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?

History: atozchallenge

When I was fourteen I was faced with a choice. I had to decide which 8 subjects I was going to study over the next two years leading to the GCE ‘O’ level examination. For those who are not familiar with the school leaving examinations in Britain in the 1950s, the initials stand for General Certificate of Education, Ordinary level. This exam was taken by a relatively small proportion of 16 year-olds. An even smaller proportion continued for a further two years and took ‘A’ (for advanced) level GCEs in 2 or 3 subjects leading either to university or a … Continue reading History: atozchallenge

Warrior Women of Ireland

Lot’s of heroic Irish women here. When I was researching for Strongbow’s Wife I could find very little information. As Ali says below, so much was written up or re-written to fit the victor’s and the church’s view of events. I know some believe that, after Strongbow’s death, Aiofe became a warrior woman, fighting his  cause. I prefer to think that, as an Irish woman, she deplored what her father had unleashed on Ireland and chose, instead, to look for ways to achieve a peaceful outcome. Maybe that’s just the pacifist in me. What do you think? Continue reading Warrior Women of Ireland

The Search for Peace: Strongbow’s Wife extract

Following Strongbow’s death, Aoife was given the dowerage of Striguil Castle and estate. Her children were in the custody of King Henry at the Tower of London. On arrival at Striguil she would have discovered a great deal of hostility from native Welsh towards her husband’s fellow Normans. The immediate cause of Welsh anger was the massacre that took place at Abergavenny Castle the previous Christmas. In my fictional version she is horrified by accounts of the event and decides to travel to Hereford in order to remonstrate with the wife and mother-in-law of the man responsible. En-route she seeks … Continue reading The Search for Peace: Strongbow’s Wife extract

Which Cover Grabs You?

Like Transgression, Strongbow’s Wife has two covers. The paper back version has a cover using a CreateSpace template. The e-book has a cover I created using an image from the Daniel Maclise painting of The Marriage of Strongbow and Eva. At the time that seemed to be appropriate for the subject. It is, however, very busy. For a while now I’ve been wanting to redesign it using an image of a woman in medieval costume. I kept searching the internet to find a suitable photograph but none quite seemed to fit the bill. Too many were obviously fantasy costumes. And … Continue reading Which Cover Grabs You?

To Wed or Not to Wed

29th August: the marriage of Aiofe and Strongbow. In this edited extract from Strongbow’s Wife Aiofe contemplates the horrors perpetrated in Waterford in the preceding days. I thought that a night’s sleep would help prepare me for what the next day would bring. How foolish I was! It was impossible to sleep. Three summers had passed since I last saw my husband-to-be. Whenever I recalled those days spent at Striguil it was the hunting parties that crowded my mind; the days spent with De Clare’s sister Basilia, the thrill of sending a great bird into the sky and the joy … Continue reading To Wed or Not to Wed

The Sacking of Waterford

In the last week of August, 1170, events took place in Waterford which would have a profound effect on the future of Britain and Ireland. Three years earlier a man called Dermot MacMurrow had made an agreement with one Richard De Clare. De Clare was to raise a force to invade Ireland and help MacMurrow to restore his position as one of the most important men in the island. In return MacMurrow would give his daughter Aiofe to De Clare in marriage. A small force had arrived in 1168 under the command of De Clare’s uncle. This force had limited … Continue reading The Sacking of Waterford