return to Childhood and Fosterage

Fer Midboth
Following the conclusion of their fosterage, most young men were forced with the dilemma of which way to go with their life. For many, they would come out of their fosterage arrangement with no money or belongings. A popular option was to become a Fer Midboth, or “man of the middle huts.” These young men would spend their time in little huts around the outside of the villages. Each would have just what they needed to get by until, hopefully, they could inherit. For the most part, this strategy would have been used by those who could see a good chance for them to inherit from their father soon. For those that could see the writing on the wall, the options were less appealing and more work. One option for these Fer Midboth would be to enter into a Flaíthcéile relationship. From within this agreement, a céile had the ability to make very little, but be well taken over by their flaíth. A third option would have been to marry into a wife of greater contribution. As difficult strategy, this was hardly used as many wanted to protect their image, something marrying up would hurt. Also, a girl would never enter this stage. They would go strait from 14 to adulthood. [1]

The Fían
Following the period of fosterage many young men were faced with one issue in particular. The age at which a man could take on full societal rank was twenty, however, the age at which a man ended his fosterage was seventeen. The issue was a matter of filling this age gap with a period that would prove useful to further one’s development. The answer for many sons of chieftains, nobles and kings was to join a Fían. The fían was a band of young warriors that patrolled the borderlands between túaths, usually comprised of men between the ages of seventeen and twenty-three, with a few older members. Membership in a fían would allow these young men to practice skills such as hunting and skirmishing that would become useful in later life[2] .

For more information on the Fían visit the wikipage by clicking here
  1. ^ Handy, Amber. "Early Irish Society" (Lecture, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN) September 7th, 2010
  2. ^ Handy, Amber. "Warrior Life" (Lecture, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN) September 30th, 2010