The Garden Isle

A group of islands – know by their inhabitants as An Oileán Garradha – far away from the fastland, deep in the Great Sea, on which Owel tarries for a short while. There are five main isles, and hosts of smaller ones. At the heart of The Garden Isle lies Inis Meáin with its town of Baile Átha Troim in the centre of the Sheltered Sea. This water is protected by the four largest landmasses in the archipelago: Inis Tuaisceart, Oileán Caoin, Oileán Faoide and Inis Fhada.

There is no written evidence for the origins of the people of The Garden Isle, but their looks – short, dark, or with red hair – and their nomenclature are strong indicators that a dominate strain comes from Irish sailors who are known to have traversed the wide seas, even if no concrete evidence of their crossing the Mirror Divide has been uncovered. Therefore, the people of The Garden Isle may have been on their islands for around a thousand years, which could mean they grew from a small number of original settlers. Yet it seems that little – including the language – has changed much.

There are numerous little townships, but only three of any size: Dúnan Bháid on the southern shore of Inis Tuaisceat; Baile Átha Troim on Inis Meáin, as close to a neutral meeting-place as existed; and Baile Átha Buí on the headland of Iomaire Buí on western Oileán Caoin. Each of these is an independent political unit – though the lands as a whole are culturally cohesive – ruled by a chief. These and the religious leaders elect a High King.

The townlands vary greatly in population. In theory the whole of the islands are in one township or another, but some areas are only nominally so. Some have been ruled by the same families for generations, others change hands regularly.

Its people live mostly by farming, fishing, and running small trade workshops. It is divided into many petty Lordships, mostly in uneasy alliance or conflict with each other.