Part 27 The Icelandic Gambit
We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
~W. B. Yeats
Above: The mighty Empire of Ragusa leaves Iceland. No I don't know how they got there either.
On the 4th anniversary of the Peace Treaty with England, word reached the Council that Iceland had at last thrown off the hated tyranny of Ragusa and declared indepedence.
Huh. Anyway this made waves in Cork. People stared at maps and pointed and said wise things about the 'West Being Awake' and so on.
"I still can't believe we didn't notice Ragusa taking over Iceland. I mean what the story going on there?" said Bishop McAuliffe in wonderment.
It was then that O'Faolin had his brilliant idea: go to war with and conquer Iceland. If mighty Ragusa was unable to re-conquerer her, then Munster could certainly do so. Infuriated the Bishop of Cork argued against it, pointing out the huge damage it would do to the Munster reputation abroad. But he was overuled by the rest of the Council.
"The world percieves Munster as weak your grace, we must strike now at this brillant opportunity before Iceland can join an alliance. We can't let a chance like this slip through our fingers..."
So on 28th of May, 1477 Munster declared war on Iceland and the invasion started:
As luck would have it, not only was Iceland poorly defended, it lacked a fort of any sort. By the 29th of June the last pockets of resistance were overun and General O'Neil proudly raised the Tricrown over Reykjavik, a tiny hamlet that had been the last centre of resistance. It was subsequently decided to build a provincial capital there - once any of the new Munster administrators got around to learning Icelandic.
Above: The newest province of Munster.
An upset McAuliffe promptly resigned from the Council and went to attend to his ecclesiastical duties. Months passed and nothing happened - until one day he recieved two rather strange visitors.
One was a nondescript man of middle years, with a Waterford accent. The other was much more interesting: a tall girl (and she was definitely a girl, not out of her teen years), very pretty, well dressed with a regal bearing and an attractive smile.
The pretty girl politely curtsied to the Bishop and began speaking a strange barbarous gutter tounge to him. It was especially strange as the girls tone and body language was exceptionally polite, and after a string of barbarian jibber jabber she gave him a shy smile.
McAuliffe was about to nod indulgently at this poor mad girl when the man beside her, clearly an interpreter, spoke up:
"Her Highness, the Lady Elizabeth De Bohen says 'Good morning your Grace. I have travelled a not inconsiderable distance to find you, as I am told you can help me gain my rightful place as Queen of Munster at last, from all these beastly pretenders. Oh and I'm sorry I don't speak German, so we must use my interpretor'."
McAuliffe rubbed his temples. It looked like being a long night.
Above: Lady Elizabeth De Bohen, 1458 - 14--
As it turned out Elizabeth had accidently spent the last 4 years in Germany by accident until she had bumped into a Waterford merchant by accident who had recognised her and brought her to see the only honest broker in Cork: Hugh McAuliffe. McAuliffe got the strong impression from this that while beautiful, well mannered and pleasant Lady De Bohen was unfortunatly possessed of rather too much air and rather too little grey matter between her equisite ears. Still intellect was rarely a survival trait in monarchs and she seemed likeable enough, so McAuliffe promised to do what he could before arranging passage for her back to England.
Unfortunatly there was remarkably little he could do. O'Faolin still ruled the Council and that was that. Still he resolved to start attending meetings. McHugh had died recently (still no consensus!) and the little Prince was still busy at school (and dealing with the onset of puberty), so McAuliffe was able to argue for De Bohen with a clear conscience. The people were experienced with beautiful Queens, liked them, knew them after all and something about her had rather taken him. Still didn't get him anywhere, but he kept up at it.
1479, the 6th year of the Interegnum saw O'Faolin pass numerous reforms designed to centralise the Kingdom (and 'accidently' greatly increase the power of his office). As the year passed into 1480 and a trade ordinace took place in Munster he hit upon his most ambitous scheme yet: the construction of a trading station in recently mapped Greenland. It was to be the start of what O'Faolin loudly proclaimed as 'Munsters New Direction' - a step away from millitary and feudal dominance in the island of Ireland and the concentration on building an overseas trading empire.
Above: If at first you don't succeed...
Alas for him, this first attempt failed, but a second attempt (Jan, 81) worked and a third (April, 82) added a second level to the trading post.
Above: ...try, and try again.
Not that O'Faolin saw it however. He died peacefully in his sleep in November 1480, almost 8 years he had started his unofficial reign over Munster. At last the country could breath again. Working at electric speed Bishop McAuliffe swung around the Council and summoned (through an interpretor) Lady De Bohen. Munster had a Queen again!
As the Bishop proudly placed the crown on her head Elisabeth said something in English. Turning to the interpretor he recieved the following: "Her Majesty, the Queen says 'Gosh, this is rather wonderful. I just hope they have some of those lovely German heeled sandals to give me as a Coronation gift...'"
The Bishop nearly interupted the ceremony with a gale of laughter, but thankfully kept it in...
To be continued...
A lot of work for one day, but inspiration suddenly struck. Hope that answers (some at least) your questions.