Over Nine Waves: A Book of Irish Legends


Journalist Marie Heaney skillfully revives the glory of ancient Irish storytelling in this comprehensive volume from the great pre-Christian sequences to the more recent tales of the three patron saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille.

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Journalist Marie Heaney skillfully revives the glory of ancient Irish storytelling in this comprehensive volume from the great pre-Christian sequences to the more recent tales of the three patron saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essential background for every reader of Irish literature." — Library Journal
Library Journal
The legends journalist Heaney skillfully and suspensefully retells are interlinked episodes of the mythological prehistory of Ireland, a chronicle of heroic deeds, power struggles, magic, and passion. The core narratives of Irish culture--featuring the children of Lir, the voyage of Bran, the life of Cuchulainn, Deirdre, Finn, and Oisin-- are here animated by the gamut of human emotions: love, loyalty, grief, pride, and jealousy. Brief histories of Patrick, Bridget, and Columcille add a note of religious passion at the end. Violence abounds, but a young warrior must be as familiar with poetry as with weapons; and women assume important roles as leaders, poets, warriors, and healers. Although there are several volumes of Irish myths in print (most recently, Miranda Green's Celtic Myths , Univ. of Texas Pr., 1994), there is still room for one as thorough and as well written as this. Essential background for every reader of Irish literature.-- Patricia Dooley, Univ. of Washington Lib. Sch., Seattle
From Barnes & Noble
In her colloquial retelling of ancient Irish stories, the author conveys the full dramatic power and poetic sweep of one of Europe's most revered narrative traditions. This book includes the most important tales from the three major pre-Christian sequences--the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, and the Finn Cycle; followed by the lives of the saints Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille. Encompassing themes that range from the extremes of violence to the heights of imaginative fancy, here are stories that have thrilled and delighted generations of listeners and readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780571175185
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 7/13/1995
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 331,354
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Marie Heaney was born in County Tyrone. She trained as a teacher in Belfast and began her career in schools in Northern Ireland. Married with three children, she now lives in Dublin where she works as a freelance writer, contributing to newspapers and to programmes on both RTE and BBC.

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Table of Contents

Over Nine Waves: The Mythological Cycle
The Tuatha De Danaan 3
Midir and Etain 22
The Children of Lir 37
Over Nine Waves: the Milesians Come to Ireland 50
The Voyage of Bran 56
Fame Outlives Life: The Ulster Cycle
The Weakness of the Ulstermen 65
The Birth of Cuchulainn 69
The Boyhood Deeds of Cuchulainn 73
Culann's Hound: Cuchulainn Gets His Name 76
Cuchulainn Takes Up Arms 80
The Wooing of Emer 90
Bricriu's Feast 99
The Death of Connla 113
Deirdre of the Sorrows 117
Cuchulainn and Ferdia's Fight at the Ford 126
The Death of Cuchulainn 141
The Music of What Happened: The Finn Cycle
The Boyhood Deeds of Finn 155
Finn Joins the Fianna and Becomes Its Captain 164
The Birth of Finn's Hounds 171
The Enchanted Deer: the Birth of Oisin 175
The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne 180
Oisin in the Land of Youth 214
Three Saints One Grave Do Fill: The Patron Saints of Ireland
Saint Patrick 225
Saint Brigid 230
Saint Columcille 236
Pronunciation Guide 243
Bibliography 250
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