March 2: History and Topography pt. 2

Gerald of Wales describes a “big lake, that had a marvellous origin” on page 64. Based off of his description of the origin of this lake, what do you think is Gerald’s opinion of the people of Ireland? Is there a greater meaning behind the abundant fish that now inhabit this lake? What biblical imagery does this passage evoke or parallel?

2 thoughts on “March 2: History and Topography pt. 2

  1. I think his description of the lake links to his own opinion of the people of Ireland. I can’t think of any biblical imagery that it invokes, other than, strangely enough, the lake of fire in hell, but I suppose you could link it to Eden and the ideas of the abundance and paradise there. In a sense I think Gerald is describing the Irish people as having been destined to take this spot in the world; they are there because they are supposed to be there. They are destined by God to posess this land, which I think is a commentary on the way that the Irish have been colonized by the British over and over again, and have frequently been forced off of their land.

  2. Although I doubt Gerald has any particular love for the people of Ireland, I don’t know if this story is the best example of his ill opinion. True he says the people of the town engaged in bestiality and were punished because of this, but I read this section as him relaying an old tale. I don’t think he himself made up the story about the “unworthy ” and “filthy” people, and even so this town has apparently been eradicated so it has no bearing on the whole of Ireland. This passage seems to evoke a “Noah’s arc” type scenario, which makes me wonder if Gerald has altered it at all, since he seems inclined to add a more Christian spin to existing folk tales.

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