Why the Iron Age Irish were more sophisticated than Experts would have You Believe.

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I apologise for the poor quality of this picture, but I just wanted to bring something amazing to your attention. We always think of the ancient peoples of this world as being less intelligent than us, inferior to us, more primitive than us, less enlightened than us. If you have read any of my previous posts here, and here, experts would have us believe that life back then was crude and hard, that these people were savage and cruel.

It’s true that bad things happened; mankind has always found ways to make others suffer. It’s no different now; half our world is at war, people abuse each other and take advantage of those who are weaker. Older generations say such things never happened in their day. Nonsense; it was just swept under the carpet and hidden.

But I recently came across something which made my day, and impressed me beyond measure. I have never read the Brehon Laws, but on visiting the Co Cavan Museum in Ballyjamesduff the other day, I came across a board summarising just a morsel of some of their laws.

In para 3 of the image above, you might just be able to make out the words. Basically, the Brehon Laws were saying that it is illegal to satirise, ie mock, belittle, make fun of, anyone who is born with a disability. I was stunned. Does that sound like a primitive backward people who loved to sacrifice their children and Kings?

Food for thought…

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11 thoughts on “Why the Iron Age Irish were more sophisticated than Experts would have You Believe.

  1. When I was working overseas and dealing with other nationalities, I’d often hear Western Colleagues remark about how ‘Stupid’ non-western people were!
    I always took exception to this (and said so) because I’d quickly discovered that they were not, in fact, stupid, but either thought about things differently (and often not wrongly) or were just simply unfamiliar with some technologies we in the west had grown up with.
    My view of ‘ancient peoples’ is that they too were not less intelligent, just that, they too thought about things differently or were unfamiliar with the many new technologies being developed.
    Humans have probably always thought carefully about things (burial ceremonies, Gods, nature, etc) even in pre-historic times – there are several cases (also in Neanderthals) where people were seriously injured or afflicted and yet they lived for a long time – why? Because the others took care of them!
    It’s a case of ‘kids always think their parents are stupid’ and don’t understand them 😀

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    1. Yes I’ve read that too about the discoveries of Neanderthals who lived to old age despite suffering injuries which rendered them incapable of being useful to their tribe, so they must have been looked after. This shows they were capable of the same ‘finer’ feelings we have now, love, a sense of loyalty and responsibility, organisational skills etc. Certainly not ignorant or stupid. With all our knowledge and technologies, we still cant work out how they built their stone monuments!

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        1. There is a theory that the Tuatha de Denann may have been aliens on account of one vdrsion of the story saying they arrived on dark clouds in the sky and landed on a mountain; also when their King Nuada’s arm was struck off in battle it was replaced with one of silver…the first bionic arm, maybe? Later, the surgeons were able to grow skin over it so that Nuada could replace Bres as King again. (Kings had to be whole and unblemished).
          All sounds perfectly reasonable to me lol!!!

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            1. I also really like the idea… though my question would of course then be, wouldn’t we find traces of heredity from such a different race within our own dna? There are Irish families who claim ancestry with the Tuatha de Danann, but they are not genetically different from us. It’s pretty clear we all evolved here on earth. Now of course, there could always have been aliens who came to help out us humans and didn’t mix with us, we certainly shouldn’t be the only beings in this universe. 🙂 Also my own thoughts about the Tuatha de Danann can’t exactly be said to be scientific either, because I’ve always thought they arived from the otherworld, and somehow the sidhe are and are not human. Both in Ireland and in Greece, it seems, the gods either lived or descended onto a mountain, and ancestors developed their own symbols, and then became divine, if they weren’t already. 🙂 The sidhe seem to defy reason as a rule, so I’m back to having to be content with not knowing, while being cinvinced beyond doubt of their existence.

