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Name for the Goídels, allegedly the third invaders of early Ireland, in their own language; the Féni followed the Eacute;rainn and the Lagin. Unlike their predecessors, the Féni are said to have migrated directly to Ireland from the Continent, not by way of Britain. In early Irish usage, the term Féni implies the old, aboriginal, purest population, i.e. free land-tillers, as opposed to servants or slaves; honorifically, Féni implies ‘true’ Irish. In the Brehon Laws of early Ireland, the term féne-chas denoted those laws applying to landed freeholders. Féni is unrelated to the term fianna, although the neologism Fenian was derived from a confusion between the two terms.

Subjects: Religion.

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