[From Contributions .., 1909]


The following short papers have no other merit than of being statements of facts, or of reasonable inferences which those facts have suggested, except that the first paper may perhaps claim a little more consideration as being the record of the first Neolithic camp floor, or settlement-site found in the Isle of Man, which discovery opened up a new line of research in Manx archaeology. See the remarks of Mr. P. M. C. Kermode, M.B.O.U., M.I.P.C., F.S.A. Scot, Honorary Secretary Isle of Man Nat. Hist. and Antiquarian Society, at the end of his paper on " Flint Implements from the Brooghs, N. Ramsey," Yn Lioar Manninagh, No. 5, Vol. i, 1891, where he, and no one was better informed, writes of his " find " as " this the second instance yet made known of an early Neolithic Floor in the Isle of Man, that at Port St. Mary, found by Mr. F. Swinnerton being, I believe, the first."

Previous to 1882-see Manx Note Book, No. 2, 1885,although chance " finds " of worked flints had occurred here and there in the Isle of Man, no attempt had been made in the Isle of Man, if elsewhere, to establish their real significance. Indeed up to that time a learned and talented clergyman, much interested in Manx antiquities, frequently expressed the opinion that as the chalk measures were absent from the island, such flint nodules as were found there must have been brought to the island in modern times as ship's ballast, and consequently Neolithic flint implements, etc., could not be found in the Isle of Man. Nor has he been the last who has ignored the possible derived contents of the boulder clay, in deciding as to what does, or does not belong to the Isle of Man. That little attention was given to the occurrence of rude flint implements in the Isle of Man is shewn by the fact that this description of pre-historic remains from the island was represented in the British Museum by three simple flakes.

The fact that during Neolithic tunes there were coastdwelling people in an extremely low stage of culture in the Isle of Man, was quite unknown, although suspicions may have existed that similar condition as had prevailed in the rest of Europe, might also have obtained in Man. The results of this "find" having been made public, other discoveries of similar remains rapidly followed, and the matter is now beyond dispute.

On the occasion of my first "find," I submitted the evidences first to Sir John Lubbock (now Lord Avebury) who pronounced them to be of undoubted human workmanship, and later, together with my paper on the subject, to Prof. W. Boyd Dawkins. I was fortunate both in finding a great portion of this Neolithic camp-floor in an undisturbed condition, and the generous corroboration of such an eminent archaeologist to back up my conclusions. More recent discoveries of my own.(1) and of others have thrown additional light upon the state of being of these Manx aborigines, and have conclusively proved that in Neolithic times the east coast of the south of the island, and elsewhere, and inferentially the coast all round the Isle of Man was inhabited by a rude fishing and hunting population who lived in more or less permanent and probably fortified settlements along the " brooghs."(2) The small size of the island whose physical features appear to have changed very little since these people lived, seems to be a good argument against the idea that they were nomads as has been suggested. For unless the population was an exceedingly scanty one, it would have been forced to adopt more or less settled habits and fixed habitations much sooner than if there had been vast uninhabited tracts to roam over. The remains show they lived very largely on shell-fish, and it is very probable that the dug-out canoes which have been found on the island, belong to these people. (2A) How long this stage of savagery prevailed in the Isle of Man ; how long the use of the ruder forms of implements lasted until the making of polished stone implements had been learned, etc., are necessarily undetermined questions, as is also whether or not the use of stone implements persisted into historic times in the Isle of Man, which however might possible be ascertained.

We have really very little knowledge of the state of the island even in ancient historic times. Such evidences as we have go to show that it was not much more densely wooded than it is at present. (3) Records and legends indicate that large game abounded in the middle ages. But very little if any systematic work has been done to show what the condition of the island was in pre-historic times. The efforts of local naturalists, etc., are mostly devoted to recording the fauna and flora of the present day. And however interesting and valuable a pursuit this may be, it cannot in the nature of things be expected to furnish much that is not already well known, the island having few things in Natural History, etc., that are peculiar to it.(3) Yet the work of the Danish naturalists, etc. in showing the state of Denmark in prehistoric times by the examination of the contents of the bogs and peat-beds of Denmark if imitated by Manx naturalists, would provide them with a fresh field for their energies, and might lighten the darkness surrounding our knowledge of the primaeval physical condition of the Isle of Man. Chance discoveries of remains of animals now extinct on the island, —of the Irish Elk, of deer, etc., shew that such a field for enquiry does really exist, and that it is only waiting the adoption of a systematic plan of operations to yield very important results.

