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DUBLIN PREVIOUS TO THE ELEVENTH CENTURY.
THE earliest authentic notice of Dublin occurs in the geography of Ptolemy, who flourished in the second century of our era.
His description of the world as then known begins with Hibernia, an honor which the country received from him because of its being the most western in Europe. His map of Ireland is much more correct in its outline than the one he has furnished of Great Britain : in the latter, the portion now called Scotland is made to bend off eastward, nearly at a right angle from the southern portion. He marks “ Eblana” just where Dublin at present stands, and he describes it as “ móds," a city. The people inhabiting the range northward as far as the river Boyne, including part of Meath, he calls “Eblani, probably as belonging or subject to “ Eblana,” though some conjecture that the place took its name from the people, not the people theirs from the place.
That the words 6 Dublin” and “ Eblana" were
at first one, is obvious. Indeed, it has been more than supposed that a letter has been lost from the original, and that Ptolemy wrote “Deblana.” “Dublin” is composed of two Irish words,“Dubh,” black, and “Linn," water—the river which here empties itself into the sea being of a dark color, from its fli wing over a bog.
The city was otherwise called “ Ath-Cliath,” the “Hurdle-Ford,” and “ Bally Ath-Cliath,” the “ Town of the Hurdle-Ford.” Both names indicate that a passage was here made or marked by “hurdles” across the stream. Tradition reports that it was constructed for more safely con-. veying sheep from one side to the other; but whether it had at all the form of a “suspensionbridge” the account does not explain. A fourth name given to the city in olden time,
6 Droom-Choll-Coil,” the “ Brow of a HazelWood,” from its occupying the upper front of a rise of ground, other parts of which were covered with a wood of the kind mentioned.
Dublin must have been in Ptolemy's day, by report at least, a place of some size and importance, or he would not have styled it a city.” We should, however, greatly mistake if we conceived it to have been then an aggregation of houses, streets, and public buildings, such as the word suggests to us now.
" The ancient Irish were at no trouble in providing for themselves habitations of solid and lasting materials. Their houses were built of twigs and hurdles, and covered with sedge or straw.” Buildings of stone and mortar are believed to have been un.