Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 023

Text (translated from the 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612/1641 Spanish and the 1609/1612 Latin edition)


23.2. {1608/1612I{Ireland, which the Roman and Greek writers used to call Hibernia, and by some Ierna, is by its inhabitants called Eryn. Hence, the English, who insert a second vowel where other people pronounce the third, say Irynland, and subsequently contract this to Irlandt, which sounds very probable as Eryn & Land. For to all Germans and Anglosaxons Eryn means nothing else than Region or Land. And who doubts that Irlandia is derived by the Romans from this? {1608/1612I only(Orosius tells us it is inhabited by the Scots)}1608/1612I only}. Giraldus Cambrensis, a good Writer who lived {1606E only{in the time of Henry the Second and who wrote}1606E only} more than 400 years ago, describes IRELAND {1608/1612I{in a specific booklet. But since we do not have this book, and since it may be in few hands only, we present here as much from it as will fit the page for those who are studious, with gratitude towards those who communicated this to us}1608/1612I} in this manner: IRELAND, the greatest island of the world after Britain, lies in the main sea, {1606E only{Westward from Wales about one day sailing, but between Ulster and Gallaway, a province of Scotland, the Sea is less than half so far. The promontories, capes or forelands (as it may please you to call them) may very easily on a bright day with sunshine from hence be seen and discerned, but some more easily than others, which are more obscure, being farther away. {1606E & 1609/1612/1641S only{Of all the islands of Europe, this lies farthest to the West. To its South it has Spain at a distance of about three days and nights sailing}1606E & 1609/1612/1641S only}. In the East lies Great Britain. On the West side there is nothing but the vast Ocean sea. In the North, a three days journey off, lies Iceland, which of all the Northern islands is by far the greatest.
23.3. {not in 1608/1612I, 1609/1612/1641S & 1609/1612L, which from this point onwards use the text of the previous Ireland map, Ort22, see § 11 below}. {1606E only{Again, a little further, he adds: Hibernia quanto a cætero & communi Orbe terrarum semota, & quasi ALTER ORBIS esse dignoscitur: tanto rebus quibusdam, solito naturæ cursu, incognitis, quasi peculiaris eiusdem NATVRÆ THESAVRUS, ubi insignia & pretiosiora sui secreta reposuerit, esse videtur. <that is:> Look how very remote Ireland is from the rest of the known world, and in that respect is commonly regarded as it were ANOTHER WORLD. So, for certain things, by the single course of nature, it is unknown to others, <and> seems to be a special and peculiar Treasury or STOREHOUSE OF NATURE, where <nature> has bestowed and given to it her most excellent and rarest secrets.
23.4. Orosius (and Isidore after him) report That Ireland is much smaller than England, but by reason of its location and the temperature of the air is more fertile than England. And the Venerable Beda, our countryman, says That the air in Ireland is healthier and purer than it is in England (Hiberniam tum æris salubritate, quam serenitate multum Brittaniæ præstare <= Ireland is a lot better than Britain in terms of the healthiness and purity of its air>). But Giraldus denies this. For (says he) while France excels far above England for thinness and clarity of the air, so does England far excel above Ireland in these respects. For this is certain: the farther you go Eastwards, look how much more subtle, pure and thin the air is, but <also> by as much, more fierce, sharp and piercing. In contrast, the more you go to the Southern or Western parts of the world, by as much as the air is thicker, more cloudy and foggy, by so much it also becomes more temperate, kind and healthy.
23.5. As regards this country, lying in the midst and middle between frozen Iceland and sunburnt Spain, and thus obtaining a mean temperature between hot and cold, as also with respect to temperature and wholesomeness of the air, <Ireland> is a most excellent and fertile island. The flat fields yield a great store of corn. The Mountains feed many herds of cattle, and the woods take care of many Deer and other wild animals. The lakes and rivers have a great variety of plentiful fish. Yet the soil of this land is better for pasture than as arable ground, better for grass than for corn. Multam fruges in Hibernia, he says, plurimam in culmis, minorem in granis spem promittunt. Abunde satis & campi vestiuntur, & horrea farciuntur, sola vero granaria destituuntur. <that is:> Here the corn, as long as it is in the grass (for Hibernia I read herba) is marvellously good, but it seems much better as long as it is standing and slender, and fails when it comes to being threshed, because it seldom yields grains. In the field it makes a good show, and it may stand as thick as possible on the ground, and fills the barns to the top, but the granary store houses remain empty.
