Tuesday, 3 April 2012
I and a friend once looked for the head of the River Boyne, knowing it was near our house. We drove along our area's cappilary back roads, triangulating our way up the river, until we stopped near Carbury Castle.
Eventually we found an old manor on whose grounds, we were told, the river began. We knocked on the giant door and were greeted by an elderly gentleman, who had lived there his entire life and was the last of his lineage. He was blind now, we realized, but could point in the right direction, and we stayed for a while to talk to him about the history of the place.
He told us about his boyhood there in the Edwardian era -- at 86, he was older than the nation of Ireland -- when he and other boys rolled hoops and held picnics on the hillsides. He told us about the Normans who first built Carbury Castle, and the warlords who ruled the area in medieval times -- one, he said, invited all the local lords to a feast and killed them in treachery, as in the opening of Braveheart.
We followed his finger to the pool where the Boyne began -- a river named after the goddess Boyne, often depicted standing in water. My friend and I came upon it and she promptly fell in, looking like the old drawings of Boyne as she hauled herself dripping out of the pool.
Originally published 2009.