This has been a particurly rough week.  I’ve been working with the Mac Datho’s Pig story, and resolved to fix my pronounciation (It’s not mac dath-oh, to assonate with “class though”) . Through this, I’ve been talking with Lisa T., who is a friend of Erik C. I showed her my Tain documentation, and I think a fair paraphrase is ‘Oh honey.’

On the one hand, she also used the word Seanachie on her site – but we couldn’t find it in a dictionary. It’s probably an out of period thing. She also told me that the filidh is a completely valid thing throughout our period- brehon law was in effect through the 16th century.

Her article on pronounciation is on this page: The Irish Can’t Spell….  So if you’re feeling bored, go read through that a few times.

This is her point, I was saying the judges hadn’t heard of a seanachie and she grabbed onto some other pieces of my documentation.

Well I see why they challenged it, because you have a couple of untruths in your documentation. There is no parity between a filidh and a seanachie. A filidh was a recognized rank of bard who had already been at school for several years, learning the lineage of the kings and the stories of the settlement. Bard (entry level), filidh (journeyman), and ollamh (master) are all ranks defined within Brehon Law, which I strongly suggest you look up. Brehon Law was in force, with a few hiccups, for most of our period. Seanachie is rarely an official position, and never a trained one; the problem with calling yourself a seanachie and trying to support Tain Bo is that a seanachie would likely tell stories about his neighbors, not the gods and demigods of Old Eire. Tain Bo, in all its versions, retains the marks of having been written, not developed in a casual oral style, as evidenced by the verse passages of dialogue.

I have to say that I disagree about the (oh she doesn’t say it here), she says the filidh would have a specific pattern of speech for the story. I disagree because part of the job is to isolate part of the story and then apply it to real life. (need citation- from documentation?)

She referenced this page for poetic forms. She says the site’s kind of a mishmash though.

Apparently I can stop sweating the small stuff about “oh I don’t know what to recite” because this CELT page is the real deal(definitely need to farm that).

This paper here; (should download this and save it) refers to brehon lawyers in 16th century, which shows that they didn’t just evaporate.

She also said this:

Seriously, filidh does have some creative expectations in terms of knowing at least the building blocks of Irish poetry. The other advantage of the Brehon school system, though, is that the expectation was greater for you to learn and then disseminate rather than writing original stuff and being a tremendous performer. Something that was VERY right for a Brehon bard which is also way cool in the SCA is to declaim lineages. Check CELT here and think about not only this being cool, but think about how it could be done for the SCA

And that references A poem on the kings of connacht.

My response and conclusions:

So, internally again, not externally. I say that because as pointed out by another friend, I’m on A path which doesn’t need to correspond to a SCA path. And as I always tell people, walk your own walk. So, *internally* I should move my bard-baggage from the word Bard and to the word Filidh, and work towards the Brehon school level of Filidh, with the building blocks of Irish poetry, and the learning and dissemination WHICH happens to correspond to my preference for period pieces over periodish pieces.

Also, should continue to beat my head at better pronounciation. And should put “learn gaelic” higher in my bucket list than it is.

But externally, I should not use the word Filidh (because on one hand nobody would know what I mean and on the other using that word and affecting a brogue (whch my ollamh does well but I do very badly) are culturally problematic.

And rather than worrying about drumming, I could instead work on a lineage of kings of An Tir, both “fred olaffson was son of olaf but fostered (squired) to sven” and memorize both that lineage and also the irish kings up to Turlough O’Connor (because I’m at 1139). And work on my poetics and poetry. And learn *all the stories* from the CELT page