Originally Posted by Pawporri
And the great thing about the Irish & Scotch was the "CLAN SYSTEM" as opposed to the feudal system. The feudal or class system was introduced by the English, but Ireland & Scotland rejected it.
The greatest thing about Klan or family based societies is people don't view themselves as lesser or better than each other. ...
There are a number of historical indications that the Irish were heading toward a feudal type of society in some areas as early as the era of Brian Boru, though the process as a native evolution never got very far before the arrival of the English.
As for the idea of equality in the clan and tribal system of Ireland, that needs to be qualified a great deal. The Brehon laws certainly show that this society was divided into several clearly defined social classes based largely on wealth. However, these class distinctions were not immutable, and theoretically if a family failed for three generations to maintain the amount of material possessions indicated for their social class, they then dropped down a rung. Probably the Brehon laws represent a legal ideal, but, on the other hand, they must have had some basis on the social reality.
The following books will give you a detailed picture of early Irish social structure:
Early Medieval Ireland: 400 - 1200
, Dáibhí Ó Crónín (Longman)
A New History of Ireland: Prehistoric and Early Ireland
, various authors with the above Ó Crónín, editor (Oxford)
A shorter and simpler book is In Search of Ancient Ireland
, Carmel McCaffrey and Leo Eaton. Unlike the above two, it appears to be aimed at young adults. It was intended as the companion book to a PBS documentary.
The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook
, Laurence Ginnell (Husain). This is a reprint of an early 20th century book, but it is still available in the U.S.