May Meeting

The May meeting will be held on 9th May at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library.
Our speaker will be one of our own members Gerry Oates, his topic is ‘The Brehon Laws: Women and Marriage’.

Apparently under Brehon Law, there were between three and ten forms of marriage, each diminishing in importance, legal rights and desirability and sorted by degrees.

A first degree union takes place between partners of equal rank and property.

A second degree union in which a woman has less property than the man and is supported by him.

A third degree union in which a man has less property than the woman and has to agree to management of the woman’s cattle and fields by someone from her family.

A fourth degree union is the marriage of the loved one in which no property rights changed hands, though children’s rights are safeguarded.

A fifth degree union is the mutual consent of the man and woman to share their bodies, but live under separate roofs.

A sixth degree union in which a defeated enemy’s wife is abducted. This marriage was valid only as long as the man could keep the woman with him.

A seventh degree union is called a soldier’s marriage and is a temporary, primarily sexual union.

An eighth degree union occurs when a man seduces a woman through lying, deception or taking advantage of her intoxication.

A ninth degree union is a union by rape.

A tenth degree union occurs between feeble-minded or insane people.