Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Ireland's Fairy Lore by Reverend Michael P. Mahon

Ireland's Fairy Lore by Reverend Michael P. Mahon
First published in one volume in 1919 by Thomas J Flynn and Company. Republished in the UK by ForgottenBooks in November 2013.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the paperback from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Downloaded from ForgottenBooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ireland's Fairy Lore is a collection of 31 separate tales of lore and legend. While the stories do an excellent job of illuminating Ireland's history of Gaelic literature, the author does not treat the works with too serious an interpretation, and in fact is downright lighthearted in many instances. This is especially appropriate for such an entertaining collection.
Standout entries include the story of The Pooka, a goblin like creature that is said to bring either good or misfortune upon people, and is the inspiration for many place names throughout Ireland. The history of The Dagda, a father figure God of frightening power, is another entertaining and illuminating chapter. In fact, of the thirty-one entries included in this collection, almost all are worthy of your attention. They were originally published as individual articles in Pilot magazine.
Ireland's Fairy Lore is an enduring and entertaining examination of Ireland's mythical landscape. The relaxed tone and brief chapters make this an easy read, one that you could get through in a couple of sittings, or go back to regularly over time. For anybody interested in Irelish folk lore, or even just a good fairy story, this book is highly recommended.

From the synopsis on the ForgottenBooks website I was expecting 31 Irish folk tales but this book is more of a survey of the influence of the faery folk on place names and Pagan traditions in Ireland. Rev Mahon was obviously widely read and quotes many medieval and earlier works as he traces the history of the fairies. This is interesting but I did find irritating his patronising assumptions that later Christian beliefs were automatically superior to these Pagan ones - especially at times where one has merely taken over the other. Also, the essays might be 'light hearted' by 1919 standards, but they've become considerably drier by 2014!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Reverend Michael P Mahon / History / Books from England

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