‘Beyond The Pale’ , but What is the History


Ruins of Three Castle Head, County Cork, Ireland
Ruins of Three Castle Head, County Cork, Ireland

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- The Pale

England’s on-again-off-again conquest of Ireland, starting in the 12th Century, entered an intense and bloody phase in the 16th, under the Tudors.

Henry VIII’s notorious split with the Roman Church, officially starting in 1534, injected an evangelistic religious element into Britain’s mostly unwelcome presence in staunchly Catholic Ireland.

The next two-hundred years were to be the bloodiest in Irish history!

“Pale” translates loosely to “sharp, pointed stick” It is the base for the verb “to empale .” Rows of pales were commonly used to bolster fortress parameters. Hence, the term quickly became associated with defensive military positions.

“The Pale,” as it became known, was from the beginning, the established “English District” of Ireland, much like the “Pale of Calais” on the coast of France.

Centered around Dublin on the island’s east coast, The Pale was protected by garrisons of British troops, and most towns therein have French or British names.

“The Pale,” then, was this heavily-defended area where British “visitors” in Ireland, overstaying their welcome, enjoyed at least some security.

When one ventured out, past the parameter, he was said to be “beyond the pale,” thus in “Indian Country!”

In modern parlance, the phrase is often used to describe risk-taking and “thinking outside the box,” but its original meaning was quite specific, and very serious!

Many such English words and phrases in common usage today have similar historic origins.

Unhappily, we remember the words, but forget the history!


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

  • 7 thoughts on “‘Beyond The Pale’ , but What is the History

    1. John is only trying to “enlighten” some of you…..or to paraphrase and old saying….”there is NONE so BLIND as those who will not see..”…….if ALL of us would learn more about history then maybe we would not screw up as much…

      1. @BOB …To teach history again you are going to have to clean the communist and socialist out of the education system ! Antifa for one is trying to erase what history was.

      1. IMPALE is the more common isage, however:
        Empale | Define Empale at Dictionary.com
        “Well, it wasn’t right for her to say it,” said Anne, promptly deciding upon which horn of this dilemma to empale herself.
        [Search domain http://www.dictionary.com] dictionary.com/browse/empale

    2. Beyond the pale , is this a novel about Ireland or is the article just a explanation of the term ? I looked on amazon and there are numerous books with the title but none about Ireland .

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