Many people made it to the book launch despite the flooding and traffic chaos. The book was launched by Peter Murray, Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, and Paddy O’Donovan, head of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Humanities at UCC.
The drinks were supplied by Colm McCan, agent for Le Caveau wines.
Thanks is due to the Crawford Art Gallery Cork for acting as publisher, to Kieran O’Connor for his top class design and to Cityprint for the beautiful final product.
On the 6th of June 1518 Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg arrived in Kinsale after his fleet was forced to land in Ireland because of stormy weather.
The prince’s remarkable four day visit has long been neglected because the original account was in Old French. It was written by a member of his household, Laurent Vital. Full of curiosity and good humour and, unlike contemporary English accounts, not hostile towards the Irish, this is an important addition to our knowledge. Vital gives a detailed description of Irish dress (something that we don’t have elsewhere for the early 16th century) paying close attention to the colour and shape of the clothes people wear and to their hairstyles. He was very taken by the revealing dress of Irish women and a good case can be made for his description of Irish men and soldiers influencing the famous drawing done three years later by the Habsburg-connected artist, Albrecht Dürer.
Whilst enjoying the hospitality of the Irish, Vital also heard high mass sung Irish-style in the church at Kinsale, witnessed a clandestine do-it-yourself marriage in its grounds and listened to his landlady tell the tale of her pilgrimage to St Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg in Donegal. He observed a formal meeting between the town council and the young prince and saw a servant of the local lord (probably the earl of Desmond) entertain the future Emperor with singing, harp music and a swimming display.
In this beautifully-produced volume, Hiram Morgan has written about the background to the archduke’s visit and an interpretation of the account, Dorothy Convery has provided an engaging translation of Vital’s Old French text and, to further enliven the source material, the renowned Irish artist Hector McDonnell has made a set of original drawings.
This is a fascinating account of a Habsburg visit to Ireland in 1518. As a result of a storm Archduke Ferdinand, who subsequently succeeded his brother Charles as emperor in 1558, was forced to land in Kinsale. He and his delegation spent four days in the town and its vicinity. The account of the visit is part of a longer narration of a journey to Spain and the return to the Low Countries written in French by a royal servant called Laurent Vital. A translation of the storm-hit return leg is provided here. The highlight is without doubt the sojourn in Kinsale from Sunday 6th to Wednesday the 9th of June.