Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Battle of Ventry

He was a lusty fellow, Fionn Mac Cumhail (Finn McCool), the leader of the Fianna, the standing army of Ireland. While visiting France, he eloped with both the king's wife and daughter, and hied back to Ireland.

This in about the third century A. D.

The French king, understandably miffed, gathered the support of twenty other kings for an attack on Ireland, including the King of the World, whoever he was. Their gigantic fleet arrived in Ventry Harbor, outside my window. The harbor was choked with vessels.

The Fianna, arms glistening, waited on Ventry Strand.

The battle raged for a year and a day, with many a tale of heroics and breathless romance. Finally, when hardly a man of either side was left standing, and lovers had wooed, Fionn slew the King of the World. Yes, the whole grand saga, the Irish version of Helen and Troy, down there at the bottom of the hill.

I tell the story because I want to share with you a panorama that the students of the village elementary school painted on the wall outside the schoolhouse. They did the painting several years ago, but it is as bright as ever (although a few bushes have grownup in front of it). Herewith, my gift this morning, the Battle of Ventry.