Oonagh's Biography  

Greetings all.

My name is Oonagh O'Neill and currently I reside in the fair Barony of Politarchopalis in the newly formed Kingdom of Lochac. Hazzarr.  (Iím sure that this is really one of smaller islands of Venice.)

My life story in brief I will share with you now.  Born as the only child of one of the minor arms of a clan of Irish chieftains in the north of Ireland, in the early 16th centaury, it was decided early that despite my endeavours to please my parents in so many ways and my numerous skills, I was to be married off in an arranged marriage in the hopes of strengthening the families position and producing a son.

After a couple of fruitless years, I did indeed bear a fine son. In return my family agreed to end my union.  My husband disappeared to the gods only know where, (we don't talk about that much). My family decided in return for relieving me from my marriage bonds that they would take my son and raise him but I had to fend for myself.  I reluctantly agreed.

As a young child I learned fast that what we had as commonplace in our stores, was highly sort after by kin in the next dale, and the further away from our kin the greater value in our own common objects. The same was true of them, for them what was common was sort after by us. Thus I learned the value of trade. I took that lesson and applied it well.  Once my son was weaned I kissed him in fond farewell and with heavy heart and began to make my own way in the world.

I traded my way down through to the south of Ireland and then across to Wales and England. By this time I was creating a comfortable existence for myself and sending gifts back to my kin and especially my son. I made wonderful connections and had occasion to visit the royal court of the young Queen Elizabeth. Most splendid indeed!

My trading took me further south still and I met a tin-miners daughter, Mathilde, when she had returned to visit her father after she had spent quite some time in Venice. Befriended, I hopped a boat of her fathers with her on her way back to Venice and discovered the continent of Europe. Firstly France, then Germany. On to Italy and briefly in Venice. My love of trade and travel took me on a wondrous and occasionally dangerous journey of discovery to the east. I ended my eastward journeys at the top of the Indus valley, with the noble tribes and traders there. I dearly loved my time there but longed to create a home for my son.

With good trade connections now established both east and west I looked for a place that would offer my son and me a suitable home. It was clear to me that there was really only one choice to be made. VENICE.

As an already established crossroad of trade, commerce, culture and politics, it was a natural choice.  I already had friends there and began my journey back to that wondrous city.

I have been established there for about 3-4 years now and am settling in very nicely. My family allowed my son to be reunited with me with the news of my betrothal.  Alas that did not last.  He turned out to be a cad and abuser of women.  He knew of my good trading and took advantage of that.

With my son Now with me in Venice, and working to reclaim the lost ground caused by that cad, my life is back on track and I feel complete.  My son is my world; I had missed him so much. 

My dear father passed on not long after he returned to Ireland after bringing my son to me in Venice.  He had made sure that we were well set up before he allowed Nathaniel to stay with me.  He worried so much about us both.  We both miss him very much.  Unfortunately my fathers second wife, a stern, manipulative and unfeeling woman, fritted away my inheritance.  Much to my fathers disgust no doubt, Nathaniel and I have only our fondest memories  to remember him by.

Mathilde, an acquaintance from my time in England, in the mean time had married, a former guardsman of the Doge, and settled with 3 children. Also she is now titled Mistress, of both the laurel and pelican and a Baroness. 

We both love the riches Venice has to offer, especially the wonderful lace, glass, silks and dresses etc. She asked me if I would be her journeyman, I accepted.  On the 11th day of April AS XXXVIII (2004) Mistress Mathilde and I broke the master / journeyman bonds and I was elevated to the noble Order of the Laurel

My interests apart from being a merchant are the wondrous dresses found in the many lands I visited in my travels. I just had to have one, or more, of each place I visited.  As a merchant I find that I have to occasionally make the goods I sell. I make eating irons, fit for the noblest of tables, fine earrings for beautiful ladies, and rings to adorn the fingers of only the most discerning of clientele.  And fine polished drinking horns.

For my own pleasure I sing, make lace with a needle and bobbins, cook, dance in the style I learnt in the east and a little of European style also, not the circle dances of back home in Ireland, I prefer the more courtly dances of Italy they have such smouldering passion, prepare herbal medications, dabble in illumination, embroider, bead, make hats, make fans, flirt with the occasional jewellery making, sew fine gowns, and collect fine glass ware for my table and rolls of silks, brocades and velvets that I can't bear to part with at the market.  Recently I have taken to making these wonderful things to accompany spoons at our dining table, FORKS.  I think they will revolutionize the way we view fine dining. I love to entertain friends and have and will continue to host feasts.  My philosophy on feasts and food is that all of the senses should be satisfied.

Well met,



16th century map of Venice

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All intellectual content, composition, layout, designs and photographs copyright 2003 to Deborah Murray © or Mistress Oonagh O'Neill ©. All Original renaissance art works and artefacts are not copyright to Deborah Murray.  If you see something you'd really like to use, please contact me!      

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