posted on Apr, 19 2011 @ 09:22 AM
Above all the Celts venerated nature.
When the Romans conquered northern Europe and Christianity started to spread in their wake Ireland and Scotland were left alone. The Romans weren't
too enthused about fighting the Picts(Scotish) and they believed that Ireland was too cold, their name for Ireland was 'Hibernia', and not worth the
effort to invade. There is also archaeological evidence to show that they sent at least one expeditionary force to Ireland but were beaten back into
the sea. This was around the same era that the legendary Fionn Mac Cumhaill(pronounced 'mac cool') and the Fianna were the prominent warrior force
in Ireland, they were supposed to have been a tough bunch
This meant that the Irish Celts were pretty much left alone to practice their religion, whilst the rest of Europe was in turmoil.
When Christianity eventually did arrive(St. Patrick is given the credit) to Ireland it was assimilated by the locals in a gradual process. The story
of St. Patrick driving out the snakes is analogous, snakes representing the Celtic Deities. When you see the really old ruins of a church in Ireland,
and I mean really old, these were built upon earlier Celtic ceremonial and religious sites.
What really happened was that a different version of Christianity evolved in Ireland in this era, it was mixed with the Celts love and respect for
nature. Indeed still to this day in Ireland there are holy days that are of Celtic origin, Halloween is a good example of this. Infact most of the
holy days revolve around the Celtic calender, which was seasonal, this is true for many countries that absorbed Christianity.
Anyway to round off, this all went well for a few hundred years until the reformation of the new roman catholic church under Charlemagne. When
emissaries arrived in Ireland to see how thing were getting on they did not like the quaint little nature worshiping version of their ideology, their
empire of wealth and power, they didn't like it one bit. With howls of 'heresy' they set about fixing things, stories of inquisition-like trials
and even killing monks and burning their churches may or may not be true. What Ireland was left with was a modernized, corrupt, tyrannical institution
called the Catholic church. Sad really.