23.6. So far Giraldus. And because we have handled the general description of this island in another place of our work <viz. Ort 22> we will conclude this text with a brief description of some of their cities and main towns, as we have learned from that worthy gentleman Richard Stanihurst, <a> born and bred countryman <of Ireland>. DUBLIN, situated on the river Liffe in the county of Dublin, the Metropolitan and chief city not only of Leynster but of all of Ireland excels above all other cities of this island in excellent and fair buildings, multitudes of people, civility, sweet air and location, like the cypress excels above the shrub.
23.7. The Cathedral Church of St. Patrick was first founded Iohn Cinim, Archbishop of Dublin, in the year of our Lord God 1197. That great and excellent, strong Castle was built by Henry Loundres, also an Archbishop of Dublin, around the year of our Lord 1220. This city is very ancient, and it was in Ptolemey's time called (as learned men think) Civitas Eblana,
23.8. The city Eblan. The next city in order and dignity is WATERFORD, a well governed town and one that has always remained faithful to England. It is very populous and civilised and (since its harbour is far better and safer than that of Dublin) much used for trade and traffic by merchants from foreign countries. Its streets are very narrow and dark. Here no cut-throat Jewish usurer is permitted to exercise his devilish occupation, that is, as Cato says, to kill men, or live by the sweat of other men's brows.
23.9. The third is LIMERICK, which in view of the pleasant river Shenyn on which it is situated, as also for its commodious situation, might justly challenge <Dublin's> first place. For this river is the greatest and the best of all Ireland. Its depth and width is such that, even though the city is at least sixty miles from the main sea, yet ships with large cargoes come all the way to the city walls. Next to that, it is wonderfully filled with a great variety of fresh fish. King Iohn liked the situation of this city so much, that he ordered an excellent castle and a fair bridge to be built <here>.
23.10. The last and least <city> is CORK, situated on the river Leigh. The harbour is one of the best in all Ireland, and therefore the citizens are very wealthy, and great merchants. The latter three <cities> are all within the province of Mounster. But if you like to read more text on these matters, I suggest you to consult the aforementioned author Richard Stanihurst, and he shall fully satisfy you}1606E only}.

23.11. {1608/1612I, 1609/1612/1641S & 1609/1612L only{Britannia is almost twice as large as Ireland. Because considering that the <largest> length of both of them goes from North to South, it is <for Britain> about 800 miles long and 200 miles wide, <and it is> for this <Ireland> from the Bredan hills to the isles of Columbina, also called Thorach, about an eight days journey, that is at least 40 Irish miles. Ireland contains altogether 176 Canweds. The word Canwed is a compound word, used by the Welsh as well as the Irish, and means an area of ground containing within it 100 mansions.
23.12. The soil of Ireland is uneven, full of hills and valleys, soft and moist, full of woods, bogs and fens. On the top of the highest and steepest hills, you will often find large ponds and bogs. Yet, in some places, it has the most worthy and excellent plains, but with respect to woods, there are very few of them. The soil is very heavy, and fertile in Corn. The mountains abound with sheep, the woods are full of Deer. The whole island is generally better for pasture than for arable ground, better, I mean, for grass than for corn.
23.13. For the grains of wheat are here so miserable and small that they may hardly be threshed with any kind of flail. That which the Spring time brings forth, and what flourishes for a while in Summer, the dripping and watery Autumn will hardly suffer kindly to ripen, or tidily to be reaped. For this country is more exposed to blistering winds, and outrageous rain storms and floods than any other country under the scope of heaven.
23.14. It is very rich in honey and milk. Solinus and Isidorus assert that it has no Bees. But if they allow me, had they more diligently examined the matter, they might in contrast have written that it lacks grape vines, but it is not altogether devoid of Bees. For this island does not have, or ever had, any vines. But of Bees it has (as any other country) more than plenty. They would, in spite <of what has been asserted>, as I think, have swarmed in even far greater numbers if it were not for the poisonous and sour yew-trees which all over the Island grow in great abundance.
23.15. The Island is traversed and watered everywhere by many good rivers, of which the main ones are these: the Auenliss runs past Dublin; the Boand, through the middle; the Banna through Ulster via Connagh; the Linne and the Moad through Kenelcunill, Slechy and Samayr; the Modarn and Furne by Keneleon. There are also very many other rivers, some issuing forth from the bowels of the earth and their clean springs, others directly running from lakes and fens, going here and there, and dividing and parting the Island into many good provinces and shires. At the foot of Bladina hill, three famous rivers find their source, commonly called The three sisters (for they bear the names of three sisters:), Berna, which runs past Lechlin; the Eoyr past Osire; and the Swyre past Archfine and Trebagh. Near Waterford they kindly greet each other <again> and reuniting into one track they quietly flow into the sea. The Slane runs by Wexford. The Boand by Meath, The Avenmore by Lismore, and the Simen by Limirick. {1609/1612/1641S only in right margin{It may well be that the names of some of these woods, lakes and rivers have been corrupted here and that the reader understands something different from what is intended, and we hope that the benevolent reader will take this in good spirit, for we provide what we are able to provide, not what we would like to provide}1609/1612/1641S only}.
