Tales of the Wicklow Hills: 2000 Years of History, Myth, Legend and Local Stories (Legendary Books)

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9780955756801: Tales of the Wicklow Hills: 2000 Years of History, Myth, Legend and Local Stories (Legendary Books)

2000 Years of History, Myth, Legend and Local Stories

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From the Author:

These stories of fact and fancy range from the 1st century BC "Naming of Baltinglass", part of the mythological history of Ireland, to current oral accounts of recent incidents in "The Vale of Avoca". Some stories, such as those of Feagh McHugh O'Byrne, Michael Dwyer, and John Moore, are well documented in reliable sources of history, if sometimes highly coloured in re-tellings. Many are legends based on historical personages or events, for example "Hempenstall" and Saint Kevin. Some are at least partially myth, such as "The Melodies of Buchet's House" with the fertility god figure of Buchet ("hundred cows"). "Fingal Rónáin" is literary historical fiction. Where the distinction is not obvious, I have provided guidance in the text or notes.

The Avoca stories are a microcosm of local tradition, ranging from international migratory folklore attached to the Mottee Stone, to the factual incidents of the moving statue and the historical basis of The Big Snow. In between are brief tales told to me by people who believed they were true, and of course the mystery of the Tigroney ghost that I provisionally solved.
The footnotes give sources and additional facts not essential to the appreciation of the stories as such. Background material is provided in introductions to the chapters and the Notes at the end of the text.

Translations are mine, except where otherwise noted.

From the Inside Flap:

Storytelling is one of the principal means of humanising our environment, for in it one encounters the rationalisation and imagination, the great human heart of the world. It is therefore essential to our modern communities that people have at their disposal all the resources which cultivate and develop this practice, the heritage lore and the speaking voice of tradition, continuing and constantly interpreted.

I know of few other people in this context with the knowledge, the ability, the initiative, and the skills of communication of Richard Marsh. Scholar and poet, he is a man of great conviviality and collegiality in the pursuit of knowledge and of all the cultural data which evoke our interest and accordingly make our life more interesting. His open-minded attitude, constant pursuit of sources, and his aesthetic taste are a fine example to follow.

Every part of Ireland should have its Richard Marsh, and Wicklow is particularly lucky in this regard. He shows us that the heritage of storytelling is expressed in both literary and oral forms, making the landscape and the life of the various communities more colourful in the mind, more adventurous and fulfilling. As such it is of importance to the young as well as to the old, for a Wicklow person should be more interesting and entertaining, more socially expressive, if he or she can represent to the rest of Ireland and to the world a particular sense and a special atmosphere of Wicklow.

Treise le Risteard, an té atá ag oscailt fuinneog na hoidhreachta dúinn agus ag ligint an tsolais isteach! (Power to Richard, who has opened a window on heritage for us and let the light in!)

 From the Foreword by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin, and author of The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopaedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, The Collins Press (2006), and many other books on Irish folklore and legend.

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