The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife: A Union Bathed in Blood.

De Clare took my hand as he spoke and led me to an empty hut that, I supposed, had been especially prepared for us. He stepped forward and took both hands in his, lowering his head to kiss each in turn. Continue reading The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife: A Union Bathed in Blood.

His Stag Do was a Massacre: 24th August 1170 the Sacking of Waterford.

“We can ill afford to have such men as enemies,” he said in a final effort at persuasion.
I could see the logic of Father’s assertion but it only added to the burden of responsibility that now lay upon my shoulders.” Continue reading His Stag Do was a Massacre: 24th August 1170 the Sacking of Waterford.

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

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 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