|Statue of Molly Malone|
With the coronavirus it's hard to remember that we have things to celebrate but we do. For March we're honoring Women in History and the History of Ireland because March is National Women's History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month.
My nonfiction Irish History book, Forged in Bronze and Iron: The High Kings of Ireland covers Irish-American Heritage as well as National Women's History with famous Irish women of history including Macha Mong Ruad —the only woman listed as a High King of Ireland.
There is a nice twist with my nonfiction book—two bonus romance novels.
Here's the blurb:
A Legacy no one can steal
For centuries in grand feasting halls and around flickering peat fires bards sung of the exploits of High Kings such as Tigernmas—Lord of Death and Niall of the Nine Hostages, possibly one of the most potent men to ever live.
Forged in Irish Bronze and Iron chronicles this mythic legacy from around 1700 BC up to 500 AD. This fascinating record of the High Kings is interwoven with modern scientific, DNA, and archeological evidence from the Bronze Age and the Iron age.
Two bonus fiction novelettes are included. Romantic tales of the Bronze and Iron age and the High Kings.
Queen of Kings
The only woman listed as a High King of Ireland
As wild and beautiful as the land she rules, all men lust for her, warriors and kings bow to her might and magic. Yet, only one champion comes forth to gift her with a white bull and true love. But can the handsome stranger best her skills and win her heart?
Neither centuries that have come and gone nor the seas between us can keep us apart.
As the Celtic pirate, Anwen, presses her hard iron dagger against the Roman's throat, memories of fated lovers, druids, and sacrifice, stay her hand. But, in this lifetime they are foes, Roman and Celt. Can Anwen and Kaeso steer their timeless voyage to a happy destiny or will they be robbed of love once more?
Macha Mong Ruadh, (Of the Red Braid) daughter of Aedh Ruadh, demanded her father's fourth turn as High King, claiming it was her right as his heir. Dithorba and Cimbaeth said that they would not give the sovereignty to a woman. Macha’s only response was…War.
Macha battled Dithorba and his sons, and she was victorious. She then banished Dithorba and his five sons into the wildernesses of Connacht. Dithorba was slain in Connacht. Dithorba’s five sons, Baeth, Bras, Betach, Uallach, and Borbchas demanded their father’s turn at the sovereignty. Macha denied them, for she had defeated Dithorba on the battlefield and taken her right to rule by force. Macha learned that Dithorba’s sons were plotting against her. Macha Mong Ruad then persuaded Cimbaeth to wed her to combine their two armies.
Macha went to Connacht and disguised herself as a woman with leprosy. She found the five brothers hiding out in the forest, carousing around a cook fire as they roasted a wild boar. One by one the brothers were inflamed by her beauty, which she used to her advantage by overpowering them and tying them up. The Ulstermen wanted Dithorba’s sons killed, but Macha enslaved them instead, forcing them to build the hillfort of Emain Macha. One version is that she marked the great hillfort’s boundaries with the pin of her brooch. Emain Macha means Macha's brooch. However, another explanation for the name of the hillfort may be that a brooch’s large circular wheel shape, crossed by a long pin, looks a lot like the great circular rampart surrounded by a Celtic fortress.
In the late 1960s, archaeologists excavated the large mound at the center and found the site had been reconstructed several times, beginning with a ditched enclosure, 150 meters wide, that was built in the Late Bronze Age. There was an incredible archeological find here, the skull of a Barbary ape, native to North Africa, that dated to 350 BC.
Moving from archeology back to the High King Cimbaeth: he served seven years in the sovereignty of Ireland after marrying Macha, but then died of a plague at Eamain Macha. He was the first king of Eamain.
Upon the death of Cimbaeth, Macha Mong Ruadh, daughter of Aedh Ruadh, became High King of Ireland. She took her place on the throne as sole ruler. After she had ruled for seven years, she was slain by Reachtaidh Righdhearg, son of Lughaidh. Geoffrey Geoffrey Keating dates her reign from 468 to 461 BC. The Annals of the Four Masters from 661 to 654 BC. So, with the death of Macha of the Red Braid, let us move into the Irish Iron Age.