independent

Friday 17 August 2018

Nicky strikes back in council Strongbow row

Contributors to the conference 'A New Way or The Norman Way, at Ferns Cathedral (from left): historian Nicky Furlong, archealogist Emmet Stafford, Colm Morris, historian and guide, Graham Cadogan, information manager, Regina Sexton, UCC, and William Murphy, M.Agr.Sc.
Contributors to the conference 'A New Way or The Norman Way, at Ferns Cathedral (from left): historian Nicky Furlong, archealogist Emmet Stafford, Colm Morris, historian and guide, Graham Cadogan, information manager, Regina Sexton, UCC, and William Murphy, M.Agr.Sc.

By David tucker

WEXford Historian Nicky Furlong has added more fuel to the fire on the simmering row between him and the county council over the Norman Way and the Norman knight known as Strongbow.

Mr Furlong was responding to a detailed defence on its informaton accompanying The Norman Way, by council director of services Eamonn Hore, one of the artichects of the project, which was published in this newspaper last week.

'The core subject on which he commented was the following inscription on The Norman Way: "After Diarmuid died the Norman knight Richard de Clare (known as Strongbow) inherited the throne of Leinster and the Normans never left",' Mr Furlong quoted Mr Hore as saying.

'That Richard de Clare inherited the throne (sic) of Leinster is an unfortunate mistake,' said Mr Furlong.

'When Diarmuid died, aged 61, on May 11, 1171, an election under the Brehon norms took place among the MacMurrogh ruling family members eligible for election.

'The man elected to success Diarmuid was his brother, Murrough. He was eventually succeeded by Donal's eldest son Donal Caemhanagh Mac Murrough and so the succession continued for centuries,' said the historian.

'While King Diarmuid was alive, Strongbow was only the hired help,' he told this newspaper.

'With respect, Mr Eamonn Hore is a very popular and highly-regarded director of services at Wexford County Council. He is a qualified engineer, not a historian. It is not surprising, though painful, that this unfortunate error was not identified at an early stage,' said Mr Furlong.

Mr Furlong said that in 'those days' it was normal for kings everywhere in Europe to hire mercenaries and so, Diarmuid hired Flemish, Norman and Welsh soldiers and they were, therefore, under his command. Diarmuid controlled Leinster.

'The real Norman invasion took place after Diarmuid's untimely death when Henry II landed in Crook. County Waterford, on October 17, 1171.

'The fleet numbered 400 ships with 4,000 soldiers and 500 knights.

'It was Henry II who created Strongbow Lord of the newly-acquired Viking possession of Leinster,' said Mr Furlong.

mr Furlong has written wrote two biographies on Diarmuid of Leinster, his life and times:

'Dermot, King of Leinster and the Foreigners (anvil books 1974) and an undated biography: Diarmait. King of Leinster (Mercier Press. 2006), scrupulously edited by a professional mediavalist historian.

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