This important book throws light on the playful intelligence of a line of thinkers who composed in the Irish language, from the 5th century AD until just the other day. Their philosophy is revealed in their own words. They are the filid or philosopher-poets, or Christian druids.
John Minahane argues that the druids in Ireland creatively assimilated Christianity, thinking of it as the ultimate and perfect form of druidism. This view is backed up by extensive quotation from ancient writings.
"In one of the great demonstrations of the breadth and brilliance of the human mind Irish druidism was reborn as Christianity; and despite the exertions of Latin-Christian enthusiasts who included some gifted writers, it was never afterwards expunged from the Irish-speaking culture."
A picture then unfolds of a Christian-druidic culture in Ireland which was broadminded, tolerant, richly humorous and poetic. The Christian druids speak for themselves (their original Irish may be found here, with adjacent translations). Love-lyrics, satires, prophecies are included; tales of heroism; ontological fragments; a death sentence; many riddles; passages from the druidic hymns called Amrada; fancies spun from the names of persons, places and things; contributions to a controversy on the nature of the Irish gods; extracts from the student-poets' brainteasing textbook, and much more.
Howth Free Press is proud to re-issue this important book, which first appeared in 1993 in an imprint of Sanas Press, Dublin, to critical if sometimes testy acclaim:
"a delightfully readable and stimulating disquisition." Risteárd Ó Glaisne, Studies
"Minahane takes on many of the heavyweights, past and present, of Irish academia, slashing at their views without mercy… His book will make many enemies (for it can hardly be ignored), but some friends too, perhaps. I enjoyed it more than many I have read in recent times…" Deasún Breatnach, Irish Times
"The views propounded… are very, very seductive… A classic." Bernard Rio, Gwern Azur, Ordos - revue d'études celtiques
Besides articles, reviews, essays and poetry, books by John Minahane include: