menopausebarbees
... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Woman or Witch: True Story

Ever since I visited Kyteler’s Inn in Ireland, Halloween always brings to my mind the story of Dame Alice Kyteler. Alice opened this medieval inn in 1323. I just happened to stumble upon the inn while out roaming after visiting St Canice’s Cathedral and the ancient tombstones (this is a site which has experienced Christian worship since the sixth century). I knew nothing about the history of the inn when I stepped inside. I was drawn in because antiquity intrigues me. And this building is ancient.

So come to find out–there was something about Alice. 

Born into a noble family, Alice went on to marry four wealthy men which resulted in Alice amassing a great fortune. Well, each and every one of these men died and each and every one of these men left Alice and her son all of his possessions. Upon the death of her last husband, her step–children accused her of sorcery to murder each and every one of her husbands. The kids were impoverished and pissed and prayed that Alice would be arrested and they would gain her fortune. 

Alice was eventually accused of  amongst other things, rejecting the Christian faith, performing satanic rituals, concocting witches’ brews and heresy. Allegedly, she slept with a demon named Robin Artissen, who sometimes appeared as a cat, black shaggy dog or a black man who is sometimes depicted as Aethiops, the mythical founder of Ethiopia. I haven’t yet discovered why it was a black man or a black four legged animal.

Hmm. . .Alice was busy.

At the Kilkenny Witchcraft Trials, one of the first witchcraft trial to take place in Europe, Alice’s son William was convicted and ordered by Bishop Lederer to attend three Masses every day and to give alms to the poor. Pretty light sentence when you consider that Alice’s maid Petronella, who confessed to being a witch and a member of Alice’s tribe, was the very first person in Ireland to be tortured, whipped and finally burned at the stake on November 3, 1324. It is said that she screamed for Alice’s help, but Alice had gotten the hell out of dodge and fled to England and was never seen again. She was forty-four years old.

Alice was a savvy businesswoman, as a matter of documented fact, the most successful and richest business woman in medieval Ireland and her establishment was the most successful in Kilkenny. 

She left a haunting reputation which seems to emanate from the stone walls of the inn, where the food is quite good and you can sit for a spell and have some brew…

Alice. Woman or witch?

Where there is no imagination there is no horror, but THIS my friends, is a true tale.

Postscript: Did you know that there is a difference between  a cemetery and a graveyard? There is. The pictures of these graves were taken at the graveyard of St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower, built in the 13th century.