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The legendary Irish chieftain, Shane O'Neill ☘️🛡️👑


Last week, I was invited to a local Atlanta author event to discuss my debut. One of the questions the interviewer asked was whether any of my characters are based on real historical figures. As is frequently the case with writers and creative types, I tend to be a little reclusive. So when I delved into the nitty-gritty of my inspiration, I realized I almost never share these details with my readers.


But you might find them as fascinating as I do.


Image: The O'Neill Coat of Arms. Source: Wikipedia.
Image: The O'Neill Coat of Arms. Source: Wikipedia.

I'm crazy for historical research, so to some extent, all my past-life characters are rooted in real individuals who lived in Ulster in the late medieval period. But my main male character—hello, my Aedan ❤️‍🔥—is based on the legendary Irish hero, Shane O’Neill, aka Shane the Proud (or John or Sean the Proud), aka the King of Tyrone, aka the Prince of Ulster. I know, lots of titles. Each one well deserved.


Shane was born in 1530 into a powerful Gaelic Irish clan that traces its lineage back to the árd rí Éireann (the high kings of Ireland), starting with the semi-historical figure of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Besides being a powerful chieftain and a valiant patriot who stood up for Ireland's sovereignty, Shane O'Neill was also one of Queen Elizabeth I's most formidable opponents in Ireland. But he was also young for a chieftain, very tall, and strikingly handsome, so he made the perfect prototype for my romantic hero.


What's interesting is if you read about him without looking at the source, you'll come across some unfavorable or downright scandalous "historical" accounts. But history is written by the victors, and if you look more closely, all those "facts" were really political propaganda written by the English crown. However, if you read the accounts written by the Irish historians, a very different picture emerges. And it is one I write about in my book.


Until the next story,

Vera


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