In the same way these Neolithic settlement-sites have not received the attention that their importance as historical evidences deserves. Several have been pointed out by myself as well as by others, and yet no exhaustive examination of such places has been carried out by the local Antiquarian Society. And we still find things ascribed to Neolithic times without a stroke having been dealt to establish their real origin. Among these are the ancient earth-work " forts " and " camps " formerly known as " Danish forts," but now ascribed to the Neolithic period, without there being quite sufficient grounds either for the abandonment of the Norse origin, or for the acceptation of the Neolithic. (5) For there is some evidence available which suggests that the origin of some of them may lie between the Neolithic and the Norse periods. I refer to this simply because I have not met with the suggestion elsewhere in reference to these :Manx earthworks.

The Irish Duns, the use of which persisted down to the 12th. century, and, until in fact they were superseded by strongholds of Norman type, consisted as the name suggests, of several stone-and-earthwork enclosures, protected by fosses, surrounding hills or hillocks. They contained the wattle-and-clay houses of the chiefs, of their families, and immediate dependants, slaves, etc. We read of the " triple-fossed fort of Crimthand the Great "-A. D. 366-379,-a description that might be applied to Castle Ward itself. we are also told that Tuathal-cir. A. D.160--built in Munster his Dun of Tlachtga,-now, by a curious coincidence, if that is all it is, called the Hill of ward, near Athboy. Others might be cited, but the foregoing shew that some of these Irish duns belong to historic times.

As these Manx forts, with their several lines of earthworks, appear to have been very similar in construction and plan to the Irish duns, there seems to be more reason for ascribing them to the Irish period in Man than to the Neolithic period. They may have been used in Neolithic times, but what certain evidence is there on that point ? Both Castle Ward and Cronk Moar have rings on top, which though obviously too small to contain many defenders, may very well be the rings left by the decay of wattle-and-clay houses. Similarly Balladoole fort,-which was undoubtedly a fort as its great embankments shew--has a quadrangular enclosure on its highest elevation, and, it is to be noted that the primitive circular -,wattle-and-clay houses in Ireland were succeeded by quadrangular ones built of the same materials. The conversion of Cronk Mn,ir into a small dun does not do away with its original character as a tumulus, but it would account for the fosse round it, which would have been of importance wher the tumulus was converted into a dun.

Norman strongholds, like Castle Rushen, must in the Isle of Man as in Ireland, have been preceded by some form of strongholds. As we have nothing remaining excepting these earth-works; as they have been known as " Castles " among the Manx from early times ; and considering the affinity in everything else between Man and Ireland down to the 8th century, we are justified in believing that such strongholds must have been of purely Irish type. The incoming Norsemen would of course have occupied and garrisoned these places of strength to dominate the native population, and hence the name "Danish forts" is not altogether inapplicable, seeing that Norsemen were among the last to use them. We know that a " Norse castle " preceded the present Castle Rushen,-probably an earthwork,-and we know from its actual remains that an earthwork preceded the present Peel Castle. But only excavation of the latter will enable us to ascertain its real nature,-whether belonging to the ancient defences of Peel Island in Irish times,- to the Innis Patrick destroyed by the first vikings, (6) or whether it belongs to the Norsemen themselves, who also built rude earthern forts upon the lands they conquered. It seems probable that a proper examination of these Manx earthworks would make history in the Isle of Man. The importance of a thorough examination of Neolithic settlement-sites in the Isle of Man, is shewn by the fact that it is only by so doing that we may hope to find evidences that undoubtedly belong to the Neolithic period. For chance surface finds of polished stone axes, and it would seem of bronze swords, are very uncertain foundations to base conclusions upon. See statements by W. K. Sullivan, President of Queen's College, Cork, (Ency. Brit.) He writes.-

" It is probable that bronze lance-heads and swords were used (in Ireland) down to early Christian times, and later."

" Some (Irish soldiers) carried stone hammers or war-axes, and in the 9th and succeeding centuries an iron one, the use of which was learned from the Norsemen."

