Monday, March 30, 2015

The partition of Ireland, ca. 999,997,987 BC

I have just begun reading The Origins of the Irish, which uses archaeology, geology, and linguistics to trace the beginnings of the people who would one day give the world Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew.

The author (J.P. Mallory) and publisher (Thames & Hudson) begin their narrative in the deepest geological past, but the editing displays a delightful awareness of recent politics and history. The sub-section on the billion-year-old split of the earth's then single land mass is headed "Partition," for instance.

The next subsection, about the coming together of the two land masses that now form roughly the island's northwestern and southeastern halves is headed "The unification of Ireland."

No other headings that I can find display similar cheek, though I suspect that some observers of the Ireland of recent decades could have fun with "Age of dinosaurs."

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I've always been fascinated by the fact that when you look at Pangea, Ireland is snuggled right up next to Nova Scotia for almost all of recorded history. Only in the blink of a geological time (since the birth of the Atlantic) has Nova Hibernia and Nova Scotia become separated.

March 30, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or that the Sperrins and the Appalachians are remnants of the same ancient range. That explains a lot musically.

March 30, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

Do let us know if the section titles continue to be so entertaining.

March 31, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, those examples are the high point of political humor in the book's section headings do far. One section, about the possibility that Ireland's geographic isolation forced early inhabitants to import their own food (Ireland had become an island by this time) is headed "Bring your own." That's not bad, but it pales next to what had come before.

March 31, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I should add that until I picked up this book, I had thought there was only one supercontinent, Pangea. But Pangea was only the second such land mass, according to this book, coming together after the earlier Vendian supercontinent had broken up. I have residual addiction to single-origin theories, I guess, as well as a limited grasp of vast spans of time. It leaves me in even greater awe of the Vedic numbering system.

March 31, 2015  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Perhaps there is a primal memory and desire in man to put it all back together. How else to give a rational explanation to the bridges that connect the Florida keys, the Eurasian land bridge and the proposed Siberia-Alaska rail and tunnel to bridge the Bering Strait.

March 31, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mary Beth: You're probably right. Being lost in the vastness of time and space is an intimidating prospect. One has to admire the writers of the Vedas for trying to come to grips with this through their system of huge numbers.

March 31, 2015  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home