In the past episode for this story, in the December 2016 issue, I had uncovered my Irish links that originated in Londonderry (now Derry again !) Ireland where my Great-great-grandfather first immigrated to Scotland. Many questions still remained. A few included where the Irish first came from and why the Romans referred to them as Scots. This has piqued my interest even further and galvanized me to dig deeper into the past of this most interesting race.
Two books that have revealed much to me for my quest was ‘A History of Ireland’ by Edmund Curtis. This actually belonged to my uncle Vincent, for his studies when he had originally decided to train as a Catholic priest. He later decided to become a New York City policeman instead and went on to become a professor of law, after retirement, at Fordham University in New York City. The second book is titled ‘The Story of the Irish Race’, by author Seumas MacManus, who went deeper into the Irish origins that answered many, if not all, of my many questions.
The Irish Race is popularly known as the Milesian Race, as recorded by MacManus, and for good reasons. But is not entirely accurate. Two other branches of the Celtic family occupied Ireland prior to the great Milesian invasion. They were the Firbolg and Tuatha De Danann tribes. All three proved to be derivatives of the main stem of the European Celtic peoples who were being driven westward by the Germanic tribes of Eastern and Central Europe. All three tribes would eventually blend again into one tribe of Gaels that would occupy Erin.
The Milesians came from what is Spain and fled to what is known in their lore as ‘The Isle of Dreams, Island of Destiny’, and we now know as Ireland. The Firbolgs were the first to step foot on Erin and escaped from Greece where they were long enslaved. They were mainly uncultured and were dominated by the Tuatha De Danann who arrived later. This tribe proved to the most cultured, even more so than their conquers, the Milesians who arrived later. They were highly skilled in the arts of civilized life and knowledge. The Firbolgs even referred to them to as necromancers because of these. This formed much of the mythology and magical references that Ireland is know for today.
The history of the Milesians, who occupied Southwest Europe, can be traced back before the time of Moses. They came from Scythia a large region that included Southwest Europe and adjoining areas of Asia. This included Spain, Egypt, and Crete. A remote ancestor, Gaodhal Glas, spawned the name Gael, whom his people were known by. His grandson, Niul, became an instructor in Egypt and married a daughter of the Pharaoh, named Scota. Afterwards in later ages Ireland was referred to as Scotia. This was my answer in why the Romans called the Irish race, ‘Scots’ .
The Milesian invasion of Ireland took place around 1000 BC, during the time of Solomon, in which many noted scholars confirmed. Conn of the Hundred Battles, was a fierce warrior king, who appeared before the coming of Patrick and one of his sons was called Nial of the Nine Hostages and actually captured Patrick as a slave. From Nial his descendant, Conal Gulban, founded the royal house of O’Donnell in Donegal Ireland. Much of my family history has now been uncovered but there is so much more to be revealed.
My search has now been completed and my curiosity has been sated. Much more personal items had to be forsaken as they are too many to place in this magazine. I urge everyone to explore their past history no matter what their nationality or place of origin. You will be able to create a sense of ‘self’ and discover your place in history and time.
by Joseph J. O’Donnell Sr. Writer/ Publisher