The High Fortress: A Guide to the Rock of Dunamase will launch this Wednesday, 23rd November at 7.15pm in the Midlands Park Hotel Portlaoise. The High Fortress, sees experts sift the evidence to tell the story of Dunamase and its surrounding territory from prehistoric times to the eighteenth century, in a clear, accessible way.
The book which is published by Wordwell, supported by the Heritage Council and Laois County Council, is the culmination of several years’ work and features wonderful contributions from Brian Hodkinson, Dr John Feehan, Dr Sharon Greene and Dr Matthew Stout, edited by Peigín Doyle.
The ruins of an Anglo-Norman fortress built over an Early Christian Irish dún, it was fought over, occupied, fortified, reinforced, seized, abandoned, and blown up. Today, silhouetted against the Laois skyline, the stark grandeur of the ruined fastness of Dunamase has the power still to stir our imaginations.
Plundered by Viking raiders in 843AD, it became the dowry of Aoife, the bartered daughter of Diarmait Mac Murchada, when she married Richard De Clare, Strongbow, as the price for the Anglo-Norman invader restoring Diarmait as king of Leinster.
Fortified by a murder hole, arrow slits, portcullis, drawbridge and high protecting walls, the struggles between Gaelic Irish versus invading forces played out around the fortress of Dunamase for centuries. Weapons and armour, buckles and spurs, gaming pieces and arrowheads, Gaelic metalwork and medieval coins, all unearthed in excavations, bear witness to its role as a focal point for critical events in Irish history.
The book will be for sale in local bookshops and at wordwellbooks.com