Archive for Ireland

Brehon Law

Posted in Theory with tags , , on July 14, 2011 by theredlass

A lot of my interest in paganism stems from my interest in my Irish heritage. Since I never really met my father, and all my Irish bloodlines come from him, it’s a little difficult to trace my actual ancestry at this point. But the fascination has always been there. Some of my favorite myths are from the Ulster cycle, Cuchulain (Naisie and Deirdra specifically), Finn MacCool. But through these I’ve developed a definite interest in Celtic society and more to the point, Brehon Law. I can’t really explain why, only that from what it appears, Celtic people had a sense of established morals based on higher concepts of honor, duty, family and responsibility. It emphasized not only the world around it, but seemed determined for the people it governed to be mindful of the nature of themselves and their cultural heritage. Today’s law, which seems bent on whatever can be argued, pushed or lobbied into existence, Brehon Law was largely based on the situation and establishing amicable relations between involved parties. Instead of pushing for who was going to win, the laws were made to keep the peace and treat everyone according to their place in society. Admittedly this was largely a class based system, so the laws (like any) were biased to some, but it also told you what you could expect to receive for a damage dealt you or yours. It established that you were due some compensation or restitution when you were wronged instead of everything being up to a media screaming match and public opinion.

Perhaps I am over romanticizing much of this. But it fascinates me none the less. If anyone would like to add any books or good forums on this discussion, I’m all ears.