One of the important roles for the wife of a Gaelic chieftain in medieval Ireland was to act as a patron of poets.
Women lavished hospitality on poets to ensure that they wrote poems praising them and their families (propaganda) and to avoid displeasing poets...
People were afraid of poets because it was believed that some poets had a supernatural power-they could satirise people to death to keep them onside
A reference to the power of the poets comes from a poem about Caitlin O Hara
“Her face was safe from scorching even before she came before poets”

Because she was generous to poets.
Some Gaelic women cultivated poets to showcase their own charms to the world.
Often see it with widows, funnily enough.
In one poem the woman’s hair is praised in 29 out of the 38 verses

Because she’s worth it
And some...overindulged their love of poetry

Rose O Toole, widow of Fischer McHugh couldn’t get married again because of her addiction to poetry

“Love for herself, hatred for her hospitality is borne by the noblemen...”

The boys didn’t like Rose spending on the poets
One of my favourites is a woman called Margaret who commissioned a poem on the death of her dog

“Farbhlaidh’s pedigree surpassed all dogs, she is a stab of pain to the oxen on every hill”

The ‘English’ of later medieval Ireland very quickly cottoned on to the power or poetry

Earliest poem to one was composed around 1213 for Richard Mór de Burgh and the dau of O Briain
Also learned to never piss off your Irish wife hopefully.
Irish wives had certain freedoms which their English counterparts did not.
Case in point, Dervorgilla the wife of O Donnell who sent a troop of galloglass (mercenaries) to murder an enemy against the wishes of her husband
Never mind being afraid of poets, a pissed off and vengeful medieval Irishwoman could sometimes do much more harm...(with their troops)
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