When the English stripped Richard of the family lands he was set to inherit, Gráinne could have either A) started a rebellion or B) negotiated with the Crown. Surprisingly, Gráinne chose plan B. She parlayed with English representative Lord Deputy Henry Sidney in 1576, going so far as to offer him three galleys and two hundred fighting men. He didn’t take her up on the offer, but he did sail with her to inspect her coastal defenses of Galway. Gráinne made sure to bill him for her troubles. Sidney walked away with the impression that “This was a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland.”
Suddenly, everything changed. In that moment, Nera realized he had left the Earth and entered a strange Other World — one that bordered the realm of the living.
To begin, it’s helpful to have some background on Samhain. In Celtic Ireland, around 2,000 years ago, Samhain represented the division between the lighter half of the year that was summer and the darker half that was winter. During the interim, ancient people believed that the line between the spirit world and the mortal one became so thin that the dead could pass through it and walk the earth once more.
Eventually, an angel came to him in a dream and urged him to return home. “You have fasted well,” it said, “very soon you will return to your native country.” Thankfully, this helpful spirit also let Saint Patrick in on the latest ship departures and he was soon in pursuit of one that would take him back home. He trekked over 200 miles of forests, bogs, and brambles until at last, he reached a port that may have been Wexford.