That much remains to be discovered in such sites is suggested by my recent discovery at Pooilvaish (in 1907) of two unholed and ground stone adzes,-which are neither " rubbing-stones " nor axes as was at first thought. These implements are, I believe, the only ones of the type ever found in the Isle of Man, and from what I can gather, are peculiar to the Isle of Man. They prove the contemporaneous use of the ruder sort of flint implements, and of ground and perhaps polished stone implements in the Isle of Man. They spew that ground and probably polished stone implements were made in the Isle of Man, hasty conclusions to the contrary notwithstanding. They suggest their possible former use for hollowing out tree-trunk canoes. An attentive examination of them shews that the manner of hewing and finishing stone work which is now in use, dates from prehistoric times, and that the " points " and " picks " and flat chisels of the modern stone cutter, had their analogues of flint and of quartz among pre-historic stone cutters. Their peculiar shape shews, what might have been expected, that the peculiar conditions which governed Manx pre-Historic people, gave rise to peculiar implements. I should have incorporated my short paper on this find in this pamphlet, but its publication has been deferred by the Isle of Man. Nat. Hist. and Antiquarian Society.

Whether corn was grown in the Isle of Man in Neolithic times, properly speaking,-as it is known from the remains found in the Lake Settlements, to have been cultivated in large and advanced Stone Age centres like Switzerland, there is no reliable evidence to shew. To conclude that such was the case in the Isle of Man simply because it was so elsewhere, although an easy way of summing up things which is prequently adopted, would be as reasonable as to conclude from evidences found in Middlesex, that a similar state of civilization flourished during the middle ages in London and at John O'Groats. Hand-mills found in the Isle of Man are no very certain evidences of a primitive environment, seeing that in Italy they have been in constant use from the earliest Etruscan times to the present day. In regard to the so-called " corn-crushers " or " rubbing-stones," it would be rash without further evidence that they by themselves furnish, to conclude that any of them belong to Neolithic times, and even if they are found associated with undoubted Neolithic remains, to regard them as necessarily " corn " crushers, pounders and mortars, rubbing stones, stone rollers, etc., are, and have been in use among both savage and civilized peoples contemporaneously with hand-mills, and for quite other purposes than grinding or husking corn. For instance in India, a pounder or " rubbing-stone " and a flat stone with a concave surface are used in the preparation of curries by every native cook, by sweetmeat makers, etc., but corn is ground by handmills, or in the hills, by water-mills worked by wooden turbines! Large stone mortars are also found outside the houses in every native village. Such stones found in the Isle of Man may have been used in various ways in the preparation of food, without their use as corn-crushers ever having been dreamed of. Our ignorance of the domestic habits and wants of extinct races frequently cause hard and fast conclusion to be drawn from things which, most likely, have quite an unsuspected bearing.

Though the use of stone implements, etc., must have been common to Man and to the rest of Europe at some one time, it may, and most likely did, last much longer in the Isle of Man, than in Switzerland and France, seeing that those countries were, in parts at least, still in their stone Age, after it had given way to the use of metal in Egypt, and in other countries bordering on the Mediterranean. The Andaman Islanders have remained savages, in spite of being long known to the adjacent civilized continental nations, and we have positively no reason to conclude that the Neolithic aborigines of the Isle of Man were capable of becoming civilized. Our ideas as to what race they belonged are pure suppositions, seeing that nothing has been done in the Isle of Man to establish their relationship to the supposed European aboriginal Iberian stock. The study of the most ancient crania found in Europe, indicate that even at such early periods, there had already been an admixture of races. On account of their remote western and insular position, it necessarily follows that people in the Isle of Man, during the general reign of the Stone Age, must have been in a more backward state than were Continental people, and the peculiar conditions under which they lived, must have given rise to some peculiarities in their habits, their implements, etc. These remarks are intended to suggest, that the conditions which prevailed in the Isle of Man during the Stone Age, ought to be regarded as separate and peculiar, and worthy of more attention than they have yet received, or if doctrinaire opinions take the place of thorough investigation, than they are likely to receive.

Again, as the use of various primitive appliances persisted in the Isle of Man for centuries after they had given place to more civilized things elsewhere, so we may suppose with some reason that many of the rude appliances of the Stone Age, its superstitions and social observances, would have persisted in Man long after they had disappeared from most parts of Europe. In fact some of these appliances and superstitions appear to lime lasted down to our own day. For instance, the Claghbane superstition, which has most likely a Neolithic origin; the idea of propiating or averting evil influences by sacrifice, as suggested by the formal burning of an " overlooked " or supposed evil-eyed pig in Rushen in recent times ; hanging coloured rags on bushes near wells, etc. Among primitive appliances, may be mentioned the shell lamp quite recently in use, which was no improvement on the lamp of Eskimo savages, and which probably has a respectable pedigree back to the times of the Manx aborigines ; and carranes, the most primitive form of foot covering of untanned hide, lately, in use. It is not necessary to detail various superstitions and observances that point to primitive beliefs, nature-worship, etc.

