy
O’    Loghlin
O’    Lynch
O’    Moloney, C.
O’    Morony, C.
O’    Mullins
O’    Neil (Nihel)
O’    Neylan
O’    Quinlevan
O’    Quinn, L.
Three Things to Remember:
We Have a Podcast, a Blog reader, and a Blog !

The Podcast is my ‘radio’ show, with extra comments.
The Blog reader is a computer that ‘reads’ this blog.
The Blog has additional entries, and written shownotes.
Coming Up:
Chinese Irish and Irish in China

Time to raise our eyes skywards, give thanks, and  ask for help !
Here are todays “Magnificent Seven” :

1)   Welcome Diana Fyfe, as a full sponsor member, searching
for Neylon.  Her grandmother, Agnes was born in 1884, her
her mother was Mary…..

2)  Welcome new member William Trainor of Sugar City, CO.
searching for Traynor and Trainor.

3)  Welcome new member Richard Conley of Waterloo, Iowa !
Your Irish Families Book has shipped as well… Thank You..

4)   Ruth B. Sanderson of Shawnee, KS your County Fermanagh
and County Louth genealogy book has shipped !

5)  Sandra Crowley of Barrie, Ontario, Canada, your County Armagh,
Ireland, genealogy book has shipped !

6)  Daniel O’Lowry of Christianburg, VA your Book of Irish Families,
great and small, has shipped !

7)  Larry Phillip of Neenah, WI, welcome as a new member.
Looking for Charles Nolen who came to Rockford, IL., 1854 from
County Carlow and Austin & Anna O’Malley who lived Rockford,
Byron & Pecatonia, IL.

Check out our online search list at:

Thanks to all of our members – without you these
podcasts would not be possible –  !
Sponsors are welcome and needed.

Irish Family Name of the Day:

Todays family history in honor of member:
James W. O’Loughlin

Related Spellings of the Name
O’Loghlin, O’Laughlin, O’Loglin, O’Lochlainn, Loglin, Loughlen
Loflin, etc….

Varient Spelling Groups: 1124, 1674,
From The Guide to the Various Spellings of Irish Family Names

History of the Name
Traditionally known as Lords of the Burren, this name comes
from Co. Clare, the county which has always been the center
of O’Loughlin country.
Lochlain (A.D. 953) is the man from whom the name is taken.
Originally from the same clan as the O’Conners, two brothers
split the clan with one forming the O’Loughlins and the other
the O’Conners in the 10th century.
Corcomroe was the area inhabited by this family, and they ruled
over the area known as the Burren, meaning the “Rocky Place.”
O’Loughlin retained all of the Burren until the invasions of
Cromwell.  The occupiers remarked that the Burren, “had not
enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang him, nor dirt
enough to bury him.  This statement may have been true then,
but the O’Loughlins thrive there to this day none the less..
(partial extract of information on the name )

copyright 2009, IGF, based in part upon
The Book of Irish Families, great and small

Irish Family Coats of Arms From the Irish Book of Arms
A Brief search in that work shows:

1)   O’Loughlin of County Clare is given and illustrated in the
Irish Book of Arms, with a man in armour on the coat and an
anchor as the crest.

Coming Up Later in this episode:
The Eagles Return to the West of Ireland
The Free Master online index at shows:
Listings for the name numerous times, here are a few examples:

1)   The Birth Index of Ireland
2)   Irish Genealogies book, from Keatings History of Ireland
3)   The Families of County Galway
4)   The Families of County Clare
5)   Tribes and Customs of the Hy Many. O’Donovan.
6)   Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters (numerous)
including O’Loughlin branch of the O’Neills; of Aileach, of Burren,
of Clare, and of Tyrone.

You can use this free index to search for your family name:
Remember to leave off the Mac or O when typing your name.

Around the World, in Irish Ways.
The Web Page and Videos of the Month.

1)   Chinese Song by Irish School Girls

2)   Kilfenora Ceilli band celebrates 100 years

3)  Kerry Eagle Flies again in Ireland

4)  My home town, Ennis County Clare Video
I remember these sights !

see also our Irish Video Shorts at:

Curious News and Notes, From Ireland today

1)  Chinese Irish
The Chinese New Year ushered in the Year of the Tiger
with several hundred gathered in Wolfe Tone Park in Dublin,
Ireland recently and events continued until the 21st of Feb.

2)  Nuala Conway is the mother of the first set of sextuplets in
Ireland. The odds were 4.5 million to one against that happening
naturally, but it did !

3)  Irish Eagles fly once more
The Golden eagle has returned to Donegal and the white tailed Eagle
has also been introduced into County Kerry.

4)  Irish Cost of Living down
The cost of living had declined for 13 months in a row, including
housing, clothing and drink.

5)  Real Chinese Irish
Beijing’s Foreign Studies University will be teaching the Irish language.
Irish is an official EU language since 2007, and over 30 colleges have
applied for funding of Irish language programs, including those in
the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe !

6)   The Kilfenora Céilli band just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary
last year, and is one of Irelands best known traditional Irish music
bands, and they hail from County Clare. It’s history can be traced
back to the fife and drum band there back in the 1870’s.  Kilfenora
descendants also began the first Irish family history podcast in 2006,
right here….. of course.

…….So end the notes from the Irish Hedge Row today.
You can see the entire series at
Advertisers and sponsors welcome of course !
The Hedge School has 8 Broadcast series, including :

The History of Ireland
Irish in America
Irish Video Shorts
Irish Song and recitation
Irish Family History and genealogy
Irish Family History photo enhanced with links.
Travel Ireland.

All available on the iTunes Irish provider page (click below):
Contact us

You can reach the Irish Roots Cafe on Twitter; Facebook;; and by mail at our U.S. location:

The Irish Roots Cafe
Box 7575
Kansas City, Missouri 64116
Leave a message on our Phone (816) 256-3360

Contact us for speaking engagements,
exhibits, and educational events. Since 1984.
©2009 IGF, This information is intended
for personal non-commercial use only.
Please apply for any other usage in writing.

Sponsors Welcome.
Remember to keep the hedge growing –
with your donation, subscription or membership.
– Thank you.

About Your Host
Mike O’Laughlin
Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora, County Clare,
and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk, County Kerry. He also bears
Sullivan, Buckley, Kilmartin, Llewellyn and Kelliher roots.
A one of a kind resource, Mike is the most published author
his field, including books; newsletters; podcasts; and videos.

His books and publications are found at:
Learn More About the Irish Hedge School online at:

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