Thank you, Regan, for inviting me to be a guest on your wonderful blog! I’m very honored to be here.
My area of expertise is Medieval England and Wales, between about 1066 A.D. until the reign of Henry Tudor. I find those 300-odd years so very fascinating, and I’ll tell you why: it was the period in man’s history when he was just coming out of the Dark Ages and trying to civilize himself with structured society and progressive thinking. There was much trial and error, but there were also successes. The Magna Carta is one. And there are such great historical tales there, too. One of my favorites is the story of Prince Edward (soon to be Edward I) and his escape from Simon de Montfort. It’s a jailbreak worthy of a Hollywood movie. But enough about my beloved Medieval England. Let’s move on to Ireland.
|Ireland 1323 A.D., Black Sword Map|
So what was the difference between the Irish and the Scots or the English in battle? The Irish were kind of like the Welsh – they had a love of spears rather than broadswords, and they fought very lightly – in other words, without the bulky armor that the English wore. They enjoyed hit and run tactics. Where the Scots might wear tartan, the Irish wore a traditional garment called a leinte. It’s basically a long tunic. They moved swiftly and without massive numbers like the English did, and they didn’t employ things like siege engines during a battle. That’s a purely Norman device. Irish warfare at this time makes for some fascinating reading.
|Black Castle ruins|
That’s why I chose to center my latest novel, BLACK SWORD, around this period in time. Devlin de Bermingham, my hero, is a true Irish rebel – intelligent, cunning, and desperate to break free from English rule. I think there’s a misconception that Medieval Irish rebels were unorganized and barbaric. Neither was true; they simply had a different way of fighting – more like guerilla warfare than organized battles. It’s also worth noting that the Norman families that had taken pieces of Ireland around the time of the Conquest of 1066 A.D. were very much entrenched in Ireland at this time, yet the Irish natives hated them as if they had only just come to Ireland and stolen their lands. You had generations of English living on the same lands and in the same houses for two hundred years, yet they weren’t considered Irish. They were hated as Normans.
Devlin de Bermingham carried the surname of a Norman ancestor yet through his mother he was descended from Irish kings. Had that not been the case, he would have been just as hated in the land of his birth as the other Norman’s were.
I found Medieval Ireland to be wild and fascinating. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a SON OF BLACK SWORD someday to see how Devlin’s descendants are making out. I believe Medieval Ireland is another big subgenre with excitement and romance just waiting to be tapped!
Regan here...Thanks for being on my blog, Kathryn. And for all those of you who want to stay in touch with Kathryn, here's how:
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