That the use of the shell lamp should have persisted so long, shews a remarkable conservatism in regard to one of the prime essentials of civilization, on the part of people who had been in touch for many centuries with a high civilization around them, and it shows how sweeping conclusions as to identical conditions among neighbouring peoples, may be disproved by known facts. A sturdy and virile contempt for the luxuries of life may be put forward as the cause of this lack of inventiveness on the part of the Manx, but it is more likely that it was due to an inherited conservatism, plus that the potter's art was never sufficiently advanced, in the Isle of Man, to replace the primitive shell lamp by terra cotta ones, such as had been in general use among the Greeks and Romans, and in Britain, thousands of Years before ; the potter's art in the Isle of Man having been, besides, largely discounted by the common use of plates and platters of wood. But the latter reason cannot be advanced as the cause of the persistence among the Manx doyen to forty years ago, of several very primitive manners and customs, which, together with the national language, and even the dialect, are unknown to the better educated youth of to-day.

That this conservative spirit has been a constant factor among the Manx in the past, is evidenced by the absence on the island, of anything remarkable of truly indigenous character,-unless we except Neolithic monuments. Early Christian art seems to have been of Irish or Scandinavian origin. The form of government now peculiar to the island, is really exotic. Such architecture as we have is all of foreign origin,' and as regards literature and music, there is nothing that can claim any importance. This conservative spirit seems in time to have conquered all new settlers in Man, in spite of the fact that the mixture of so much fresh blood with the aboriginal stock,-Irish, Scotch, Welsh, Scandinavian and English, and which makes the term " pure Manx people " an absurdity,-might have been expected to have had other results. But as it really only gave way before the modern advent of new appliances and new ideas from " across the water," as exemplified, in our own day, by the abolition of the ancient jealously exclusive form of the House of Keys,-it would seem that if it had not been disturbed from without, it would have continued unchanged, to the present, or a future day. It is a necessary factor to be taken into consideration,-this pure Manx conservatism, or dislike of outsiders, their ideas and innovations, in treating of Manx pre-historic remains, as it suggests that aboriginal appliances, ideas, prejudices, and culture in general, may have been jealously retained, and may have lingered on in Man well into historic times.

It must be remembered too, as a favouring condition to the persistence of the rudest stage of society, that in the early centuries of our era, the Isle of Man must have been exposed to influences from without, tending to keep its scanty population in a backward, poor, and even savage state. The ancient Irish legend anent the carrying-off of Blathnat, the daughter of the king of Man, (7) by Cúrui Mac Dáiri and his companion Cuchulaind, even if not true,though it may, as may the Homeric tale, founded on a similar act of violence, enclose a kernel of truth,-was probably bien trouvé having regard to the manners and customs of lawless peoples. The fate which is said to have befallen this Manx Helen, gives us a glimpse of what was probably a ,common thing in those bloodstained times, when a constant watch had to be kept on the hill-tops, to guard the isle from the incursions and merciless harryings from all sides, of well armed and savage freebooters, intent on the violent acquisition of cattle, corn, slaves, and concubines ; times, which necessitated the possession of many strongly entrenched earthworks in convenient places, and -which must have rendered difficult, efforts to cultivate the ground to any great extent, or, perilous the attempt to accumulate wealth. From the 6th century backwards, so far as Man is concerned, all is blank pre-historic, whose details, if we knew the facts, would probably have to be filled in with deeds of murder and rapine from without and from within, when even women fought as soldiers ; and, for all we know as a certainty to the contrary, aboriginal Neolithic savagery may have persisted, in places, at any rate in the Isle of Man, down to the beginning of our era. The proper investigation of these Neolithic settlement-sites, is therefore a matter of urgent historical necessity.

