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Thread: An Irish History of Civilization

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Default An Irish History of Civilization

    I have begun reading this massive two volume creation by Don Akenson. In the preface to volume one, he states: "Some of the stories are accurate; all of them are true."... "Taken together, this Irish history of civilization is a micro-Talmud of humankind: for ultimately, we are all of one stock, and what we learn of one of us tells us something about each of us."

    I am not far in -about 1500 pages to go - but I am already confident of a pleasant journey. The reason for this post is to quote a passage (on page 112 of the 1st volume, describing a meeting by the abbot Columba, one of the great Irish Celtic priests after Padraig, with a sinner.

    << Iona - 567. Condign Punishment

    A man from Ireland, a great and secret sinner, tries to land on Iona to do penance.

    His sins are too heinous for that. Columba meets him on the shore. The sinner kneels, riven with remorse and miserable, on the shingle beach. He promises to accept whatever penance the abbot decrees.

    "You must never return to Ireland," Columba states and then falls silent. He is considering which of the other laws of divine penance is here relevant.

    The man is guilty of having killed his brother and of having had sexual relations with his own mother.

    After reflection, Columba decides: "And you must spend twelve years among the British." >>
    Last edited by Ukko; Jan-20-2012 at 01:24.
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    Wow I must have a read of that book! Being half Irish I'm sure I will find it very interesting.

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    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    Quite a Penance Columba handed out. Sounds like a very good book. Not to be picky, but I must point out that Iona is an island in Scotland. Another excellent but much shorter book is Cahills "How The Irish Saved Civilization". Well worth reading even for a Scot like me. Incidentally Columba was the Latinized form of the Gaelic name Collumcille which means dove.
    Rob

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneBaroque View Post
    Quite a Penance Columba handed out. Sounds like a very good book. Not to be picky, but I must point out that Iona is an island in Scotland. Another excellent but much shorter book is Cahills "How The Irish Saved Civilization". Well worth reading even for a Scot like me. Incidentally Columba was the Latinized form of the Gaelic name Collumcille which means dove.
    Akenson mentions both the Celtic Collum Cille and the Scottishness of Iona. Also, if I have my history right (not a sure thing), the British the abbot was referring to were somewhat Romanized Celts, this being before the invasion by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

    I haven't read Cahill's book, but I have heard of it. The descriptions were interesting and I have to read it - when I can get it cheap. I have no known Celtic ancestors, though my family name is fairly common in Ireland.
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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I have finished reading it. It was my breakfast book, then also becoming my sometime lunch book, and eventually my sometime evening book too. I found it a very interesting read, pretty evenly divided between downers and uppers among the vignettes of which it is composed. No cows are sacred, but there are many admirable people you've not heard of.

    I enthusiastically recommend the (2 volume) book to anyone living in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, southern Africa, or English speaking North America, including the Caribbean. If you happen to be a South Pacific Islander, it could simultaneously depress you and give you a swelled head.

    I am fairly amazed at how consolidated an understanding can be created from the seemingly fragmented arrangement of this treatise. I think it qualifies as a masterpiece.
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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    As some of you may know, I'm mostly Irish. I'll have to give this book a try, sometime.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
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