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Description

Lede
In 1397, a Catalan Viscount passed across the Irish sea to Ireland and visited Lough Derg, the famous pilgrim site in County Donegal. His port of departure and return was Holyhead.

Story
On September 8th, 1397, the Catalan nobleman Viscount Ramón de Perellós set forth from Avignon with the blessing of Antipope Benedict XIII on a journey that would take him across the English Channel, the Kingdom of England, into Wales and then across the Irish Sea. It was a journey of faith and adventure, documenting "...where one may reasonably go, inasmuch as by God's grace [and] I have seen and suffered on land and sea most of the strange and wonderful things of which I had heard tell". The result was a transcribed Catalan manuscript that comes to us today through a series of facsimiles, reconciled and transcribed by the CELT project at University College Cork.

The Viscount travelled to Oxford on All Saints' Day (November 1st), first visiting the shrine of St. Thomas Beckett in Canterbury and then admiring the University upon arrival. Having tracked down the English King Richard II at his hunting estate in Woodstock and obtained his blessing to continue, Perellós moved on to the Welsh coast:

I left the court and went by daily stages until I entered a region called Chestershire, which is in the Welsh March, as far as the city of Chester, where I embarked and following the coast of Wales I came to a place called Holyhead; and from there I departed and crossed the deep with a fine wind in the direction of Ireland. Despalaguí (De Espalege) in the isle of Man which belonged to the king of a hundred knights in the time of King Arthur and is today well populated and belongs to the king of England; and from there I crossed, still with good weather, and arrived in Ireland and after a few days I disembarked in the city [of Dublin].

Having crossed the Irish Sea via the Isle of Man, Perellós continued north to Ulster, beyond the influence of the Anglo-Norman English regions surrounding the Irish Sea coast and the Pale of Settlement. Trading on piety, good company and reputation, the Viscount continued onwards to St. Patrick's Purgatory in present-day county Donegal via Drogheda and Armagh, moving through lands of the Northern Uí Néill dynasty to reach the celebrated lake-locked island pilgrim site.

After spending a convivial Christmas at the court of the O'Neill in Armagh, Perellós returned to the Continent.

[I] arrived at Dublin where we embarked to cross to England. And in that city I was most honorably received by the noblemen and clergy. And out of there I crossed the sea and we arrived Wales before a harbor called Holyhead and thence by daily stages we arrived in England, where I found the king in a town called Chester where there is a most beautiful abbey of Benedictine monks where the king was staying; the queen was also there and I was notably received.

Upon returning to Perellós, his estate in the north of Roussillon (today Catalonia), the Viscount dictated his story. It was later captured in a facsimile created from collated Catalan and Occitan texts in 1903, and translated for CELT by Alan Mac an Bhaird in 2012. We have much to thank the translator for, since "Ramon de Perellós is most clearly not a professional writer. His syntax lacks cohesion and his style, to put it mildly, lacks polish".

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