The types of rude stone implements which I have found in Rushen, are, for the most part, such as are found scattered all over the world's surface. I have found similar forms, though, as a rule, of more massive character, and of quartzite, jasper, chert, lydite, etc., instead of flint, on the shores of Bombay Island ; (" Rude Stone Implements from Back Bay, Bombay " illustrated-Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, No. 4, Vol. III. 1893.) in the ancient Gwalior alluvium, and on the surface at Raipur, Rajputana ; (Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. II. N. S. 1899) on the flat-topped hills near Chunar, C. P., and at Kukkerhuttee, and other places in the lower Himalayas. Similar wants gave rise to similar implements the world over, and after thousands of worked stones have passed through one's hands, the distinguishing of an accidentally chipped stone from an intentionally chipped one, and the identification of constantly re-occurring types of stone implements are no difficult matters. But the Pooilvaish adzes are the only ones I have ever seen. Future research in the Isle of Man will undoubtedly add to their number, and the same may be said of the stones bearing, as I believe, rudely scratched drawings, which I found among the Neolithic remains at Pooilvaish.


(1) " Finds in Rushen," and a short paper on my recent (1907) discovery at Pooilvaish to be published I am promised, by the Isle of Man Nat. Hist. and Antiquarian Society. I thick I am right in stating that in spite of Prof. W. Boyd Dawkins corroboration of my conclusions, etc, this Port St. Mary paper was not included among the republished papers in the volumes of the Isle of Man Nat. Hist. and Antiquarian Society, nor the one on the Glen wyllin " find."

(2) Broogh, Eng. Brow,-land bordering the sea-shore with a more or less steep descent to it.

(2A) A " dug-out " canoe was found on top of a " broogh " in German, Isle of Man, under the soil.

(3) " we know from our records that woods have been, and are, conspicuous by their absence." Moore's " Surnames and Place-names,'of theIsle of Man," page 199. But these records throw no light on the physical condition of the island for many centuries after the beginning of our era. Extensive deforestation may have taken place during the Norse period, for the building of ships.

(4) See the Rev. J. Quine's remarks on "The Study of Natural History in the Isle of Man " Yn Lioar Manninagh No. 7, Vol. 1, " In the study of Natural History the Isle of Man, perhaps, offers no field for new research and fresh discoveries. The study of Natural History here must be the study of things already known and familiar to human science." " And in studying the Natural History phenomena that surround us in this part of the world, people will be going through something comparatively as conventional as going to school.', These remarks have not prevented the ommission from the Society's volumes of records of discoveries that were previously unknown to " human science " as regards the Isle of Man.

(5) " Castle Ward, the name of the, curious fortification in Braddan, Popularly called `the Danish Camp,' but probably of Neolithic origin." (Moore's " Surnames and Place-names of the Isle of Man.")(6) " The annals of Ulster tell us that the earliest incursions of the Vikings took place in A. D. 794, and that in 798 they burned Innis Patrick, probably identical with Peel." Moore's " Surnames and Place-names," page 4, also page 205.

(7) Blathnat. Her father's name was Piall. Piall is probably the same as the Welsh Pwyll. The wife of Pwyll was Rhianon who came from Annwn, and whose name seems to come from "annan." She had marvellous birds whose singing kept warriors in an enchanted sleep for eighty years. On the death of Pwyll she married Manawyddan Ap. Llyr. (Ency Brit.) The Welsh " annan " is probably the same as " annan " in Manannan, and in meaning it corresponds to the Irish Tir Tairngire Elysium. Qbid).The Irish Tir Tairngire was supposed to be an island to the east shrouded in a cloud mantle. (Ibid).

The Isle of Man is said in Manx legend-probably the most ancient Manx legend extant-to have been kept hidden in a perpetual mist by the magic arts of Manannan Mac Lir,

" Manannan " is said to mean " Lord of the Foamy Sea." (Ibid).

If Manannan means " God of the Sea " (Mannus, according to Tacitus, was a god of the ancient Germans.) how is that to be reconciled with Lir being the Celtic Neptune ? If " annan " contained the name of the island it would not be surprising, as he appears to have been its guardian deity. Unless, as in the case of Zeus and Chronos, Lir belonged to a more primitive pantheon, and was regarded as the father, because the predecessor, of Manannan.

Cæsar probably wrote Mona as the nearest approach to the pronunciation of his Briton and perhaps Druid informants, of some form of the Welsh Manaw. The Icelandic Mon " and the Malbricti-Gaut Cross

" Mann " suggest that this must have been Monaw or Mannaw. If there is nothing impossible 'in this idea, we might infer-Manannan, Alonann, Mon,'-a progressive curtailment of terminal syllables in the two last.

