Today, satire refers to biting, snarky incendiary sarcasm, often humorous, generally aimed at politicians and people of power. But to the ancient Irish, whose society was founded on a code of honour, satire had a much darker, and more practical purpose. To compose a satire against someone was to challenge their authority and call their honour into question. There could be no greater shame.
It is known in Irish as the corrghuineacht, and is a form of magic-working, the power of which is intensified when practised standing on one leg, with one arm outstretched, and with one eye closed.
The ritual position itself is known as glám dícenn. (meaning ‘sattire which destroys’). But what’s it all about, Ali?