The Annals of Ulster, The Annals of the Four Masters, Marianus Scotus, The Annals of Clonmacnoise, the Chronicon Scottorum, Simeon of Durham; they ring in my mind as if set to music, these fabulous histories of Ireland.
At first I wasn't going to include my legendary Irish ancestors in my family tree. Even their bones were dust, their stone carvings were dust, how could any confidence be found in records that were copies of translations (or translations of copies)?
But how can I resist? There is little question I am connected to these ancient Irish roots, even at a distance of nearly 900 years. When Aoife (Eve) MacMurchada, descendant of Irish kings, married Richard (Strongbow) de Clare, descendant of a Duke of Normandy and a king of France, 29 Aug 1170 in the Cathedral at Waterford, Ireland, all of her legendary Irish ancestry became my genetic heritage.
How could I ignore such riches? What if there is a degree of uncertainty in the dates once one is in the 600's? So what if there are no extant birth, death or marriage certificates? And if the generations seem to skip over some people? A mere trifle. The fact is, no one can be one hundred percent certain of their ancestry, and after a number of centuries, the uncertainty factor becomes larger than the certainty.
Still, I can read of the exploits of people who may have been, and most likely were, some of my ancestors. As the famous social historian Cathy Sturdevant says: "No Pride; No Shame; No Credit; No Blame". My only connection to these legendary people of Ireland is in the genes they left me, and in my admiration for their strength. They cannot add to, or reduce, whatever I may have done with my life.
They can, however, inspire me to expect more from myself.