A few, perhaps unknown, facts about Ireland…

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

The majority of people attribute the guillotine to the French, but there is evidence of it being used in Ireland almost 500 years before it made its way to France. A man named Murcod Ballagh seemingly used it for an execution near Merton in Co Galway on 1 April 1307.

Dundalk Jail was built in 1853 by a man named John Coffee. In an unfortunate turn of events, while he was building the prison he encountered some financial difficulties, ended up declaring bankruptcy, and became the very first inmate in his own prison when he couldn’t pay off his debts.

A nickname for people from Co Wicklow is ‘goat suckers’. The term was coined because of the goats that frequented the Wicklow mountains.

Ireland was currently the only country in the European Union without a postcode system. That recently changed – at the small cost of 15 million Euro.

In…

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The Curious Re-Emergence of an Ancient Irish Tuath

Beyond the Pale

Indiana: Balloq’s medallion only had writing on one side? You sure about that?
Sallah: Positive!
Indiana: Balloq’s staff is too long.
Indiana: Sallah: They’re digging in the wrong place!
Raiders of the Lost Ark, (1981)

County Sligo, and the old Borough Corporation of Sligo town are roughly 400 years old, and both are creations of the British Empire and its nascent colonial enterprise in Ireland. As part of the Imperial project of extending centralised control across the country from Dublin, the counties were created as brand new entities on top of the earlier Irish Gaelic political territories. These older territories were called tuatha (countries). The tuatha that made up what is now County Sligo are shown on the map accompanying this article.

County Sligo was created by joining together the Gaelic tuatha of what was then known as Iochtar Connacht (Lower Connacht). This was made of five ancient tuatha. Each…

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Brehon Laws and the Establishment of Copyrights

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Copyright law actually began with the Brehon Laws of Ancient Ireland over 1000 years before it appeared in English legislation. It started and ended in a bitter and brutal dispute over royalties.

The dispute arose in 563 AD between two of the top contributors in the monastic schools of Ireland: Saint Colmcille and Saint Finian, each claiming to be the original author of a manuscript called ‘St Jerome’s Psalter‘.

Born in Gartan, Co Donegal, St. Colmcille was a descendant of the Uí Néill (O’Neill) Clan. He was the son of Princess Eithne and his Grandfather has the honour of being the man who originally brought the slave boy who would later be known as Saint Patrick and gave him his name. Founding several monastic settlements during his lifetime, Colmcille left a lasting mark on the island of Ireland. His first foundation was in Derry and his last was on Iona…

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