Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Celtic Monks and Civilization

From author Mark Fisher:
What was such a monastery like? Monks lived in isolation from each other, in wooden  or wattle huts. The better abodes were beehive stone huts, and these, of course, are all that have survived. In the west of Ireland, where wood was scarce, this was their only option. These individual cells were clustered around common buildings. As T.W. Moody and F.X. Martin describes in The Course of Irish History:
…the monastic enclosure included within it the church, usually built of oak, with a stone altar, sacred vessels, relics and handbells for summoning the congregation…; the refectory, with its long table, and adjoining it the kitchen, containing an open fire, cooking utensils, and a large cauldron of drinking water; the library and scriptorium, with manuscripts suspended in satchels by leather straps from the walls and an ample supply of writing materials—waxed tablets, parchment, quills and sylos, inkhorns and the rest. A workshop and forge were situated nearby, while outside the rampart came the cultivated lands and pastures belonging to the monastery, furnished with farm buildings and in addition a mill and limekiln. (Read more.)
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