Book review: King Arthur in Irish Pseudo Historical Tradition by Dane R. Pestano – An Introduction

Much confusion has been caused by monks, styling themselves annalists with keen tendencies to make much use of creative writing. As a result heroes and events were crafted, which did, as such, not exist. A glorious web was woven, no doubt to inspire, across time and places, people and politics.
Seekers of a more accurate picture of the past find themselves in a labyrinth of a wishful and impeccable genealogy of the then victorious. Perhaps even decorated with the deeds of the champions of the defeated – the otherwise written out and at best demonised, with similar consequences. Or, and as in one particular incident, the title of King of Aileach was applied unbroken to members of the O’Neills since the 5th century in the Annals of the Four Masters, when no such king can be found at all for at least another 300 years in the remaining earlier annals. Except one.

A new approach has been taken by Dane R. Pestano to interpret the intriguing paper trail of the much famed and invoked King Arthur with a different and fascinating aspect. Unaware of its existence at the start, it led him to Aileach (Inishowen). Having read a multitude of material about the subject myself, even travelled, following the steps of the legend that is Arthur and Camelot some years ago, his conclusion did surprise. But his line of reasoning and cross-referencing would have led me most likely to the same. And the persistently named King of Aileach, Muircertach Mac Erca, does draw attention to further curiosity towards the true or amalgamated person behind.

Without protesting being impartial on the matter, the book is time exceptionally spend with Arthur and Aileach and a journey of what just may have been but failed to be mentioned in a more realistic context.

Book available from Dane’s blog:


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