Monday, March 17, 2014


The significant role that the Irish played in preserving knowledge through the dark ages from the fall of Rome to the beginnings of the medieval age is often over looked.

Our tribute is much more an observation of St. Patrick's contribution to  Christianity and the preservation on knowledge, than just a good drunk.

My ancestry on my father's side is a mix of Irish and Mi'kmaq. 

The Whittles and the Hynes' families immigrated to Newfoundland from Ireland. The Whittles left England after the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. The settles in Cork - but in the mid 1880's they lost much of their lands after backing a Catholic candidate. Three brothers set out for the new world leaving the emerald isle behind.

The Hynes or O'Heyne, trace their decendents back to the O'Cleary's and the 7th century King of Connaught, Guaire Aidhne the Hospitable and it is said a Hynes married married Brian Boru mac Cennétig, the greatest king of Ireland. 

The O'Heyne's surname became anglizised to Hynes, Hines and Hinds. Many of my ancestors came from the ccounties of Galway and Clare, where the name is still prominant.

My Grandmother Whittle's great, great grandfather Tommy Hynes immigrated from Ireland. Most likely he came to the south coast of the province under the employ of  Newman & Co who had a prominent presence in Harbour Breton and  the West side of Fortune Bay. He settled in English Harbour East after marrying a Mi'kmaq women named Elizabeth Saunders.

Interesting enough the  Diaspóra na nGael refers continued for generations. All of my grandmother Whittle's siblings emigrated to the Boston States in the 1930's in search of work. A small merchant family, they were devestated by the crash of the Newfoundland Bank. My father left Newfoundland to find employment in Southern Ontario in the 1960's. He returned home in 1975, with his CFA wife, and now in my mid-40's, I am considering leaving to find a meaningful living.

I was always been interested in Irish history, the revolutions, the heroes, the famines and the subjugation of the English. It was not until I read Thomas Cahill's, How The Irish Saved Civilization , that my eyes were opened to the guardian role played by the Irish Months, scribes and priests that were converted by St. Patrick. 

The barbarian hordes were pagan and illiterate and gave no consideration to books of any kind. These converts translated and transcribed the key texts of Christianity, epic and the the canons of Classical antiquity. 

The  Irish preserved the Christian and Greek learning - reeducating Europe and seeding the Renaissance and the Reformation. 

If you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough.

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