My new book Richard II and the Irish kings is due to be launched this week by my old professor Dr Art Cosgrove, the former president of UCD. It was Dr Cosgrove who taught me all about Art MacMurchadha, the Ó Néill kings and Richard II's two expeditions to Ireland in 1394-5 and 1399, as well as much more late-medieval Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh history, back in my undergrad days. As a result I am very pleased that Art has agreed to launch the book.
The book-launch will be held at 6,30 pm this Wednesday 9th November in 63 Merrion Square, the home of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. All are welcome so do feel free to come along if your Wednesday evening is free.
My new book is the story of the two expeditions by the English king, Richard II, to Ireland in 1394-5 and 1399. Once across the Irish Sea it was Richard's fate to encounter a group of able Irish kings led by Art MacMurchadha Caomhánach, king of the Leinster mountains, and Niall Mór and Niall Óg Ó Néill, kings of Tyrone and high-kings of Ulster. My book recounts Richard's adventures and contact with these capable Irish chieftains, and the impact that his visits to Ireland had on his reign and rule over his English kingdom. This is a book that I have wanted to write for a very long time so I am really looking forward to its launch.
My previous book The Battle of Clontarf, Good Friday 1014, published in 2013, also by Four Courts Press, is now available from my publishers at the very special price of €5.95.
My first book, Red Hugh O'Donnell and the Nine Years War, also published by Four Courts Press way back in 2005, is also still available but now as an e-book, and is for sale on many commercial book-selling websites.
Four Courts Press published my Battle of Clontarf book 999 years to the very day after this famous battle was fought. Throughout April 2014 I was busy giving a series of talks to schools and local history and heritage societies to help commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of this very important event in Ireland's medieval history.
This is the extract that appears on the back cover of the book:
'The story of the Battle of Clontarf, fought a thousand years ago, on 23 April 1014, is an inspiring one. It is a tale of ambition, determination, courage and sacrifice. Although the history of the battle has often been misrepresented, it is without doubt one of the most important events to have taken place in medieval Ireland. The battle was not just influential in Irish history; it also had a major impact on the subsequent history of the jarldom of Orkney - a Scandinavian power that lay to the north and west of medieval Scotland. Brian Boru emerges from the pages of this illustrated book, not as the great reforming high-king of legend, but as a highly ambitious and intelligent monarch, whose steely resolve led his army to victory on the Clontarf battlefield that Good Friday in 1014'.
This is what Howard Clarke one of my old lecturers from UCD had to say about the book: 'This is an example of an expert book written by a self confessed non-expert - and it is a resounding success. ... McGettigan's book is full of details and insights, referenced to the primary sources. One of its strengths is a sense of Irishness: time and again we are given the Irish text accompanied by a translation. Another is the remarkable selection of illustrations ... the 32 images amount to an eclectic mix of artefacts, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and maps. This is a book from which there is much to learn and in which there is much to enjoy'. History Ireland magazine, March/April 2014. (Thanks v.much Professor Clarke!).