23.16. And indeed, amongst all the rivers of Ireland, the Sinnen takes the prize not only for its vast size, and its long and diverse wanderings through the country, but also for its abundance of tasty fish. It issues from a very large and worthy lake, which separates Connagh from Munster, and then splits itself into two branches, running in opposite directions, one of them turning to the South, passing the city of Kelleloe and then encircling the city of Limirick with a direct course and large flow for a hundred miles and more, separating the two Momonias before emptying itself into the Brendan sea.
23.17. The other <branch>, not unlike the previous one, separating the middle and the further parts of Ulster from Connagh, runs in a crooked course, turning this way and that way, at last dissolving into the Northern Ocean, so that this river separates the fourth and <most> Western part of the island from the other three, like a midland stream runs from <one> sea to <the other> sea. For this island was formerly divided into five almost equal parts, namely into North Mounster, South Mounster, Leinster, Ultomera and Connagh.
23.18. This country has various good lakes. The sea coast abounds plentifully with all kinds of sea fish everywhere; the Rivers and Lakes hold a great variety of fresh fish, in particular these three sorts, <:> Salmons, Trout and muddy Eels. The river Shynen swarms with Lampreys. But many other sorts of good fresh water fish as occur in other countries are lacking, such as Pikes, Perches, {1608/1612I{Gogeons}1608/1612I} and almost <all> such fish as do not come from the sea or salt water. In contrast <to this>, the Lakes of this Island have three kinds of fish which are not to be found anywhere else. For they are somewhat longer and rounder than Trouts, with very white meat, tasting very tasty and pleasant, very similar to the Hallibut but with a much bigger head.
23.19. Then there is a another sort, in all respects like trout, but without spots. These sorts of fish are only seen in Summer. In Winter, they never appear. In Meath, near Fonera, are three Lakes, not very distant from one another, each of which has a certain variety of fish proper to itself, and not found in any of the other two lakes. Nor, do I mean, does <this fish from> one <lake> ever go to the other, although there is a most convenient access via the river which runs from one <lake> to another. If, by chance, the fish of one lake is carried to another, it either dies in a while, or it returns to its own lake again.
23.20. This island breeds numerous Falcons of various kinds and Sparrows and Hawks than any other country whatsoever. Eagles are as common as harriers in other countries, and Cranes flock together in such groups, that often you shall find one hundred in a group. Here are also great quantities of Bernacles, which nature brings forth in a strange and wonderful manner. They are like wild geese, but somewhat smaller. They are bred from blocks of poplar wood, which have fallen from the shore <into the sea> in this way: first upon these blocks you will see as it were a certain jelly. Then, when the reeds and sea weeds hold the logs, being enclosed in shells for better shape and safe preservation) they hang by their bills, until in the process and passing of time, they grow to a decent size, and become covered with feathers, <until> they either fall into the water, or, by the benefit of their wings, lift themselves up and fly into the open air. I have myself repeatedly and often seen with my very own eyes many very small bodies of this kind of birds, clinging to a woodblock on the sea shore, enclosed in shells and fully shaped. These lay no eggs, and they never sit. And therefore, in certain places of Ireland, at Easter or on other fasting days, it is allowed to eat these fowls, as they are not of flesh, and do not come of flesh.
23.21. There are also numerous birds here of a kind which has a curious shape, or an ambiguous nature which they call Aurifrise, smaller than an Eagle, but larger than a hawk, having on one foot sharp talons, with a clawing grip, but the other foot has none of this, and is not suitable for clutching or carrying anything, but only fit for swimming. A strange and admirable product of sporting nature. Here are also certain birds which they call Martinets, smaller than a blackbird, shaped like quails, but differing from them in that their bellies are white and their backs black. <I have> a strange thing to tell about these birds: if they die, they should be kept in a dry place, and they will not produce any stench, and being laid amongst clothes or wool, they will provide safety against moths. And what is even much more admirable, being dead and hung up in some dry place, they will every year shed their feathers and grow new ones instead.
23.22. In the Northern part of Ireland there are many Swans. But storks are rare throughout the island, and such as they do have are black. They have no Partridges, Pheasants, Magpies or Nightingales. It has just about all kinds of wild beasts. The Stags here are so fat that they are hardly able to run, and those of them who are smallest in body size do excel <above the others> in stateliness and rich branching of their antlers. We never saw anywhere larger groups of Boars. They also have many hares. The bodies of their cattle, beasts, deer and fowls are in their sort smaller than in other places. There are badgers, and weasels, but of goats and hedgehogs they have none at all, and Moles, if any, are very rare. But of mice they have such an infinite number as nowhere else is to be found. There are also many wolves and foxes, but no manner of poisonous creatures. For the Spiders and insects here are neither poisonous nor causing pain. The country is never shaken by Earth quakes, and scarcely once a year shall one hear thunder.
