MY WARLIKE HERITAGE—VIKINGS AND O’MALLEYS. I posted here about the theory that my father expressed from time to time at the dinner table, that our ancestors had in common that rather than fight for their land, they had moved to parts of the world where nobody else would want to settle. That is one view. However, my father also liked to talk about Grace O’ Malley and the Vikings. The Vikings were the Danes on my mother’s side of the family and my father’s mother was an O’Malley.

Of course, there is respectable scholarship which argues that pirates and Vikings are part of commerce and on the whole beneficial to civilization.

Nick commented on this post on the fury of the Norsemen:

“As a descendant of this, I vacillate between boasting about how successful we were at terrorizing the European coasts and how civilized we were. I suppose I want everything both ways.”

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  1. As his wife of over 42 years, I can vouch for it that he wants everything both ways.
    This is sometimes referred to as sophistry or, in our family, Jesuitical thought.
    Also known in some circles as paradoxical logic. Or, mayhap, having your cake,
    eating it too, and shoving it down your opponent’s throat!

  2. Jane says:

    Has Nick mentioned that the castle hotel we’ve booked for our May trip (Ballynahinch) is the ancestral seat of Grace O’Malley’s first husband? She certainly lived in the area, and perhaps an earlier version of the current building. We only discovered this a few days ago, but I like to think that perhaps the land was calling him home.

  3. Dick Weisfelder says:

    In 1993 we were in Clifden, right by that hotel. Lovely area, but also do go see the Dingle Peninsula further south. It’s quite spectacular.

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