This is my land
“Using the ancient language the Druid thanks the dogs but tells them that he must take the child, he promises to always watch over her. The wolfounds turn and bound off into the distance leaving the druid holding the newborn baby. As he watches them disappear into the distance…. the Maeve chapter has begun.’’
Ancient scribe Robert Webster
Welcome to my world.
It’s 2000 years since I roamed Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Mayo and Galway keeping my subjects in check, admiring the scenery from the back of my trusty white steed Laochra and identifying opportunities to grow my kingdom. It was a simpler time. A time before invaders and attempted invaders from north, south, east and west landed on my shores. The forests were plentiful, the labourers were many (and handsome) life was generally good, once I stamped out any threats to my reign. The otherworld was very helpful in that respect. It did take me time to find my rhythm as queen mind you. Not too long though.
You probably wouldn’t rate our palatial dwellings too highly, based on today’s standards, but bear in mind there is not much left of them apart from some structures.
It was several hundred years after my passing from the known world, before some of my story was even written down by sceptical monks. Or so people thought. 🤔
Many of my stories and learnings were recorded in my lifetime, but I chose to keep them safe. These will emerge at an appropriate time.
Those outside my court chose to pass the tales of my exploits on in folklore and the oral tradition. Many tales, adventures and victories were lost before the monks in the four provinces began to illustrate Ireland’s history.
I had to laugh at the way a 12th-century monk who recorded one of my escapades into the famed Book of Leinster. One of the oldest surviving written accounts of one of my (many) escapades that brought me to wider attention, when I was denied the impressive bull of Ulster (only temporarily mind you😉) His postscript was less than respectful. Typical bloke of course🙄
“But I, who have written down this story, or rather this fable, give no credence to the story, or fable. For some things in it are demonic deceptions, and others poetic figments; some are possible, and others not; while still others are for the entertainment of idiots.”
Unknown scribe involved in the production of the Book of Leinster.(who remembers him?)
I was surprised that news of my greatness made it across the Atlantic to the famous White House, although I suppose I shouldn’t have been THAT surprised. Given my greatness and the fact that millions had to flee our lands due to the scourge of the famine. Don’t even get me started on that one.
‘‘Meave, tall and beautiful, with her white face, terrible in her battle chariot when she drove at full speed into the press of fighting men. Her virtues were those of a warlike barbarian king.”
26th President of the United States
It may have been nearly 2 millenia after my reign, but then US President Theodore Roosevelt got wind of my exploits and commissioned this, the first ever colour portrait of me around the turn of the 20th century. Flattering indeed. But is a woman ever truly happy with a depiction of her?
In the case of Joseph Christian Leyendecker, a German-American illustrator, considered to be one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century, one would have to say reasonably so.😉
The then sitting US President writing in a 1907 magazine article entitled, “The Ancient Irish Sagas,” published in “The Century” magazine in New York, admired stories of our land for their “exaltation of the glorious courage of men and of the charm and devotion of women.”
Couldn’t have seen the recent occupant of that office raving so positively about Ireland’s past. Raving maybe😃.
Given President Roosevelt’s celebration of Ireland it seems only fitting that he should be celebrated appropriately.
Even if it has taken nearly a century to do so! Not to sound boastful or anything but I’m sure I will make an appearance in the planned new library celebrating his life in North Dakota.
Sad that there is no obvious evidence of my palatial home at Cruachan today. The ancient capital of Connacht and my seat of power. Sadly the land has covered up many of the secrets of the past. They too will be uncovered.
Even in my own stomping ground of Cruachan in Roscommon which was the ancient capital of Connacht and my seat of power and the the land has covered up the secrets of the past.
The ancient royal site of Connacht.
The greatest source of my power aside from my good looks, wit and general charm was not drawn from this world but one you may visit in the next life (if you’re good😉)
To ward off mere mortals the entrance to this world was called Ireland’s Gates of Hell. Or the Cave of the Cats. Today it doesnt look like much and it’s intended to be like that. Well you wouldn’t want just anyone calling in unannounced would you?
Th entrance to this otherworld was conveniently located near my palace. In the event of an emergency in this world or the next.
At the height of my power, Ireland was a different place and not for the obvious reasons like being unciviliised no running water, electricity or broadband. So many delightful creatures walked our land which do so no more.
They used to call me catwoman way before the furry creatures were domesticated here. That was because of my fondness for felines. Or rather one in particular. Having once freely roamed Irelands mountains and woods, sadly, wolves, bears and lynxs have all disappeared from Ireland’s shores. Driven to extinction by hunters and ‘progress’.
The Irish wolfhound for centuries has been the native dog of the island and with good reason. I was fortunate to have to watch over me my entire life. Owners of Irish wolfhounds will tell you thats an impossibility because of their lifespan which is generally short in dog years.
Ten years if you are lucky because of their large frame. That is if they are of this world. Thankfully my guardians had a divine connection. Wasn’t I the lucky girl that this trio wandered out from the cave and took me under their wing.
Realt (which is the Irish for star) and Capall (the Irish for horse because he was the size of a horse) no-one could have a better pair by your side. Unquestioned loyalty. No matter what. You’d go a long way to find that in a human.
And Sibby. To me as cute a cat as anyone could have. and he was. But if anyone even looked at me sideways, Sibby would pounce to offer a stern reminder of the need to show regal respect.
And with the three of them together in my corner? A girl could’t ask for a better security detail. Who was it that said four legs good two legs bad? Hard to argue with it!
Has anyone truly heard the full story of my life? The extent of my highs and lows? No. But that may be about to change. I know that I am still talked about today. After all I chose to have my human remains interred atop Knocknarea in Sligo so I could face the Ulster crowd for eternity. And they take some watching I can tell you. But something has awakened me. I can’t say what right now But it feels right. My time is now.
From the west of Ireland but always on the lookout to broaden my horizons do give a follow😉.