Monasteries were originally strict retreats from the world, but became wealthy and influential, bearing a rich literary and artistic culture.As time passed the monasteries grew into little cities with a variety of inhabitants. Several monasteries owned huge tracts of land and were ruled by worldly and wealthy abbots.centuries achieved great scholarship, and many poets and lawyers were also clerics. The problem of inherited non-Christian customs, ‘fenechas’, was resolved by regarding it as the Old Testament of their race, cleansed by St Patrick.There was free and base clientship – free clients were often nobles, and took a share in their lord’s plunder.Base clientship was like a loan, from which the lord came out best. The family, not the individual, was the legal unit – extended family, not conjugal family, which meant the male-line descendants of a great-grandfather.With nobles having many children, these slipped socially downwards and displaced the commoners. Land was farmed in strips; milk and dairy was important.The upper classes ate a lot of meat, which formed a normal part of clients’ payments. The lowest grade were on their way out in the 700s.He drove out traditional pagan rites, leading to a fusion of Gaelic culture with Christianity.Irish Christianity ‘shone like a beacon in Europe century, influenced by the British church.
Churches were also attacked for their supplies during famines. A general reorganisation took place, giving the church its current diocesan organisation. Foreign orders, especially the Cistercians, took over the monasteries. The church scholars moved out and clerical lawyers became secularised. Kings were granting away large territories and carving them up between their supporters. They granted land in return for homage and military service.
New laws were influenced by the Biblical Old Testament.
The church’s power structure was complex, with individual churches being highly independent. The relationship between church and people was a contract with mutual obligations.
Celtic culture involved druids, bardic praise-poetry and clientship.
The Irish language was heavily influenced by pre-Celtic tongues.