Ireland before the Norman Conquest
Between the coming of St. Patrick and the arrival of the Normans art, literature and religion flourished in a country that had no organised central government.
This was universal until the middle of the seventh century. Sgealaighe—modern Irish for story-teller—arouses thoughts of the unlettered fisherman or peasant telling yarns by the cottage fireside. To the ninth-century author of the Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, or to the later author of the poem on Gressach, the word would have had more aristocratic associations. The story-teller, for instance, in the first-named work is represented as entertaining princes and as having a daughter Deirdre, the Helen of Ireland, a fit consort for a king.