23.23. From these natural things, let us pass to those strange wonders which nature has issued in these out<lying> countries of the world. In North Mounster there is a lake with two islands, a large and a small one. The large one has a Church, the small one a Chapel. Should any woman, or living creature of the female kind ever come to the large one, it would die after some time {1608/1612I has instead{immediately}1608/1612I}. This was often proved by bitches, cats, and other creatures of that <=female> sex. On the small one, no man ever died, or could die a natural death. In Ulster there is another lake in which there is an island with two different qualities: one part of it with a church devoted to the service of Christianity, is very beautiful, excellent and pleasant. The other, very rough, overgrown and unpleasant, is said to have been bequeathed to Devils and evil spirits. This part has in it nine caves or trenches in any of which if a man happens to sleep there all night, he is immediately assaulted by the evil spirits, and so grievously tormented and vexed all night, that by the morning he shall scarcely be able to breathe and will be almost half dead. This place is called by the country people The purgatory of St. Patrick.
23.24. There is also a spring or fountain in Mounster whose water, if used for washing, will turn the hair of a man hoary white or grey. I myself saw a man who washed one half of his beard with this water, and the hair became white, the other <half> retaining its original colour as it was before. In contrast, there is in Ulster a spring in which, if any man washes his hair, he shall never become hoary or grey-headed. In Connagh there is a spring of fresh water on the top of a very high mountain which recedes twice every 24 hours, and flows as often <= also twice>, imitating the changeable motion of the sea. There is a spring in the more distant, Northern part of Ulster which because of its great coldness in seven years' time turns sticks and wood cast into it into stone. In Connagh there is a spring which is only kind and wholesome for humans. But for cattle and other such kinds of brute beasts it is pestilent and dangerous. There is a spring in Mounster which, if touched by any man, will result in due time in a flood going over the whole country through storms and rain.
23.25. The people of this country wear coarse black cloaks or rugs (for the sheep of this Island are black) and they wear these sloppily and not handsomely. They also use small hoods, which hang down to their elbows. For riding, they do not use saddles, boots or spurs. But with a rod, sharpened and tapering at one end, they prick their horses, and make them run. Their bridles are such that they serve as bit and reign, made such that their horses, only used to eat grass, are never prevented from eating. To make war, they go into the field naked and unprotected. They use three kinds of arms, <namely> long spears, darts and battle axes. The people are wild and uncivilised. They delight in nothing more than to live in idleness, and prefer liberty above great riches. I only observe the people to take much pleasure in playing musical instruments, and they deserve some praise for that.
23.26. This is what we have briefly collected here and there from the history of Gyraldus Cambrensis. To these the studious Reader may add such things as Henry of Huntingdon, Polydorus Vergilius, William Newberry, Iohn Maior and others have written about it in their various histories. Daniel Rogers has published a description of this island in verse, dedicated to Thomas Rhediger. And Mr. William Camden in prose has most exactly described it in his Britannia. But Richard Stanihurst has recently published an elaborate treatise on the history and state of this island. And because we have spoken before about St. Patrick's purgatory, it shall not be amiss to add to that the following discussion, taken from the twelfth book of Cæsarius, his history of Things worth remembering. When St. Patrick, he says, converted this nation to Christianity, and they expressed doubt and disbelieved that man should be punished for his sins in the world to come, he obtained by earnest prayer the following place by the hand of God. The place looks like this: there is a deep pit or trench, enclosed fully by a round wall There are also certain Regular Canons. No man is so terrible a sinner as to deserve a greater penance than to abide for one whole night in that purgatory. If any man be desirous to enter it for the first time to make his confession, they administer the sacrament to him, anoint him, perfume him, and instruct him as follows: thou shalt see this night, they say, the assaults of the Devil, and the horrible pains of hell, but they shall not hurt thee, if thou have the name of Jesus always in thy mouth. But if thou shall yield to flattering the enticements or terrible threats of the Devil, and shall cease to call Jesus' name, thou shall surely be a dead man. Then in the evening, lowering him into the pit, they shut the door and come back in the morning. And if they do not immediately find him, they look no further for him. Many have died there, and many have gone home again, whose visions have been written down by the friars mentioned, which are shown to those desirous to see them}1608/1612I} © Marcel van den Broecke ©.

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