Conflict in Ireland: new starting point for ‘The Parting Glass’

So, I have a new idea for The Parting Glass. Although it would seem that it began in Scotland, the Irish have certainly adopted and morphed it as their own. And I did originally have visions of my ‘hero’ in the story to be a dying gentleman of sorts. So I thought I would make him an Irish one.

This new slant necessitated new research. So I started with trying to find out a major cause of death in Ireland around 1700 (give or take a few decades). And I came across this wonderful site: War and Famine in Ireland 1580 – 1700. Perfect place to start.

I had no idea the hardship and struggle the Irish went through for so long! I knew about 5-irish-potato-famine-1846-7-grangerthe Great FamineI have an ancestor who is Irish Famine Orphan, sent to Australia for a chance of survival and a better life. But I had no idea about the conflicts that ravaged the country in the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s as well. The British employed scorched earth tactics, as did the Irish themselves in an effort to regain ground. The Irish starved on a regular basis, as well as being in the middle of armed conflicts.

Coming from largely Irish Catholic stock myself, I think I have found a basis for my ‘hero’: the Irish Catholic gentry started a war with the English and Scottish Protestants and their supporters in 1641, which lasted until 1653. Known as Irish Confederate Wars, it resulted in the death of more Irish than in any other period of Irish history apart from the Irish famine. I think my ‘hero’ may just be Irish Catholic gentry …….

My thanks, also, must go to Stephen King: in his book On Writing, King talks about characters developing themselves. I agree, Stephen, I agree. He hasn’t named himself yet, but he has told me who he is.

Cheers

Kerry

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