“I left Ferniherst, and went to my ostes house, where I found many guests of dyvers factions, some outlaws of England, some of Scotland, some neighbours thereabout, at cards; some for ale, some for placks and hardhedds [a small coin]; and after I had diligently learned and enquired that there was none of any surname that had me in deadly fude, nor none that knew me, I sat down and plaid for hardhedds among them, where I heard vox populi that the Lord Regent would not, for his owne honour, nor for the honour of his country, deliver the Earls, if he had them bothe, unless it were to have their Quene delivered to him; and if he wold agree to make that change, the borderers would start up in his contrary, and reave both the Quene and the Lords from him, for the like shame was never don in Scotland; and that he durst better eate his own lugs than come agen to seke Farneherst; if he did, he should be fought with ere he came over Sowtray edge. “
The counterpart to this picture was to be found in Spain about the same period; and as the intercourse between the two countries was frequent, and the favorite game in both was “One-and-Thirty,” it is not unlikely that the Irish obtained their knowledge of cards from the Spaniards
This meeting was held in 1576 near the head of the river Reed, on the English side of the Carter fell; and appears to have been attended, like a fair, by people from both sides of the Border.
In the old ballad entitled ‘The Battle of the Reed Swire,’ giving an account of a fray at a Warden meeting, which ended in a general fight, we find cards mentioned
About the same period the game of cards was a common amusement in the south of Ireland. Spenser, in his ‘View of the State of Ireland,’ written about 1590, speaks of an idle and dissolute class of people called “Carrows,” who, he says, “wander up and down to gentlemen’s houses, living only upon cards and dice; the which, though they have but little or nothing of their own, yet will they play for much money; which, if they win, they waste most lightly; and if they lose, they pay as slenderly, but make recompense with one stealth or another; whose only hurt is not that they themselves are idle lossels, but that through gaming they draw others to lewdness and idleness.”