This book is generally regarded to be the first significant collection of Irish folk narrative to be published. After it was anonymously published in 1825 it was praised by Sir Walter Scott and was translated into German by the Brothers Grimm. The book is being reprinted again in a facsimile of its original first edition to celebrate the 200 "th" anniversary of the birth of Thomas Crofton Croker (1798-1854).
Croker, the son of a British soldier, roamed the countryside, especially in the Munster area, collecting tales and lore from peasants and storytellers. The lively wit of the peasants, the wild energies of nature, the poverty, the struggle to make ends meet, all can be detected under the surface of Croker's text. He collected an impressive amount of material, much of which was used in this collection but also in later collections. His interests were eclectic, including art and music. His collection, Popular Songs of Ireland (1839), was another significant work contributing to saving and popularizing early Irish folklore. In 1813 he helped found the Cork Scientific Society.