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continue Rowland's work,—to re-edit the Mona Antiqua, —and to improve on them both. Why should not the author of the new Cambrian Biography give us the history of his own parish, which he knows so well? Why should not Mr. Fenton re-edit his father's work on his own county? Archdeacon Newcome has given us much about Ruthin and Denbigh; will no one complete the history of the Vale of Clwyd, although Mr. Aneurin Owen is no longer amongst us to throw upon that district the light which he so peculiarly possessed?
As a part of parochial and district history, I would recommend, once more, the collection of Local Traditions as a most decided desideratum. Whether ancient or modern, whether reasonable or absurd, traditions have always a certain degree of importance as illustrations of history, and as lights thrown on the picture of national manners. They may not have much isolated or local value, but, when collected, classified and compared, their intrinsic worth often becomes evident.
Wales abounds in tradition: we want the whole body of this kind of local history, howsoever fabulous, collected, examined, preserved. It forms a subordinate but not a valueless branch of local, of county history; and it is so easy, so agreeable an occupation I had almost said, to collect and record it, that I wonder at the subject not being more generally taken up by all persons fond of any other times as well as of the present.
VII.—Documentary History and Records connected with Wales require further examination and cataloguing. In particular, we want a catalogue of all the public records concerning Wales, made into the shape of a catalogue raisonnie, and we want one complete catalogue of the most important Welsh literary MSS. At the present moment this information has to be sought for through many volumes, and when found is not always satisfactory, —witness the scantiness and the errors of the new edition of Dugdale,—and many Welsh MSS. are either not catalogued, or not known. In the chapter-house at Westminster, the catalogues of the Welsh MSS. and records form two folio volumes; why should not these volumes be examined and published? Surely this is a great desideratum; for the future history of Wales will have to be compiled and written, not in the Principality, but in London; witness the fate of the Caernarvon legend, when Mr. Hartshorne threw the light of the Record Office upon it!
VIII.—One of the principal desiderata for all Welsh antiquaries is that of Local Museums; and though many objections are urged against the idea, I think it might very properly be reserved for a sub-committee to consider and report upon, before it is finally condemned as impracticable.
The existence of three such museums, at Swansea, Caerleon and Caernarvon, are certainly instances of the practicability of the scheme; and the collections of valuable objects of antiquity which are made wherever we hold our annual meetings, show that the materials for them exist, if only a suitable plan were developed for their formation.
My own idea is that since a reading room, I might almost say a lecture room, is an indispensable want of modern urban society,—and as a reading room, more or less prosperous in its support, exists in all the county towns of Wales, a museum for the reception of objects of local antiquity, and of local natural history, or of local manufacture and art, might be joined on to the reading room, and so form a sort of intellectual centre for the town and county. Not much money is wanted for the purpose; a little good will and a little good management would go a long way towards setting up and maintaining such an establishment. A library should by all means form part of it, and, when once started, such an institution would gradually attract to it numerous objects fit to be placed on its shelves, and would constitute a place of refuge for much that now runs the risk of destruction.
I think that museums might be very easily formed at the following places, viz.,—Mold; Denbigh, or Ruthin; Beaumaris; Dolgellau; Welshpool; Aberystwyth; Haverfordwest; Caermarthen; Brecon, and Knighton.
If a sub-committee were formed to consider this subject, and to enter into communication with the gentry of those localities, they might report upon their operations at the next annual meeting; and I have no fear but that, even by that time, the formation of one or two would be found practicable. At Brecon, Aberystwyth, Haverfordwest, Caermarthen, and Dolgellau, I should consider the plan to be highly practicable, but I do not despair of the other localities.
