The Ros Tapestry Lovers

Michelle Obama Views  Ros Tapestry Panel at Farmleigh May 2011

The Abduction of Dervorgilla

The amorous flight of Dermot Mac Murrough, King of Leinster with Derborgilla, wife of his enemy Tiernan O’Rourke, King of Breffni, is depicted in this pane. Brehon Law, liberal but precise dictated that Dermot, for this impudence, would pay a fine of 100 ounces of gold to the injured husband. The fact that Dermot failed to comply possibly changed the course of Irish history.

The pair are seen galloping from the O’Rourke Castle in Roscommon to Dermot’s stone fortress in Ferns in Wexford.

Dervorgilla’s dowry, castle and household chattels accompanied them. Irish wives were entitled to remove their dowry should they decide to take leave of their husbands. In pursuit is the elderly Tiernan O’Rourke in a vain attempt to apprehend the pair, who are met at Ferns by Donal Kavanagh (Caomanac), Dermot’s eldest son. In the foreground is a ghost from the future, of Dermot’s daughter, the yet unborn Aoife, who, because of this event would find herself at fifteen the wife of one of the mighty Norman de Clares.

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