By custom and culture, the Irish are a hospitable people. Visitors to Ireland happily testify to the warmth of our welcome. But not many realise it is a culture enshrined in ancient Irish law.
The Brehon Laws governed the ancient society of Erin in the days when an emerging Roman Empire sought to civilise mainland Europe. Under Brehon Law, it was an obligation to offer hospitality to anyone who happened upon your dwelling place. But few regarded it as an obligation; they felt it was a privilege to offer a roof, sustenance, warmth and a welcome.
As O’Donoghues, our ancestors were among the first to embrace The Brehon Laws and at our family-owned and operated hotel, we are proud to adhere to them still.
The Brehon, Killarney represents the pinnacle of our experience. It is the welcome that the O’Donoghue Family have extended for generations. Our management and staff are taught The Brehon Way programme to ensure that our Brehon Laws are still embraced and to enhance your customer experience.
The Brehon Laws
The name Brehon comes from the Irish word for Judge. Passed on orally from at least the first century BC, The Brehon Laws were first set down on parchment in the seventh century AD and continued in use until the beginning of the seventeenth century. Some of these Brehon manuscripts were buried while others were hidden behind loose stones in the hearth. Other manuscripts became torn or damp, and were burned or allowed to rot. Fortunately, some fell into the hands of collectors, and are now safe in the libraries around Europe. In 1852 The Brehon Law Commission employed two native Irish scholars, to unravel the mysteries of the laws. What gradually came to light was not simply a collection of dry and dusty prohibitions, but thousands of details that describe ancient life in Ireland.
The Story behind The Brehon Logo
The Salmon depicted in The Brehon logo represents the Salmon of Knowledge - from Irish Mythology. The story goes that the poet Fiegas spent seven years fishing for this salmon, because he knew if he caught it and ate its flesh he would have all the knowledge in the world. When he caught it he asked his young apprentice Fionn to cook it. As he cooked it Fionn burned his thumb and sucked it to relieve the pain. When Fionn gave the cooked fish to his boss, Fiegas saw from the light in Fionn's eyes that he had gained all the knowledge and wisdom of the salmon. Fionn later became the leader of the Fianna famed heros of Irish myth.
The Story of Danú
The pagan Celts believed that Danú (also known as Anú) was the earth goddess from whom all life emerged. She is considered the mother goddess of all Celtic gods and mother of Ireland’s original mythical inhabitants, the Túatha Dé Danaan, or fairy-folk. Danú embodied the earth, rivers and sea and she offered fertility, abundance, regeneration and nurturing.