Friday, November 11, 2016

Ancient Irish bards

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.
Under the shelter of each other, people survive.
~Gaelic proverb


Bards in ancient Ireland were highly regarded. "The Ollamh Érenn or Chief Ollam of Ireland was a professional title of Gaelic Ireland. An ollam (literally 'most great') was a poet or bard of literature and history... A modern equivalent in government would be a Minister for Education & Culture combined with the post of Poet Laureate. His social status was equal to the High King of Ireland and he had his own palace and a large retinue of about thirty ollamhs together with their servants." [Wikipedia]

John Kelly writes, "Ancient Ireland revered its bards, who commanded status, power, respect, celebrity, and fear. The first-millennial Celts believed their poets could literally kill with magical satire. According to folk tradition, the poets conjured up invectives that blistered the skin of foes and sent rival poets (or stingy patrons) to their graves. Early Irish law even criminalized satirical 'crimes of the tongue' equal in offense to property theft and spousal rape...The bardic tradition persisted in Ireland through the 17th century, and superstitions about their craft lived on with it."

Here's a hymn in Irish and Latin written by Mael Ísu Ua Brolcháin. When his death was recorded in 1086, he was listed as "the chief sage of Ireland." Almost a thousand years later, his song still resonates in the heart.



Note:
I scheduled nearly all of November's posts in October, so that's why there won't be a lot that reflects the catastrophe, I mean, the election. I forgot to add anything for Veteran's Day, but if you're interested in a painless way to help vets, consider donating to a vets organization, such as Team Rubicon, through Amazon Smile. I just passed a hundred donations -- not sure whether I should be pleased about that or concerned about how much I spend on Amazon!

Last call for the Etsy gift card giveaway...

Jama's Alphabet Soup has the round-up. Thanks, Jama!

14 comments:

jama said...

Thanks for this bit of beauty today, Tabatha. So soothing -- and I enjoyed learning more about the ancient Irish bards. Interesting that people believed they could "kill with magical satire." Talk about the power of words!

Irene Latham said...

Tabatha, you have brought so much beauty to my life over the years. THIS IS GORGEOUS. It fills me. Thank you. xo

HWY said...

Magnificent acoustics, too. How interesting that it was written with both Irish and Latin lyrics!

Here's to the bards (and don't cross them!).

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Thanks to you, my muscles are a bit less knotted and my soul has been temporarily soothed. Despite having scheduled this a month in advance, it's exactly what I needed today!

Linda B said...

What talent she has, to sing and play so beautifully. I would say that many of us still count words as both healing and hurtful still in this new century. Thanks for the beauty and the history, Tabatha. I would say that your scheduling holds a bit of magic itself to have created this for this day.

Jane @ www.raincitylibrarian.ca said...

My grandmother was deeply proud to be Irish, so this feels like a link to my own family past. Thank you for sharing a moment of soothing magic, much needed in this troubling times.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

How I would have loved to be an ancient Irish bard! (Although my Scot ancestors might've had something to say about that)

Brenda Harsham said...

The Irish get knocked so often, it's lovely to see a post celebrating some of their strengths. Music, community, perseverance and charm are how I think of the Irish, my ancestors.

Mitchell Linda said...

Tabatha, this is beautiful....and a balm for the soul as your posts often are.
I'm "pretty Irish" and I've wondered if my love for words and story-telling is connected to those that naturally took to the bard tradition in Ireland. I've often wondered about the female role in Irish story-telling. I've meant to research that a bit. Today might a good day for that. Have a great week. You are always a bright spot in mine.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Bring back Bard Power!

Did you notice this strikingly appropriate quote from JFK on Jama's site?

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Wow.

And as a second Etsy entry, Prokoviev's "Peter and the Wolf" is a classic for all the right reasons.

Guys and Dolls tonight maybe. Daisy going next week.



Violet Nesdoly said...

The singing harpist is giving me shivers... a refreshing oasis. Thank you!

Catherine said...

I was mesmerized by the beauty of Gill's voice and harp-playing. Thank you for sharing this, Tabatha!

Sally Murphy said...

Beautiful words and such a breathtaking performance. Thank you for sharing.

Mary Lee said...

Wow. Amazing how she plays the instruments of her harp, her voice, and the chapel to such great effect.

Even though you scheduled this early, the healing properties of the beauty are welcome!