The Image of Irelande: Kern Led by Piper

The Image of Irelande; Plate 2. An armed company of the kern, carrying halberds and pikes and led by a piper, attack and burn a farmhouse and drive off the horses and cattle.
The Image of Irelande; Plate 2. An armed company of the kern (Gaelic light infantry), carrying halberds and pikes and led by a piper, attack and burn a farmhouse and drive off the horses and cattle. Note the characteristic léine (saffron-dyed shirt with baggy sleeves bloused around the waist) and ionar (short open-sleeved jacket) worn by the kern.

Kern are mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Acts I and V):

The merciless Macdonwald–
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him–from the western isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;

[…]

Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
No sooner justice had with valour arm’d
Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage,
With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men
Began a fresh assault.

[…]

I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword with an unbatter’d edge
I sheathe again undeeded.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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