In concluding this paper, I would once more remind members of the importance of system and scientific purpose in all our inquiries; and I would further remind them of a point which, to my astonishment, I have found once more mooted and called in question, viz., that we are still very little advanced in our study of the archaeology of this Principality and its Marches, for the bare enumeration of the desiderata mentioned in this paper shows that the field of Welsh antiquities is still only scratched over, not cultivated, and that there is occupation for our Association during more generations of antiquaries than we are likely to reckon upon. I know that courage, perseverance, discrimination, self-sacrifice, science, art, are all necessary for our success; but are we to say that these qualities do not exist among our body? If they do, as I feel persuaded is the case,—then let us work on, and, by the help of a good Providence, we shall produce some notable result, useful to our country and honourable to ourselves.
H. LONGUEVILLE JoNES.
EARLY REMAINS IN THE GREAT ISLE OF ARAN.
The period at which the ancient remains in the Great Isle of Aran were erected, is so far back, and at the same time so veiled from our knowledge by the mist of ages, that they may excite the speculation equally of the ethnographer as the archaeologist. They are in fact claimed by an epoch when history is either doubtful or silent, and when we have to follow the migrations of barbarous tribes by the obscure, but yet not always uncertain, aid of etymology. We shall gladly avail ourselves of the slightest gleam of explanation which the name of the place itself suggests. There is often contained in a single word the history of ages; but, in the present instance, the application of etymology affords no further assistance, than that ara in Gaelic signifies a portion of the human frame, not very unlike the form of the island.1
Upon looking at the map of Ireland, it will be observed that there are three islands lying at the south-west of the gulf of Galway, called Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inishsheer. It is on Inishmore, the most western and largest of the three, that those remains are situated which will shortly have to be described. Yet it may not be inconvenient at this point of the inquiry to offer a few notices respecting the geographical position of these very remarkable islands. They are completely exposed on one side to the western gales of the Atlantic, whilst a boisterous sea is as perpetually breaking against them on the other. Access under the most favourable circumstances is difficult; the labour is but half accomplished when a landing is effected on the rugged shore, and the returning voyage is commonly delayed by the perverseness of the wind or tide, for a few days, and often for several weeks. With my companions, Mr. Hastings Russell, M.P., and his brother, therefore, I had certainly reasons for self
1 Haec insula dicta Arann, Ren in latino, quia ad similitudinem renis in animalis se habet; quia in medio est angusta, et in extremitatibus est grassa.— Vita S. Endei, apud Colgani Acta Sanctorum, p. 706.
congratulation, in having made the passage across these turbulent seas in a tranquil time, and though sailing in a condemned boat, a fact which might have assisted in embellishing a more perilous narrative, the double voyage was accomplished the same day; thus all the romantic character of the passage was excluded, though it must be confessed, when land became out of sight on all sides, and the sea fowl whirled in more confident mockery around the recollection flashed across the mind, that only a rotten plank intervened betwixt us and the depths of ocean, and that if the breeze should stiffen, or the deep blue billows, then so playfully dancing around, should catch an angry gale, the fragile galley may have readily yielded its burden to the deep.
The Great Isle of Aran is about nine miles long, and varies up to about three in breadth. To speak of it in general terms, it is a bare and unproductive rock of splintery limestone, dipping from west to east, very much disturbed and contorted in its stratification, rising precipitously from the sea on the Atlantic side, in some parts as much as 300 feet. Its physical character is moreover very singular, since the surface of this rock, when not covered by its scanty though sweet verdure, or its little patches of cultivated ground, consists of a series of naked slabs, which are as constantly intersected with narrow fissures or natural crevices, a few inches in width, out of which the grass grows with great luxuriance. This natural limestone floor looks as though the island were laid out with huge flags, which are so level and slippery that it requires a little practice to walk over them with comfort and adroitness. The shoes we commonly wear are quite unsuitable, and hence the Aranites have adopted Pampooties, as they call them, or sandals, of an exceedingly primitive kind. These, which all the children are taught to make at the age of seven, are formed of cowhide, with the hair left on, cut very low at the sides, with only a little pointed piece in front, just sufficient to cover the ends of the toes, being bound on with whipcord; they are admirably adapted for