The Oxford Companion to Irish History

By S. J. Connolly | Go to book overview


cáin (promulgated law) contrasted with aurradus, or customary law. Glossed by Latin lex, or Irish riagal (from Latin regula), it described particular *law tracts such as Cáin Lánamna (on marriage) or particular church decrees e.g. Cáin Adomnáin (* Adomnán Lex innocentium AD 697). From a decree imposed by royal and/or church authority, cáin came to mean a tax or tribute, notably in the *'Book of Rights'. Cáin could also mean the fine for violating a ruler's ordinance. Complaints during the 15th and 16th centuries were made against Anglo-Irish lords who took 'canes' or fines from thieves instead of enforcing common *law. KS

calendar. By the late 16th century the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC, was seriously out of line with the solar year. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a reformed calendar in 1582, but this was not adopted in Ireland and Britain until 1752. The gap between the old style (Julian) and new style (Gregorian) calendars was ten days up to 28 February 1700 (old style), and eleven days thereafter.

calendar custom, the celebration of an annual cycle of festivals, was an important part of rural sociability. In Catholic popular culture the four main festivals of the Celtic year continued to be observed. *Imbolg, the start of the agricultural year, had become St Bridget's Day (1 Feb.), marked by weaving rush crosses that were hung in dwelling houses and agricultural buildings to provide protection for the coming season. * Bealtaine, the beginning of summer, continued as May Day, marked by local communities preparing a bush decorated with ribbons, often the cause of raids and fighting between the men of neighbouring districts, and by lighting bonfires. *Lughnasa, marking the beginning of harvest, continued in the form of late summer festive gatherings, often on hilltops, some of which (like those at * Croagh Patrick) had been converted into religious pilgrimages. * Samhain survived, in Ireland as elsewhere, as November Eve or Hallowe'en, when the spirits of the dead were released on earth.

There was also St John's Eve (23 June), the mid- summer festival, when bonfires provided the focus for energetic communal festivities. Two other festivals, St Patrick's Day (17 Mar.) and the Assumption (15 Aug.), had their roots more in the ecclesiastical calendar than in popular tradition, and increasingly took on the status of political *anniversaries. To these fixed festivals were added Christmas and Easter, as well as the *patterns celebrated on local saints' days.

The Protestant festive calendar was more limited and more secular in character. In Ulster, and also in some towns of Leinster and the midlands, May Day was celebrated by decorating, not a bush, but a maypole on the English model. St John's Eve was celebrated in some areas by processions of *freemasons. Other seasonal holidays were Christmas and Easter, with Easter Monday in particular being a major occasion for dancing, sports, and *cock fighting across much of Ulster. To these could be added political anniversaries (23 Oct., 12 July). For all denominations *fairs provided not just a commercial venue but a further important addition to the annual cycle of sociability and recreation.

Callan, battle of ( 1261). On 24 July, near Kenmare, Finghin 'of Ringrone' MacCarthy (Fíngen Reanna Róin Mac Carthaig, d. 1261), after destroying a number of Anglo-Norman castles, heavily defeated the *justiciar, William de Dene, the barons of *Desmond, and his cousin and rival Donal Rua Mac Carthy ( Domnall Ruad MacCarthaig). John fitz Thomas and his son Maurice were killed, leaving only an infant heir over the Desmond branch of the Geraldines, which temporarily interrupted their expansion. KS

camogie, essentially a women's version of *hurling, was invented by female members of the * Gaelic League. It was first played publicly at Navan, Co. Meath, in 1904. Unlike other Gaelic sports camogie is not controlled by the * Gaelic Athletic Association, though camogie clubs rely on GAA facilities and funding. The game's appeal


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The Oxford Companion to Irish History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Advisers ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Contributors xiii
  • Note to the Reader xvii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 66
  • D 133
  • E 167
  • F 183
  • G 212
  • H 233
  • I 254
  • K 282
  • L 292
  • M 333
  • N 377
  • O 397
  • P 424
  • Q 469
  • R 471
  • S 495
  • T 532
  • U 557
  • V 577
  • W 582
  • Y 601
  • Z 603
  • Maps 605
  • Subject Index 613


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