The History of Ancient Irish Civilization
But there were, and are, Englishmen better informed about our
country. More than three hundred years ago the great English poet,
Edmund Spenser, lived for some time in Ireland, and made himself
well acquainted with its history. He knew what it was in past ages; so
that in one of his poems he speaks of the time
“When Ireland flourishèd in fame Of wealth and goodnesse, far
above the rest Of all that beare the British Islands name.”
But it is better not to pursue these observations farther here, as it
would be only anticipating what will be found in the body of the book.
This book is the last of a series of three, of which the second is
abridged from the first, and the third from both.
The First—“A Social History of Ancient Ireland” (2 vols., richly gilt,
both cover and top, in 31 chapters, with 361 Illustrations)—contains a
complete survey of the Social Life and Institutions of Ancient Ireland.
All the important statements in it are proved home by references to
authorities, and by quotations from ancient documents.
The Second—“A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland” (1 vol.,
cloth, gilt, 598 pages, in 27 chapters, with 213 Illustrations)—
the same ground as the larger work; but, besides condensation, most
of the illustrative quotations and nearly all the references to
authorities are omitted.
This Third book—“The Story of Ancient Irish Civilisation”—gives in
simple, plain language, an account of the condition of the country in
the olden time; but as it is here to speak for itself, I need not describe
it further. For all the statements it contains, full and satisfactory
authorities will be found in the two larger works.
I have done my best to make all three readable and interesting, as
well as instructive.
The ordinary history of our country has been written by many, and the
reader has a wide choice. But in the matter of our Social History he