Errors on Norman Way signs, leaflets and website are slammed
LOCAL EXPERTS SLAM FACTUAL ERRORS ON SIGNS, LEAFLETS AND WEBSITE FOR NEW TOURISM ROUTE
CRITICAL errors of fact have been made in leaflets and information plaques and an official website promoting The Norman Way, a 43km tourism route from Rosslare to New Ross, described as one of the treasures in Ireland’s Ancient East, says local historians.
Now they are calling on Wexford County Council to correct the mistakes ‘to avoid representing fantasy as fact’.
‘The errors will perpetuate mistakes for time to come and be represented as fact when it is plain that they are not,’ said historian Nicholas Furlong, who uncovered the mistakes.
The council’s communications manager David Minogue said the council appreciates the significant role played by the large number of experts from the field of medieval history who have assisted in researching the Norman Way and said that errors that were discovered would be corrected. ‘From time to time, diverging views and opinions will emerge among researchers in relation to the interpretation of elements of this research,’ said Mr Minogue.
‘Such diverging views are part and parcel of historical research and serve to encourage useful debate on the subject matter,’ he said, adding that so far only one error had been brought to the council’s attention and that was in a leaflet, not on the panels, and would be corrected when the leaflet is reprinted.
Mr Furlong said meanwhile it was ironic that Wexford County Council has within the County Library service some of the leading expert historians in the country. Their office is only a few yards away from the department which produced the information leaflets, the website and the misleading panels,’ said Mr Furlong.
He said a major error was the naming of a ‘new king’ of Leinster ‘King Strongbow the First.’
‘Strongbow,’ whose real name was Richard de Clare, second earl of Pembroke, Earl of Striguil, was a mercenary soldier from Wales who led the Norman mercenaries hired by the then king of Leinster, Diarmuid MacMurrough, variably known as Diarmait MacMurchada, of Ferns in 1169.’
Mr Furlong and other historians, some members of Wexford Historical Society, point out that Strongbow could not have inherited the kingship of Leinster as the right to elect a king of Leinster belonged only to regnal members of the MacMurrough royal family.
However, the county council information states: ‘After Diarmuid died, the Norman knight Richard de Clare (known as ‘Strongbow’) inherited the throne of Leinster and the Normans never left’.
The historians say there was no throne and that he did not and could not inherit royal power. In a hard-hitting letter sent to council director of services Tony Larkin, Mr Furlong says ‘the appalling gaffe that confers the royal ruling power of Leinster on a hired mercenary military officer, in spite of the regnal powers and prerogatives of the existing MacMurrough, is and will be seen as appalling.’
Calling on the council to urgently address the errors, Mr Furlong writes that he and his peers are ‘anxious and terrified’ that the same distortion will appear on the plaques all the way to New Ross and beyond. The first 10 panels on the Norman Way route are in place at Butlers of St Ivers in Broadway, Tacumshane mill, St Catherine’s Church, Sigginstown Castle, Ishartmon Church, Tomhaggard, Ballyhealy Castle, Grange Church, Our Lady’s Island and Kilmore Quay.
The remaining 30 are to be erected later bringing the Norman Way to New Ross. Among perceived errors: There are claims that the windmill at Tacumshane was inspired by the Normans whereas it was built in the 19th century and was of Flemish inspiration. They say the claim is spurious that the Normans improved agricultural and food production. The Normans hired were veteran soldiers, not farmers. The website says that Strongbow married Diarmait MacMurrchada’s daughter and in 1189 William Marshall signator of the Magna Carta married Strongbow’s daughter. However, the historians say it fails to say that Diarmait’s daughter was Aoife and that William Marshall married Aoife’s daughter Isobel.
The website claims says Bannow Bay was the first landing point and settlement of the mercenary Normans into Ireland in 1169. They say there was no Norman settlement in Bannow at that time.
A sign for the Norman Way which runs from Rosslare to New Ross.
Historian Nicholas Furlong.