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.
My family’s ancestors were among the first to embrace those laws. We are proud to adhere to them still – and to give expression to that great tradition in a Hotel where we blend the best of the old and the new under the banner that proclaims our heritage.
The Brehon Hotel Killarney represents the pinnacle of our experience – and our pride.It is the welcome that the O’Donoghue Family have extended for generations. The Brehon Way programme ensures both Management and Staff here in the Brehon Hotel embrace the Brehon Laws to enhance your customer experience.
It gives me great pleasure to bestow this welcome to you – Céad Míle Fáilte.
Mr. Patrick O’Donoghue
Brehon Laws were civil laws that governed everyday life in the 15th Century and were concerned with payment of compensation for harm done and the regulation of property, inheritance and contracts.
The name Brehon comes from the Irish word for 'Judge'.
Passed on orally from at least the first century BC the Brehon Laws, named for Ireland's wandering jurists, were first set down on parchment in the seventh century AD, using the newly-developed, written Irish Language, and continued in use until the beginning of the seventeenth century. Some of the Brehon's buried their precious manuscripts, or hid them behind loose stones in the hearth. Other manuscripts became torn or damp, and were burned or allowed to rot. Fortunately, a good number of manuscripts 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. For clarity they first copied the laws onto fresh sheets of paper. Then they translated them into English. What gradually came to light was not simply a collection of dry and dusty prohibitions, but thousands of details - details that describe ancient life in the days when the Irish still lived in mud huts and small ringed settlements, and paid their bills in cows and bacon. So the Irish Laws serve as a repository of primitive customs, some dating back 3,000 years and most gathered by Celtic wanderers from various members of the far-flung Indo-European family.
The Salmon depicted in The Brehon logo represents the Salmon of knowledge - from Irish Mythology. The story goes that the poet Fiegas spent 7 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.
In Irish mythology, Danú is the mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann Old Irish: ("The peoples of the goddess Danú "). Though primarily seen as an ancestral figure, some Victorian sources also associate her with the land. Danú was considered as the mythic mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Celtic tribes that first invaded Ireland. Indeed, the Thuata Dé were the descendants of the goddess Danú, and in some local instances, the ruler of the otherworld was a goddess, rather than a god, just as some folktales represented the otherworld as 'the Land of Women'. Danú may be connected with Bridget, daughter of Kildare and of learning, culture and skills.