Of Swine and Samain: Aspects of Early Irish Samain Lore and Law

In this short piece marking the ancient feast of Samhain (1 November), older spelling Samain, I share some examples of early Irish Samain folklore and also outline the legal framing of Samain under the Brehon Laws. Aspects of Samain in Mythology Samain, 1 November, traditionally marked the start of Winter. It has been suggested that… Continue reading Of Swine and Samain: Aspects of Early Irish Samain Lore and Law

Early Irish Sports Law and the Tailteann Games

In memory of my mother The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is just around the corner, providing a good opportunity to reflect on the regulation of sports, plus the broader role of 'funeral games', in early Ireland. It is not generally known that Ireland once held its own version(s) of the Olympics and that… Continue reading Early Irish Sports Law and the Tailteann Games

‘Bee-ing’ Neighbours: Bees and Neighbourhood in the Brehon Laws

20th May, 'World Bee Day', is no better a time to reflect on the importance of honeybees in early Irish society and the meticulous regulation of bees under the Brehon Laws. Early Irish bees even had their own law tract, Bechbretha ('Bee Judgments'). While the basic motivations for regulating bees under the Brehon Laws were… Continue reading ‘Bee-ing’ Neighbours: Bees and Neighbourhood in the Brehon Laws

Lending and Depositing under the Brehon Laws

The risks involved when taking out or granting a loan, or placing a deposit, are not unique to our modern time. Here I highlight some earlier attitudes towards risk under the Brehon Laws, long before banking and when the motivations for lending and depositing differed somewhat from today. Nonetheless, some of the narratives in the… Continue reading Lending and Depositing under the Brehon Laws

Intro to the Brehon Laws

Image credit: Extract from an early Irish law tract in 'Ancient Laws of Ireland' (Vol. III) (Dublin, 1873) (link) Welcome to The Brehon Lawyer! See the 'About' section for general background on the motivations for this blog. In this first article I provide a brief introduction to the Brehon Laws, a lot of which will… Continue reading Intro to the Brehon Laws