Browsing the Preface to Standish Hayes O'Grady's Silva Gadelica, 1892, which
is a useful compendium of extracts from medieval and later manuscripts:
One office in the house of a great man is a tale teller, who bringeth his
lord on sleepe with tales vain and frivolous, whereunto the number give
and credence. So light they [the Irish] are in beleeving whatsoever is with
of gravitie affirmed by their superiours whom they esteem and honour,
that a lewd prelate within these few yeares needy of money was able to
his parish that S. Patricke, in striving with S. Peter to let an Irish
galloglass into Heaven, had his head broken with the keyes ; for whose
he obtained a collection (p. 25).
(From a history of Ireland by English Jesuit Edmond Campion, a Londoner and
graduate of Oxford, 1571; hanged and quartered in 1581 for treason.
And in verie deed the language carrieth such difficultie with it, what
for the strangenesse of the phrase and the curious featness of the
that a verie few of the countrie can attein to the perfection thereof,
and much lesse a forrener or stranger (Stanihurst, lib. cit. p. 12: 2).
(Richard Stanihurst was a Roman Catholic priest ; his 'Description of
Ireland' is printed in Ralph Holinshed's Chronicles, 1577. I don't know what
lib is cited here.)
So we forreners shouldn't feel guilty about not being perfect in the