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Aislinge meic Conglinne


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[Ir., Vision of Mac Con Glinne]. An Irish anti-clerical satire composed in the 12th century, it uses the aislinge (but not the conventional form of Irish poetry cited above) to parody Irish institutions; it is known in two versions, one shorter than the other. The text, often compared to the work of Villon, attacks both ecclesiastical and literary establishments as well as abundance in a land of want.

The scholar Ainiér Mac Con Glinne, famous for his gifts of satire and eulogy, left his work in Roscommon and travelled to Cork in search of better food. The monastic guest-house he visited in Cork was ill-kept and vermin-ridden. When Mac Con Glinne criticized the reception he received, the abbot, Manchín, ordered that he be beaten, stripped of his clothing, and sentenced to death. On the morning before the execution, Mac Con Glinne related a vision he had during the night. It was filled with images of food: a boat of lard sailing on a sea of new milk, and so on. The abbot then realized that Mac Con Glinne was just the man to drive out the demon of gluttony then inhabiting the local king, Cathal (d. 742). In a droll exorcism, the narrator observed that the demon of gluttony would have consumed all of Ireland had it not been driven out by the wise scholar.

See Kuno Meyer, Aislinge Meic Conglinne (London, 1892);K. Jackson (ed.),, Aislinge Meic Conglinne (Dublin, 1990). Austin Clarke retells a portion of Aislinge Meic Con Glinne in his drama The Son of Learning (1927).

Subjects: Religion.


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