The Lost Laws of Ireland is not a mystery but it is an outstanding book. And after all, the law is a very important part of mysteries. Especially interesting is the protection women had and the rights they had back in the day of Brehon Law, as it was known. I once bought a book on a trip over to Dublin called “A Women’s Rights In Ireland”. I stopped at my uncle’s house on the drive home and he said, “Now why ever would you be buying a blank book?” Despite his joke (and it was a joke, he was not like that at all), Ireland always had a very sophisticated legal system and women had their rights. Women in Ireland were allowed to own land,for example,long before women in the rest of Europe. There was strict record keeping so in the event of a divorce the property was equitably divided. A wife retained all rights to everything she brought to a marriage. There is a lot of interesting information about one of the oldest legal systems in Europe and just how sophisticated it was. If like me, you are into this kind of stuff, I highly recommend it. ♥♥♥♥
The ancient laws of Celtic Ireland were used from the time before Patrick until the 17th century when they were outlawed and disappeared. Crafted by judges, known as Brehons, the laws were surprisingly modern in their approach to timeless issues and reflect a complex and sophisticated society. This book gives an outline of the main features of the laws and their history, and ultimately focuses on certain themes that are significant to the modern reader, such as equity and fairness, transparent legal process and women’s rights. Many of the legal manuscripts have been lost or destroyed and the laws were not translated into English until modern times. As a result, they have mostly remained obscure and unstudied. Only recently have they given up their secrets. The ancient laws provide a window into society in early Ireland where learning was revered, social mobility was expected and fairness and harmony were social goals. Their resilience demonstrates their value and effectiveness. The Brehon legal system came to an end officially in 1605 after enduring for over a thousand years.
Catherine Duggan has practiced law for over 35 years and is a member of the bar of California and Connecticut. She specializes in inheritance disputes, including will contests and trust litigation, as well as financial elder abuse and has lectured widely in this area of law. In 2008 she changed her focus from litigation to mediation. She is a graduate of Georgian Court University, earned her law degree at Brooklyn Law School and obtained a masters degree at St. Mary’s College of California in 2006. Her parents were from Co. Cork and she has regularly visited Ireland since she was a child. She and her husband live in Oakland, California and have one son. Catherine is the author of The Lost Laws of Ireland published by Glasnevin Publishing.