The Lore of Ireland
An Encyclopaedia of Myth, Legend and Romance
Dáithí Ó hÓgáin
531 Blz., ISBN 1 84383 215 1
The Boydell Press, 2006
ÉIRE: The name of the country, anglicised Ireland.
Its earlier form was Ériu, from a Celtic Iveriu, meaning ´land´,
and a further derivative Érainn was used to refer to the bulk of the population of Ireland.
The land goddess of the country had this (Ériu Éire) as one of her names,
and from it the English and other forms - such as Irlanda - are derived...
Ireland has one of the finest cultural heritages and a standard reference book combining
the related subjects of folklore, myth, legend and romance is long overdue.
There are 350 substantial entries, in alphabetical order from Abán, a 6th-century saint,
to Weather, all with full references to sources, a synopsis of relevant stories, and discussion of
their origin, nature and development.
These are complimented by a genre-list of material under various
headings, such as Mythical Lore, Fianna Cycle, Ulster Cycle, King Cycles, Peoples and Traditions,
Religious Lore, and Folk Custom and Belief. There is also a wealth of genealogical detail, indicating
how historical and social circumstances have influenced the growth and spread of Irish lore.
So, from the misty lore of the Tuatha Dé Danann to the dramatic realms of saints and scholars
and to larger-than-life figures such as Daniel O´Connell and Michael Collins, this book
opens a fascinating window on Ireland and the Irish.
Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, Associate Professor of Irish Folklore at University
College Dublin, is an international authority on folklore and traditional literature.
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