> Seriously, though, what are peoples' thoughts on the
> position of the FB in late IA and
> early medieval Ireland?
There doesnt seem to be a definitive answer to the FB question, as you have pointed out Stiof. Even though O'Rahilly is outdated in some respects, I tend to side with his arguments that they were the remnants of an earlier population. Hard to say how early though. O'Rahilly does state that many of the Érainn tribes were in vassalage to the Gael, which is why many of the latter's pedigrees were falsified to have Gaelic origins.
One thing that is interesting, and *seems* to be upheld by recent DNA studies is the idea that Ireland had/has five different populations in pre-historic to pre-Christian times:
Fir Bolg (Érainn)
and Ulaid (?).
(also from O'Rahilly)
I also think that Fomor/Formor is perhaps a mis-transcription, with Fir Mór being more likely ie Sea men, pirates, sea raiders as the Fomor were reputed to be rather pirate like.
However, if one accepts the Fomor and Fir Bolg as bona fide populations, then what does one do with the Tuatha de Danaans? Would they also be considered a 'real population', perhaps with superior technology, which elevated them to god-like status in the eyes of a more primitive population? How do we explain them and thier deified status in the folk memory?
For many years scholars refuted some of O'Rahilly's theories on the point of the 5 ppls of Érainn, but genetics seem to be concurring with him.
Interesting that in one of your last posts, Stiof, you mentioned the Irish Celtic tendency to die early of clogged arteries. I have a rare form of hyperlipidemia which has quite a high occurence among the Gaelic population of Connaught (where my ancestors hale from) and which is resistant to the current statin class of drugs used to lower HDL and triglycerides and raise LDL. It could be that the tendency to high blood cholesterol was developed over time to help stay warm, and meet energy requirements for a strenuous lifestyle.
Thats my two bits for a more serious discussion. :-)
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