Eventually, Ireland became the perfect place for the Northmen to set up winter camps when excursions were put on hold until the warmer seasons. Over time, these temporary encampments developed into settlements and even flourishing ports. The Northmen started to trade, intermingle, and adapt to the customs and culture of the Gaels, but there were still those Irish who did not like the “foreigners” who swept into their country like a vicious storm. Many of the Irish, noble and ignoble alike, had come into brutal contact with these pagan people, and had lost their loved ones to raids, skirmishes, or even the slave trade. The thought of actually allowing these Northern people to integrate into their own country—which had so far remained impervious to outside influences—left more than a bad taste in their mouths.
The High King of Ireland, Niall Glundubh, had quite possibly the worst grudge of anyone. He had demonstrated great efforts to unite the constant warring Irish clans into one huge force in order to rid their lands of the Northmen, starting with those who controlled Baile Átha Cliath (Dublin). But there were some lesser kings who were left questioning the probability of this victory—if not the morality of it—given that some had already formed alliances with the Northmen and even married their daughters. Joining this campaign would have been a blatant betrayal of those very collaborations. Veritably, there were grown sons born of Irish and Norwegian parents, thus further complicating matters. What seemed to be a clear-cut battle between native and foreigner, had now evolved into an obscure civil war.
The research for this book was a bit more difficult for me because for so long, my research had remained on the Norse who’d come into Ireland. Now I had to forget what I knew about the Vikings (largely a Germanic tribe) and concentrate on a completely different race and creed of people from a Celtic nature.
I found my “human” resources years ago on an Irish Gaelic translation site and have stayed in contact with them to this day. Several live in Ireland presently, which really helped when I needed assistance on the general lay of the land since I’ve yet to visit it. When I wanted to add a few endearments or greetings in Irish Gaelic to the story, I relied on a select few who knew the difficult language well and the challenges of translating properly. Without all of their help, I couldn’t have described and represented Ireland in such a way that would have done it justice.