ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kerry Ross is an author of historical literary fiction, an artist, musician, and librarian. She lives in West Michigan with her spoiled-rotten Maine Coon cat Neo (otherwise known as the House-Puma) and dabbles in watercolor, oil-painting, and herb gardening. When she’s feeling really creative, she composes for the Celtic harp. In 2006, she studied technique and composition under nationally acclaimed harpist Kim Robertson.
Kerry began delving into Gaelic culture during a six-week stay in Ireland in 1984 with a class of 130 American high school students on the Irish Way Program. She reads and speaks Irish and Scottish Gaelic on an intermediate level and has made a study of Welsh, Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek, along with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sindarin and Star Trek’s Vulcan languages. She developed a working Pictish language based on Brittonic constructions for the Harplord Chronicles, her first trilogy.
She holds an AA in Social Sciences from Jackson Community College, a BA in Anthropology from Western Michigan University, and an MILS from the University of Michigan.
ABOUT THE TRILOGY
One hundred twenty-one heirs to the throne. Three clans. Two princes. One tribe. One kingship. In ancient Ireland, it’s a recipe for trouble.
Ripples in the Rockpools, the first book in The Harplord Chronicles, catapults the reader back in time fourteen centuries to Ireland’s Golden Age. From the smoky feast-halls, the swirling lake mists, and the dust of chariot races, two figures emerge. They are the sons of Áedán, warlord and King of the Dál Riata, one of the seven confederated Ulaid tribes.
At sixteen, Prince Eochaid has the wide world ahead of him and more than one assassin slithering behind. Groomed for an arranged marriage and a kingship he’d sooner shirk, Eochaid bolts like one of his beloved horses only to find that Destiny will not be shirked. Among the Pictish tribes of Scotland, he finds a welcoming haven. But will Áedán’s desire to annex Pictish territory bring Eochaid to face his father on the field of battle?
Conall, a mere child in these early days, tells as an adult the story of his older brother as only a bard can. Raised in secrecy for his own safety, Conall is scarcely aware of Eochaid’s trials. But through his growing powers of the Sight, Conall sees and hears everything…more than he should.
Ripples in the Rockpools opens with a careless act, the ripples of which spread far beyond their original boundaries, ricocheting with hateful consequences through the years. In this coming-of-age story, lessons are hard-learned and honor comes with a price.
Book One: Ripples in the Rockpools is currently available for publication.
Book Two: Ripples in the Sea is in progress. Final draft to be completed by December 2013.
Book Three: Ripples in the Sand Dunes is in progress. Final draft to be completed by December 2016.
Unless, of course, life intervenes!
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Céad mile fáilte! Whether you’re a casual reader or a serious scholar – a hundred thousand welcomes! This site is devoted to the study of Ireland and Irish culture prior to 700 A.D. Most folks refer to this time period as the Dark Ages since it’s as nebulous to them as a mist blanketing a bog. It was a bleak time for learning and scientific advancement. I mean, people barely scraped a living from the soil and struggled through waves of famine, war, and disease, right? It was a time of barbarism and illiteracy…or was it?
If you stick around, you’ll find that this time period – as it relates to the Gaelic culture – is not so “dark” after all. We know a great deal about it both from archaeological investigations and surviving manuscripts. And what emerges from the mists is Ireland’s Golden Age.
Thomas Cahill described the typical world-view of the Irish people in How the Irish Saved Civilisation: “The word Irish is seldom coupled with the word civilisation. When we think of peoples as civilised…the Egyptians and the Greeks, the Italians and French, the Chinese and the Jews may all come to mind. The Irish are wild, feckless, and charming, or morose, repressed, and corrupt, but no especially civilised.” (p.3)
How many of us who claim Irish blood think of shamrocks, green beer, and leprechauns when we think of our ancestors? If you’re a bit more into your heritage, you may think of Riverdance, the Chieftains, and the Potato Famine. But how many of us are familiar with the Gaelic traditions of tanistry or fosterage, can point to Emain Macha on a map, or explain the function of a rí ruirech? These last three I’ll be happy to delve into here…and much more.
Each week, I’ll explore some topic relating to Gaelic society as it existed between 100 and 700 A.D. Why this time period? Let’s return to Thomas Cahill: “Ireland, a little island at the edge of Europe that has known neither Renaissance nor Enlightenment…a Third World country…had one moment of unblemished glory. For, as the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe matted, unwashed barbarians descended on Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of western literature – everything they could lay their hands on.” (p. 3)
Did you know the first case of copyright infringement took place in sixth-century Ireland?
Did you know the oldest extant law tracts in Europe were developed by the Irish?
Although, the late sixth and early seventh centuries comprised a period of great social and cultural upheaval, it remained a part of Ireland’s Golden Age. Gaelic society was still that – Gaelic. It would be centuries before the Vikings, Danes, Norman, and English put their own stamps on Ireland and change her forever. And let’s not forget the influence of Christianity. At this time, the Church in Ireland was still in its infancy. While there were many eager converts, druidic learning still held some sway.
So, the challenge is afoot: use this site to dig deeper into the Gaelic past. Discover what it means to claim an Irish heritage. I’m not an expert, but I’ve been a Gaelic scholar for over twenty years. I welcome your comments and questions and will do my best to answer them. And from your posts, I know you will have a great deal to teach me, too. You may have research of your own that sheds light on or contradicts what I’ve written. I welcome your insights and corrections. Or, you may have discovered a great new book or web resource. Let’s share!
Slán go fóill,