Since 1903 the County Louth Archeaological and Historical Society has been encouraging interest in and research about County Louth’s past. They publish a Journal as well. It’s quite a useful resource for people (*ahem!*) working on historical fiction set in the area.
My understanding is that most if not all counties have some sort of historical society, and certainly a local museum, so if your research happens to take you to County Cork or County Mead rather than County Louth, most likely you’ll find a local historical society there as well.
Goodness sakes, real history is difficult enough to piece back together without the added confusion of intentional fakery. But humans being what we are, fakes exist.
This particular fake, supposedly a mummified mermaid, is mid-19th century in origin. But of course faux relics, etc., were being painstakingly (Shroud of Turin) or not-so-painstakingly (pig bones substituted for saints’ bones) by at least the 12th century.
It’s easy to guffaw, I suppose, about the gullibility of our forebears, who might have thought this proved mermaids existed. But of course this is the same time period in which dinosaur fossils are coming to light for the first time in significant numbers. If those beasties were real, why not this one? She sure looks real.
I find myself simultaneously appalled at the fakery and utterly impressed with the skill and ingenuity that went into creating it.
The only problem with this book is that everything it says is important. You can’t actually underline everything. It took me months to read, mostly because I had to stop every few pages to let my brain process the chockfull o’ goodness facts. I may well have to read it again to hope to get a good grasp on what’s here. Because it’s all here. What archaeology tells us about housing, food, clothing, artisans, artwork, weapons and fighting techniques, church architecture, and agriculture in early medieval Ireland.
I do wish there were a newer edition of the book. It was originally published in 1990 and a great deal has been discovered in the two decades since. Like Linn Duachaill. Indeed, her description of how little we know about Viking settlement in Ireland, particularly outside areas that developed into large cities (i.e. Dublin, and to a lesser extent Waterford) underscores the importance of the Linn Duachaill discovery.
Cause who doesn’t want a song about the Black Death?
Congrats and thanks to the clever creators of this song/video.