Architecture

Detail from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854
Detail from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854

The marriage of Aoife to Strongbow took place in Christ Church Cathedral in Waterford, however, Maclise has chosen to heighten the drama of his painting by situating the marriage in the battle field amidst the wreckage, death and destruction of the Anglo-Norman invasion. The damaged fortifications of Waterford city are visible in the background. Little remained of these ancient walls in Maclise's time, and so he had to exercise some artistic license in their depiction. The most accurate architectural detail is the round tower in the distance, the form of which is quite similar to Reginald’s Tower in Waterford.

Detail from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854
Architectural detail from Daniel Maclise, 'The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife', 1854

A ringed cross is carved into the keystone of the church archway over the priest’s head. Maclise may have consulted George Petrie’s publications on Irish ecclesiastical architecture, published in 1845, which include in-depth illustrations of architectural details.