" The Irish wear thin woollen clothes, mostly black, because the sheep of Ireland are in general of that colour; the dress itself is of a barbarous fashion. They wear moderate close-cowled or hooded mantles (caputiis), which spread over their shoulders and reach down to the elbow, composed of small pieces of cloths of different kinds and colours, for the most part sewed together ;8 beneath unsuspicious documents relative to the early history of Ireland. The book of Glen Daloch, popularly attributed to Benin, the disciple and successor of St. Patrick, commences in the eleventh century; and the Brehon laws and the law of colours (Ilbreachta of Tigheirnmas) are of very uncertain though considerable antiquity.
8 Such at least is our version of tne words " variisque colorum generibus panniculorumque plerumque consutis," which certainly describe, in rather a roundabout way, what we should now call patchwork.
which, woollen fallins (phalinges) instead of a cloak, or breeches and stockings in one piece, and these generally dyed of some colour. In riding they use no saddles, nor do they wear boots or spurs, carrying only a rod or stick hooked at the upper end, as well to excite their horses to mend their pace, as to set forward in full speed: they use indeed bridles and bits, but so contrived as not to hinder the horses of their pasture in a land where these animals feed only on green grass."
Through the kindness of Sir Thomas Phillips, Bart., we are enabled to present our readers with some contemporary drawings of the Irish costume from an invaluable manuscript in that gentleman's collection, which was fortunately preserved from destruction by being sent from Bristol one day previous to the lamentable disturbances and conflagration in the year 1831: it is a copy of Giraldus Cambrensis, illuminated about the termination of the twelfth century, and the Irish costume is particularly (and we have no doubt faithfully) distinguished from the Norman-English; Dermod MacMurchard, king of Leinster, and the rest of his countrymen, being portrayed in the short tunic, fallings, or cota, and the truis, with long beards and hair, and the Danish axe, and the Normans with long tunics, gartered legs, shaven faces, and the great broad-; sword of the period. Vide figure of MacMurchard (the largest), and others of the Irish, in the preceding page. The Irish mantle appears on the shoulders of many of the figures, but the mode of fastening it is not visible; there are authorities enough, however, to prove that it was by a brooch or bodkin upon the breast.4 It is singular that it is not parti-coloured, as described in the text, nor is the hood attached to it. The cochla, or cocula, to which was sometimes added the larger mantle
4 See engravings at page 451. The value of silver brooches or bodkins is decided in the Brehon laws. These instruments are known in Ireland by various names; and are frequently alluded to in the old Irish poems and romances.
worn in Elizabeth's time, was called the canabbas or fillead.
About the same period we learn that, when Prince (afterwards King) John landed at Water-ford, the Irish chieftains came to pay their respects to the son of their monarch, habited in their national costume, wearing linen vests, flowing mantles, long hair, and bushy beards, and approached the prince to offer him the kiss of peace, which the young Norman courtiers attendant on John, considering a familiarity, prevented; and, not content with merely repulsing them, pulled the beards which had excited their derision, mimicked their gestures, and finally thrust them with violence from their presence.
Was this article helpful?
If you can answer yes to the following questions you want this course. Have you been looking for a great way to get more subscribers? Do you constantly seek quality information to provide to your readers? Have you been looking for a way to quickly increase awareness, traffic and profits for your business?