Mmm...the Dark Ages. Well, to begin with people in the know don't call them by that name anymore 'cos it's considered to be offensive...seriously...it implys a time of well, darkness, and so now we should refer to it as the Early Middle Ages.
I looked it up...and it was rather like reading something in Arabic or Russian because it was an enormously complicated period of history where the Goths and the Vandals and the remmants of the great Roman Empire plus all the hangers-on were involved in a state of more or less perpetual warfare right across Europe.
Add the fact there was also a seven year period of severe climate change which meant crops failed to grow and the population dropped drastically...trade virtually ceased with other countries and there was some type of plague or pestilence which contributed to large numbers of people dying...it was not a happy time.
Schooling was simply stopped so even the higher echelcons of society were unable to read or write...virtually no-one went to sea to either trade or explore...there was almost no written history and I should think that the original term of 'the Dark Ages' was extremely appropriate...
By around 900 ce everyone perked up and came to their senses and began the three field system of crop growing which ensured good food supplies...education was re-instated so the various kings and queens were once more taught the basics and could at least sign their names...trade began again with the rest of Europe and adventurers set forth on explorations on land and sea.
The Roman Catholic Church was well established though there were still plenty of heathens ripe for conversion...and St Patrick had already clambered up Crough Patrick and thrown the bell off and banished all the snakes...or so he thought at the time...
History began to be written down again by the scholars and monks...their original manuscripts which have avoided being destroyed, are available to the learned scholars of today to decipher,and for a short time everyone was happy...more or less.
It couldn't last of course...invaders do nothing better than invade and squabbles over who owned that parcel of land ensured there were endless battles...England and Scotland fought each other and France and England fought each other and torture was honed to produce a confession from the hardiest soul and beheadings and drawing and quarterings and being burned alive at the stake was an occupational hazard for most of the population...
I think the Dark Ages were precisely that...a period of our history which was a dark time for the inhabitants of Europe. It's impossible to know what those years were like for the rest of the world because records are sketchy at best though probably not so much for China and Japan who have a longer history of the written word.
Ireland was still teetering on the edge of the Dark Ages in the 1600's with her peasant classes living in tiny turf cabins and substisting on basic foodstuffs...during the actual times of the Dark Ages, the Irish were still enraptured by tales of the Tuatha da Danaan I expect and vainly resisting conversion from their Pagan beliefs...ruled by minor kings, the average Irishman was little more than a slave.
I'll continue to add the various ancestors who were alive at the time of the dark period of history because they are there to be recorded...and their individual stories may well have grown with the telling but the gist is probably reasonably accurate...I like their convoluted names and their complicated lineage...I am entralled by their nicknames and puzzle over how they came by them. I like the women who birthed fifteen known children and married three times and were banished to a nunnery where they schemed and plotted and became minor Saints in the era of Saints...I like seeing who they are in relation to me...though when you are remembering those people it becomes convoluted indeed...the second grandmother of the third cousin....and it goes on for at least a decent sized paragraph before it finally reaches me.
But, in general, the Dark Ages or the Early Middle Ages would need much study to understand them properly and as much also involves the fall of Rome, and I'm totally disinterested in the Romans, then it probably won't be a time I'll be spending time on...