I had forgotten just how much I love old Irish stories, until I read The O’Brien Book of Irish Fairy Tales & Legends. Re-told by Una Leavy and illustrated by Susan Field, the book is a gorgeous collection of the favourites you might remember from school, such as ‘How Cúchulaiin Got His Name’ and ‘The King’s Secret’, but also includes new stories I hadn’t heard of before, such as ‘The Magic Shoes’ and ‘The White Gander’.
Each story is accompanied by beautiful illustrations and celtic designs that contributes to one’s overall feeling of pride that these stories are so creative, and are our very own, passed down from generation to generation in Ireland. With language and imagery as clever as ‘a belt that prevented sickness’, ‘each shoe was the size of a boat’, fairies and little people, I am all gung-ho about trying to memorise one or two that I might be able to tell the kids when the electricity goes out this winter!
I will say that some of the old Irish myths can be tragic, at times dark and morbid, so choose carefully the age (and sensitivity!) of the children you might read them to. If you get it right, and can pass on these wonderful tales to keep them alive, then I urge you to and buy this book!
To order, or to see other titles from O’Brien Press, see: The O’Brien Press Website