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            2. Ah well, I read an article a long time ago when I first began writing and researching which suggested that there was a difference in the dna but I really cant remember the detail. But I think basically there have been discoveries of tall red haired blue eyed races in pockets around the world who lived around the time period the Denann would be placed in who did indeed have something unusual in their genetics. I will have to see if I can find it…it was really interesting. Of course theres no evidence to prove these people were Denann, but it would be nice to think so. No smoke without fire…

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            3. Also Eilish, this may go against druid teaching, I really dont know, but who’s to say the otherworld isnt actually another real living solid planet like ours, or another dimension, or even just a conduit by which various places are accessed? We dont and cant know for sure what our an ient ancestors meant when tbey referenced the otherworld; the constraints of our understanding is different to theirs. Even they may not have been able to understand what they saw, and so therefore events were explained in terms of ‘magic’, or the devine. Flicking a light switch or the flight of an airoplane would seem magical and a god like power if you didnt understand how it happened…just a thought!

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            4. Hi Ali,
              all great points, of course. I’d love to see the article if you can still find it. An actual planet in our dimention is definitely possible. I’ve not been interacting with embodied people though, but this is also 1800 years later, so certainly if they’re mortal like us it would make sense that they were once physical and now are not. On the otherhand, and often this seems more than plausible to me, they could be in another actual existing planet which almost coincides with our own but occupies other dimentions. Some places, like Newgrange or Glastinbury Torr and lots of others I’m sure are said to be where the vale between the worlds is thin. Some modern people have literally found themselves in meadows or crossing fences that had not existed before or sense in that space. Physicists are confirming the theory of inflation, which I’m not too familiar with, but it postulates that for instance everytime you move your hand in front of your face it passes through five dimentions you cannot see, because they are so small. You cannot even see them with an electron microscope. It also postulates multiverses, and why wouldn’t it be possible that the multiverses overlap into each other, like nesting dolls? Goodness, it’s all possible! And yes, there have been quite a few otherworld people who, on walking through my place, have stared openly, with an incomprehensibility/awe expression on their faces at the couch, kitchen table, walls, and pictures hanging up, and especially the mirror. 🙂 If they’re physical people who only appear disembodied to people in this dimention like they do to me and others who’ve seen them, because that’s all we can experience in our different dimentions, maybe we appear disembodied to them, and maybe they almost see us as gods too. 🙂 If I ever get to find out, I’ll be letting you know…that is, if I haven’t changed dimentions to find out. No seriously if they can come into this world, it’s very likely we aren’t evolved yet enough to enter theirs. There’s no dogma in druidry, only ethics and a philosophy of living interdependently, and holding all things sacred. There are even atheist and Christian druids, and no stipulations on what to believe about the other world, or other worlds. It is true that some scholars think ancient Celtic people broadly speaking held there were many other worlds, which were either thought of as islands or as kind of on top of our own. There’s a saying that the other world is as close as your back yard. So next time you go into your back yard, imagine the other world might be all around you, it’s only a matter of perception. It seems that no two people experience it exactly the same way. All I am sure of like I said is that the tuatha de danann exist, and I’ve met many of them. 🙂 And it sounds like you have, too. 🙂

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  2. We modern age people could learn something from this Brehon law on disability. I’m always extremely skeptical about those ancient = primative or backward arguments. Such statements say more about the insecurity and ignorance of the people making them than they do about the people to which they purport to refer. Like most ages, we’re currently doing things far better and much much worse than anyone who’s gone before. Is progress measured by a consistent standard or set of standards of growth and what is good, or defined through the eyes of the powerful, and by the nations that establish empires? The dichotemy is misleading and not one I care to sincerely believe in, but it raises important questions about whose standards we’re using, and what makes something primitive or uncivilized in the first place. I would argue that the way many people with disabilities are treated and valued, despite greater physical accomodations for our needs, is primitive and backward. To put it in a way that is a bit offhanded, I admit, we children of the postmodern era might do well to sit down and listen to our elders, and we can only judge for ourselves if we listen first. My philosophical ramblings. 🙂

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    1. I couldnt agree more Eilish! Very eloquently put! I think I would like to read up a bit more about the Brehon Laws…I think they would give a very interesting insight into the way these people lived and thought.

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