Map of Ireland

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A.D. 1086. Tiernan was abbot of Clonmacnoise, and Marian is thought to have been a monk of that monastery, as he speaks of a superior called Tigernach, under whom he had lived in Ireland. Both these learned men quote accurately the works of foreign writers; both give the dates of eclipses, in connection with historical events for several centuries before their own time; both show a familiarity with Greek and Latin authors. Marianus is the first writer by whom the name Scotia Minor was given to the Gaelic settlement in Caledonia, and his chronicle was an authority mainly relied on in the disputed Scottish succession in the time of Edward I. of England. With Tigernach, he may be considered the founder of the school of Irish Annalists, which flourished in the shelter of the great monasteries, such as Innisfallen, Boyle and Multifernan; and culminated in the great compilation made by "the Four Masters" in the Abbey of Donegal.

Of the Gaelic metrical chroniclers, Flann of the Monastery, and Gilla-Coeman; of the Bards McLiag and McCoisse; of the learned professors and lectors of Lismore and Armagh--now restored for a season to studious days and peaceful nights, we must be content with the mention of their names. Of Lismore, after its restoration, an old British writer has left us this pleasant and happy picture. "It is," he says, "a famous and holy city, half of which is an asylum, into which no woman dares enter; but it is full of cells and monasteries; and religious men in great abundance abide there."

Such was the promise of better days, which cheered the hopes of the Pastors of the Irish, when the twelfth century had entered on its third quarter. The pious old Gaelic proverb, which says, "on the Cross the face of Christ was looking westwards--," was again on the lips and in the hearts of men, and though much remained to be done, much had been already done, and done under difficulties greater than any that remained to conquer.




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Map of Ireland