A Charismatic Leader Picks his Team

Whilst Raymond waited in his camp on a small peninsula on the border between Wexford and Waterford, what was keeping Strongbow? One can only imagine the difficulty of recruiting a private army at a time when every man of substance who wished to advance his career was pursuing opportunities to impress and, eventually, serve his king. Strongbow was not the only noble who had supported the wrong side during the Anarchy. There were others who needed to find a way of regaining the position they had lost with the upon coronation of Henry II. Meanwhile, Strongbow’s future son-in-law was making … Continue reading A Charismatic Leader Picks his Team

Men With Grievances.

By sending the Irish party there – it was, after all, on their route back to Ireland – he could kill two birds with one stone. There were men there who would welcome a foreign expedition. They could report back on the likelihood of such a venture achieving success. Continue reading Men With Grievances.

Sharing Book Reviews

My thanks to Sally Cronin for featuring Strongbow’s Wife on her blog, along with an excellent review. For anyone that’s interested, there are two ways in which the Strongbow story connects with Archbishop Becket. Both he and Henry II were close friends with the Bristol merchant Aoife’s father first turned to for help in regaining his kingdom. And, once Beckett had been murdered in Canterbury Henry felt the need to atone. His mission to Ireland, suggested by the Pope some years earlier probably seemed like a good way of doing so.   via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update … Continue reading Sharing Book Reviews

Another Connection Between Ireland and the Marcher Lords

Another entry in the Historical Ragbag’s Advent Calendar of Medieval Ruins involving Strongbow and his cohorts. I remember spending a few delightful days in Dunbrody, at a country house hotel run by one of Ireland’s ‘celebrity’ chefs. There’s a small brewery there, too, and I occasionally drink a glass of the excellent pale ale produced there. Not that any of that has anything to do with medieval history or Strongbow! Enjoy the article. The more I read about Irish history the more I understand the fraught relationship between the neighbouring islands. I do think it’s important, for English people especially, … Continue reading Another Connection Between Ireland and the Marcher Lords

More Strongbow Connections

The Historical Ragbag blog’s Advent Calendar of Medieval Religious Institutions today features another place with great significance in the history of Ireland and Strongbow’s presence there. His wife’s uncle, (St.) Laurence O’Toole, was Abbot at Glendalough, installed there by her father, before becoming Archbishop of Dublin. I first visited Glendalough when working on a month long assignment in Dublin in the spring of 1970. I’ve been there several times since coming to live in Ireland and it is without doubt one of the most beautiful and magical places you could ever visit. via Advent Calendar of Medieval Religious Institutions: December … Continue reading More Strongbow Connections

The Legacy of Strongbow’s Son-in-Law

Today’s entry in the Historical Ragbag’s Advent calendar is another from County Wexford. The storm referred to in the article also led to the construction of a light house on Hook Head. Legend has it that a monk maintained bonfires there to warn mariners of the hazardous rocks below. Marshal funded the construction of a lighthouse, a round tower with 2 metre thick walls that contain a spiral staircase leading to the light source at the top. If you are ever in Ireland it is well worth a visit. via Advent Calendar of Medieval Religious Institutions: December 11th: Tintern Parva Continue reading The Legacy of Strongbow’s Son-in-Law

The Birth Place of Strongbow’s Wife

This series of Advent posts about medieval buildings is proving very interesting with lots of places worth visiting, some of which I have visited myself at various times. Today’s features the Abbey founded by Strongbow’s father-in-law. The tab ‘Hereford and Ireland History’ on the menu above will take you to lots of background material to the story, and under ‘Publications’ you will find a link to my book ‘Strongbow’s Wife’ which tells what happened in the years following his arrival. via Advent Calendar of medieval Religious institutions: December 10th: St Mary’s Abbey Ferns. Continue reading The Birth Place of Strongbow’s Wife

The Exercise of Power

Ireland’s role in establishing the British Parliament’s supremacy over the executive. It was the English civil war, a brutal affair that lasted, on and off, for six years and pitched brother against brother and father against son, that established the supremacy of parliament. And it began with the trial of a man who had the temerity to threaten to raise a mostly Catholic army of Irish men to assist King Charles in his campaign against Scottish protestants. And Ireland was to suffer some of the worst horrors perpetrated during the course of the war. Thomas Wentworth had been appointed as … Continue reading The Exercise of Power

Home – what does it mean to you?

This post was suggested by The Writing Reader’s prompt #1753, the first line of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Last night I dreamed I was back in Urishay, a small community of farms and cottages in the hills above the Golden Valley, close to the Black Mountains that mark the border between England and Wales. I was a babe in arms when I first arrived there with my mother and grandmother. It was to be my home for the next 14 years. Our cottage had thick walls of local stone. A stream ran in a deep ravine with two waterfalls behind … Continue reading Home – what does it mean to you?