Sunday, February 23, 2014

Irish Kings and Queens by Cornelia Amiri

Since my web site is the CelticRomanceQueen.com and I write Celitc/Romances I had to write a post for St. Patrick’s day as it’s coming next month, March 17th . On St. Patrick’s Day, at least in the United States, anyone who doesn’t wear green gets pinched. This St. Patrick’s Day, when you don your green to honor Ireland, give a thought or two to old King Tighernmas (Teernmas) of Tara, who brought the color green to the emerald Isle.

Through trade with the Phoenicians, he obtained dyes to create green, yellow, and blue and introduced those colors to Ireland between 900 – 1534 BC, as his reign fell somewhere in that timeline. He also enacted sumptuary laws on the numbers of colors worn by the different classes. Six colors to the highest of society, kings, queens, druids, five for the chieftains, four for land owners who offered hospitality, three for warriors, two for peasants and one for slaves. By using plaid the Irish and other Celts wore multi-colors, three to six, at one time. So under Tighernmas’s law slaves or servants wore solid colors, peasants wore checkered patterns, and plaid for higher classes.

Also, speaking of Celtic apparel, the legend is the first smelting of gold in Ireland occurred during Tighernmas’s reign. The King’s wright, Iuchadán, worked gold found near the Liffey, the river that runs through Dublin. So the Irish could pin their plaid cloaks to their tunics with gold broaches and band their necks with gold torques. Torques, neck rings, open-ended at the front, are the most recognized ornaments of the Celtic world. Worn from 1200 BC to 600 AD, by Kings, Queens, and Druids, as emblems of royalty like a crown. Not only did they serve as symbols of power, but also held power. An example is a story passed through time of a Roman solider, Manlius Torquatus, who earned his name after taking a torque from a fallen warrior. By stealing the torque, Torquatus captured the warrior’s strength, conferring it onto himself. Torques weren’t the only thing Tighernmas ordered from Iuchadan, he gave gold drinking horns to each of his followers.

I also wanted to mention a great queen of ancient Ireland, the only woman listed as a High King of Irleand, Macha Mong Ruad. I wrote a Celtic/Romance novella about her called Queen Of Kings. Here's the blurb: 

Macha of the Red Braids exudes the essence of female power. Defying and fighting two kings, she takes her father’s place on the throne. With one goal in mind, she uses magic, battles, disguises, and skills of seduction to take the crown as sole ruler. She is the only woman listed as a High King of Ireland. She builds the famed kingdom of Emain Macha, marking off the borders with the pin of her treasured cloak brooch. Even still, a Champion from the wilds of Connaught throws the powerful battle queen off guard when he comes to claim her heart. Has Macha met her match in Nath of Connaught? Will he pass the three trials she has set before him?

So when you honor Ireland and St. Patrick, don’t forget those who came before, such as Tighernmas of Tara and Mach Mong Ruad. Have a Happy St. Patarick Day.

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Cornelia Amiri, who also writes as Maeve Alpin, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. 


Tina Donahue said...

Love your video, Cornelia. A happy and early St. Patrick's Day to you too! :)

Fiona McGier said...

Me faither was from Glesga, and his mother's family was from Northern Ireland, so when I'd try to wear green on St. Patty's Day, he'd berate me: "Ach, lassie, yer ancestors'll be a-whirlin' and a-twirlin' in their graves!" So I was ordered to wear orange. For the orange hand of Ulster. I got pinched all day at school. Sigh.

Eventually I got old enough to be able to sew myself a skirt that was an orange and green plaid. Voila! No more angry ancestors, nor pinches.

Love that Irish history. My Dad could blether on and on as if he was there for the Norman conquest, or the building by the Romans of Hadrian's Wall to keep out the Picts. I think it's a gift, to be able to make history come alive.

Cornelia said...

Thank you so much, Tina. I appreciate it.

Cornelia said...

Dear Fiona, that story from your childhood is so interesting. I love it. Thanks for sharing.