I started reading this book over the Christmas holidays and thus had no time to begin the blog. Then I continued to read it during my trip down and back to Vero Beach, FL for New Year's Eve and again had not time to write anything on the blog. And this is definitely a book that one wants to write a LOT! I don't know if I can go back and capture all that has happened thus far. Too many characters.....too many events....However, I can say that I did not turn this book off from being tired of it in the entire trip.
The first section of the book is about Fergus and his daughter Deidre who live at Dubh Linn. The time period is AD 430. Deidre falls in love with Conall. Conall is the perfect prince. Their son is Morna. Morna is raised in the home of Fergus because of his father's sacrifice. I totally enjoyed the first part of the book with its twists and turns. This section of the book ends with St Patrick converting the family from being Pagan to Christianity. He then takes Morna with him which is against the hopes of Larine (the former Druid). St. Patrick's words are: "I returned to this island to bring the Gospel's joyful message to the heathen, Larine. Not to make martyrs......Morna is a chief. The ford is a crossroads. Who can tell what Dubh Linn may be worth?" Deidre is very happy that St Patrick has found a way to keep from sending her son to Tara for the new High King's fees ....his coronation. Deidre worried about the safety of sending her son to the feis.
The next section takes place in 981. The main characters are Harold who is Norwegian and begins with his father, Olaf, taking him to visit Dyflin. Also Osgar and his cousin Caoilinn who are both descendants of Fergus. Morann Mac Goibnenn (MacGowan) is the jeweler who is friend to Harold.
.....I did very little writing in the middle of the book as I was reading during the holidays and then on the trip to FLA and back. But something came up in the book today and I wanted to add it here:
Tom Tidy overhears a message between a young girl with green eyes and a man while praying in the church that seems to be about the O'Byrnes coming .....They are in the church at Dalkey....but the message is that the O'Byrnes will come to Carrickmines. So here is information about both of those places:
Wikipedia says that Dalkey is:
Dalkey (Irish: Deilginis, meaning "thorn island") is a suburb of Dublin and seaside resort just south of Dublin City, Ireland. It was founded as a Viking settlement and became an important port during the Middle Ages. According to John Clyn, it was one of the ports through which the plague entered Ireland in the mid-14th century. In modern times, Dalkey has become a thriving seaside suburb and a minor tourist attraction. It has been home to many writers and celebrities including Maeve Binchy, Hugh Leonard, Bono and Van Morrison.
......too much happened without my writing.....if I plan a trip to Dublin, I will reread
However in Sept 2014 I turned the book back on. The time period in the Dublin area is 1592. And a huge reception/party is being held to celebrate the founding of what is now Trinity College/University of Dublin. The main characters in the book in this time period are Joan Butler who married Doyle. And Margaret who is a distant kin of Joan's husband. Their is a huge misunderstanding because of an ancient feud over inheritance. Margaret's father has told her that the husband's family "stole" his inheritance and thus they are poor while the other family is rich. This is an English family that lives within the pale. The main person founding the college and giving the party is a Fitzgerald. The book refers to him as Kildare. The story that Joan's husband tells to her is very interesting.
Joan's one wish at the party is to meet "Kildare". It happens early in the event. He is dressed in a style that Joan has NEVER seen before. His dress is influenced by the court of Henry VIII. The information leading up to their meeting is that Kildare's father has sent him to the English court numerous times, He has become a friend to the English kings. As such he is left to rule Ireland almost as the High Kings of olden times have done. He collects taxes but does not send them on to England ......thus becoming very rich....the reason that he can found this new college, Joan's husband tells the story that during the reign of Henry VIII's father, he had two advisors who served him well. When the king died, the coffers of the crown were richer than they had ever been, But Parliament believed that reform needed to happen and wanted to impeach the two advisors, The men were close to the new king, Henry Viii.....like uncles to him, He had both men executed because it suited his purposes, Joan's husband tells the story to illustrate the fact that being a friend to the king is very dangerous.
I found this map of Dublin 1610 in many places:
Below is a modern map of Trinity College. Trinity College is now located inside Dublin's city limits. This map helps put a perspective on the more ancient maps.
I found an 1840 map of Trinity College at:
I found the following post card at:
I viewed other maps of early Dublin at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/Medieval-Dublin/2801385
There is a particularly nice enhanced map of Dublin in 1500 which is well worth taking the time to look at. The project is by Dara Smith.
And the following map at Wikipedia: