In this section you can learn about the legal and religious systems that regulated political and social life in Gaelic Ireland and the indispensable role played by the bardic poets who charted the rise and fall of Gaelic Ireland.
The political structure Medieval Gaelic Ireland was ruled by up to 60 chieftains whose power was dependent on their political status. Find out how lines of succession, authority and land ownership were determined.
The legal system Medieval Gaelic Ireland had a sophisticated legal system known as the Brehon law. Discover what inheritance rights women and illegitimate children enjoyed under the system.
The religious system Ireland’s diocesan system was established at the Synod of Kells in the 12th century. Find out more about the parish system and how the church in Gaelic Ireland financed itself.
The bardic poets The hereditary bardic poets played an essential role in the social, political and religious life of Gaelic Ireland. Discover why they were persecuted by English administrators in the 16th century.
Gaelic social life Gaelic Ulster was the most rural part of Ireland where the people concentrated on pastoral farming. Read about the colourful events that took place at the traditional May Day fairs.
Demise of Gaelic life In the decades leading up to the Plantation of Ulster the Gaelic chiefs began to benefit from the market economy. Discover how Gaelic Ulster’s bartering economy became a money-based one.