The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook

Laurence Ginnell

WHEN it became known some time ago that I had undertaken to lecture on the Brehon Laws before the Irish Literary Society, London, one friend congratulated me on the fine subject I had taken in hand, and another on the same day asked me why in the world had I chosen such an uninteresting subject. To these two friends, and the classes they typify, I respectfully dedicate this little volume.

L. G.

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Chapter I.—Ancient Law

,, II.—Existing remains of Irish Law

,, III.—The Senchus Mor

,, IV.—Legislative Assemblies


1. Introductory

2. The Feis of Tara

3. Tailltenn and Uisneach

4. The Aenach

5. The Tribal Assemblies

Chapter V.—Classification of Society


1. Introductory

2. Kings

3. Professional Men


1. Preliminary

2. The Druids

3. The Bards

4. The Brehons

5. The Ollamhs

6. Jurors


4. The Flaiths

5. Freemen Owning Property


1. Preliminary

2. The Clan System

3. The Céiles and the Land Laws

4. Devolution of Property

5. The Elizabethan Atrocities


6. Freemen owning no Property

7. The Non-Free


1. Preliminary

2. Bothachs and Sen-Cleithes

3. The Fuidhirs

Chapter VI.—The Law of Distraining


1. Introductory

2. Definition and Scope

3. Distraint by Fasting

4. General Procedure

5. Capacity

6. Minutiae

Chapter VII.—Criminal Law


1. The Book of Aicill

2. The Law Therein Laid Down

3. Capital Punishment

4. The Maighin Digona

Chapter VIII.—Leges Minores


1. Marriage

2. Fosterage

3. Contracts and Wills

4. Artisans

5. Oaths

Chapter IX.—Native, not Roman

Chapter X.—Conclusion

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