Saturday, 31 January 2015

Invaders of Ireland

 I suppose that most invaders of Ireland have arrived by sea. They also mostly seemed to have landed in and around Dublin before marauding around. Pillaging, converting or integrating as they saw fit.
 However the island's most recent arrival came yesterday by air. Packaged safely and snugly in fine words, with all his paperwork in order and a good book to guarantee his warm welcome.
 Which is uncannily similar to John de Courcy's conquest of Ulster in the months following his arrival in 1177. He quelled opposition and set about winning minds- he restored the holy Book of Armagh and used his research well:

Knowing the superstitious nature of the Irish, De Courcy spread abroad a legend to the effect that a prophecy of Merlin was fulfilled in his advent. The prediction was supposed to be to the effect that Ulster would be conquered by a white knight mounted on a white charger, and having on his shield graven figures of birds. He took care in dress and accoutrements to pose as the white knight, and thus gained credence for the tale, which, in addition to a prophecy of St. Columba that a needy and broken man, a stranger from a far country, should come to Down with a small following and possess himself of-the city, had its weight in a credulous age, and no doubt in some measure furthered his claim to be heavensent. As the news of his exploits spread he was reinforced from Dublin by large numbers of adventurers sick of FitzAudelin's pacific rule.

 True to his Norman roots de Courcy built castles everywhere he rode, and we took Badger to two of them today. The first is impressively named Clough Castle, a stunning example of the Norman motte and bailey, with beautifully climbable remains of the keep. It sits right on the main road down the east coast to the Kingdom of Mourne.
 Then we found Dundrum Castle. This has got to be one of Northern Ireland's best kept secrets. You would never know it was it was there, but it too is a fabulous example of Norman conquest. Badger nodded in approval at the sturdy keep from his vantage point high over Murlough Bay. From there he could see his snowy destination...
And so here is Badger de Mourne. He seemed ironically happy to carry some of Toad's grandeur into our mountain kingdom- I hope he isn't regretting leaving his friends behind. I must reassure him that Ratty and Mole will keep Toad out of mischief while he travels the world at his own pace. He is definitely happiest in a burrow, but was impressed at Ott Mountain and its sledging possiblities for energetic boys. And not a weasel in sight!

Badger will be here for a few weeks, and then we shall send him on- perhaps on Valentine's Day to another host. This is the first stop on a new Willows' World Tour- let me know if you'd like to show him your Kingdom before he wends his hygge way back to Pom Pom xx

9 comments:

Jane and Chris said...

I'm afraid that Badger may get frostbite..his rather natty attire seems unsuitable for Shakletonesque adventures.
Jane x

Lisa Richards said...

Yay! Badger's adventures have begun! Have fun hosting him. I look forward to seeing him when he returns to this side of the pond! :)

Kezzie said...

Oh how fine and noble he looks!!! Pray send him hither at some point please!!!
x

M.K. said...

Ahhh - Badger on the Road! Badger de Mourne! Love it :) I'm so glad he arrived safely at your welcoming home, and was able to participate in your adventure in the snow. That castle looks amazing. Remember, we have NO such things in the U.S. Nary a castle in sight. I"m sure he enjoyed snuggling down in the snow -- must remind him of his Wild Wood. Can't wait till he makes he way over here, but I'm so glad he gets good visiting there FIRST.

Maggie said...

Glad to see that Badger arrives safely across the pond, he looks quite at home in that Norman outpost.

Amy at love made my home said...

Just popped over from Pom Pom's. Lovely to see Badger enjoying himself! xx

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

Ah, there he is enjoying the snow. Looks like he is having a fantastic time x

Thistle Cove Farm said...

When I saw the name de Courcy, I thought of Philip de Courcy, one of my favorite radio preachers. He's from Belfast, someplace I recognized when he said it but now I no longer remember. I think I like listening to him as much for the accent as for the Word.
It looks like a wonderful time y'all had. So you've snow? It's pouring here, Saturday, Valentine's Day, and we're to get some number of inches. The outside 4 legged beasts are standing at the gate, nickering to me in the vain attempt to explain they're hungry. They can't be but they are piggy horses and explains a good many of their problems.
Should there be room, perhaps I could be the last on Badger's stop before Pom Pom...? Or, even better, I'll just take him 'round to the others between now and then -lol-.

gretchenjoanna said...

I nearly missed Badger de Mourne, I am so late browsing around my favorite haunts. He is obviously getting the Grand Tour of your favorite places and I'm a little jealous. I wonder where he is now....