The personages of the Tuatha Dë Danann pantheon, properly speaking. among whom Manannan occupies a prominent place, belong to prehistoric beliefs, and were personifications of qualities, or of real things, as Lir, the sea. They suggest that their probable origin lay it) natureworship. If Manannan is accepted as having been a real person, why should we not accept his father Lir, his son Gaiar, his supposed grand mother Ana, "mother of the gods," or any other or indeed all of the gods and goddesses of that pantheon as having been i-eal persons ? His being linked with the nature-god Lir confirms, rather than suggests, that he also was a nature-god, and that the thing lie personified was supposed to have arisen from, to have been closely connected in some -,v,,v with, and to have, in a sense, dominated the actual sea. The position of Marl in the middle of the sea would have made the name " Lord of the sea" most appropriate to it,--especially among a primitive, and perhaps poetical, nature-worshipping people who viewed it from a distance, and who, as in the case of Lir, made a deity of every remarkable phenomenon, quality, or striking natural object,. The name Manannan, now, whatever the process. dwindled into the more " Alan,' may thus have been first given to the island itself, and later to its personification. All. mythologies furnish parallel instances, and by a similar course of reasoning by which it seems to have been definitely decided that the Irish Manannan was n real person -who gave his name to Man, we might conclude, if we knew no better, that the Roman Britannia was a real person who gave her name to Britain.

Surely too much importance may also be given to the apparent Celtic origin of these legends, seeing that they may have been taken over from the aborigines of Ireland by the early Celts ? To suppose, for instance, that the pre-Celtic people of Ireland had no name for the island, snd no peculiar ideas regarding it, would be unreasonable, and if such ideas were learned, and adopted, along with some of the country gods, by the Celts, or rather by the mixed population which they mist have formed with the subject people, it would have been only what has occurred elsewhere under similar circumstances. A thousand years after the introduction of Christianity into the Isle of Man, the nature-god Phynodderee still exercised an influence, scarcely to be appreciated now-a-days, on the minds of Manx men and women.

The next process, persisted in to our own day, would have been to convert the nature-god Manannan into a real person, and on the strength of the discredited beliefs of a dead religion, to conclude that he must have been the first to colonize the island, its first king, etc ; to suppose that he gave his name to what his name was really derived from ; and as with other mythical characters, to mix him up with the doings of heroes of the semi-historic period, thus giving a purely mythological character a semihistorical importance.

It would be an interesting study to search through the old Irish and Welsh legends for any possible references to the Isle of Man.

In one of the Welsh poems, derived from the Irish, as some of them are, Caer Side, where neither old age or disease affected anyone, is called the prison of Gweir. Gweir is held to be the same as the Irish Gaiar, son of Manannan, and Caer Side the same as the Irish Sid, the residence of the gods of the Aes Side. (Ency. Brit.) In one tale the children of Lir are said to have lived in the Isle of Man. Gaiar is taken by Manannan to Emhain Abhlach or Emain of the apple-trees, where he dies. The Welsh called Elysium the "island of apple-trees." The goddess Becuma driven out of Tir Tairngire on account of her misconduct with Gaiar, son of Manannan, is sent adrift in a boat, and lands on the Hill of Howth, Ireland. She afterwards sends Art, the son of Con, in search of Delbh Caemh, whom he would find in an island in the middle of the sea. He sails away east and comes to a beautiful island full of apple-trees, birds, flowers, spotted horses and beautiful women. Birds are a constant feature of the Irish Elysian Isle.

The mountain-tops of the Isle of Man, dimly visible in fine weather from certain parts of the Irish coast, suggest how the Manx legend of Manannan originated, as they seem to emerge from a mantle of mist lying on the bosom of the sea. But though now called a Manx legend, its origin must have lain outside the Isle of Man, as it was the appearance of the isle, as seen from afar, that must have given rise to it. The tale shews that the isle was supposed by the early Irish to be enchanted. It suggests that the legend originated before communication between Ireland and Man had become easy. The occasional appearance of the isle in fine weather must have given rise to speculation and fancy among a primitive and superstitious people, whose rude boats were probably ill-adapted to brave the mysterious and real terrors of the intervening sea, even if the seeming enchantment which makes the isle visible at one time, and invisible at another, had not deterred them from making the attempt. The arrival of the sea-going Celts must have dispersed the seeming mystery, though the myth has remained.




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