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Books > Culture > Celtic & Irish Mythology

Mention mythology and classical figures may first come to mind -- such as the Roman gods Jupiter, Juno, and Mercury, dressed in togas or leather gladiator garb. But the Romans had nothing on the Celtic peoples of Ireland, Scotland, and western Europe; prior to the time when Christianity swept western Europe, the Celts had their own vital mythological cycles and pantheons of deities. Read the entire Mythology article here.


Early Irish Myths and Sagas by Jeffrey GantzEarly Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin Classics) by Jeffrey Gantz

by Jeffrey Gantz

These early Irish stories were first written down in the eighth century AD. They preserve the oral tradition of the Iron Age Celts who settled throughout Europe during the seven centuries before Christ. Celtic oral tradition is considered to be the earliest voice of Western civilization, and the 14 myths and tales represent the first written examples of this tradition. Author Jeffrey Gantz holds a Ph.D. in Celtic Languages and Literatures, and has written an introduction that places these versions of the stories in proper historical and literary context. Drawn from the Mythological and Ulster cycles of Celtic mythology, the selections include such recognizable stories as "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel," "The Wooing of Etain," “Exile of the Sons of Uisliu,” "The Boyhood Deeds of Cu Chulaind," and "The Wasting Sickness of Cu Chulaind." Gantz's notes accompany each story, and he includes a bibliography for further reading.

+ Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 Shamrocks for Early Irish Myths and Sagas by Jeffrey Gantz An excellent choice for anyone interested in mythology
Early Irish Myths and Sagas is a collection of stories revolving around a time in Ireland's history known as the Ulster Cycle. The Ulster Cycle produced many grand adventures involving heroes, giants, contests, courting and great battles. The narrations follow the lives of the Ancient Celts, who were a warrior class society, similar to that of the one in Beowulf. The collection of myths found in Early Irish Myths and Sagas, hold themes that are commonly found in other mythological texts from other cultures. Many parallels can be drawn between a character named Cu Chulaind (whom appears in many of the stories) and Hercules of the Greek tradition. The stories found in this collection are the kind that set the guidelines for modern fantasy and fiction writers today. This book is a must for anyone interested in books about: mythology, warrior based society, ancient Celts(ancestors to the Scottish Highlanders), or interesting battle tactics.

Folktales of Ireland by Sean O'SullivanFolktales of Ireland

by Sean O'Sullivan (Editor)

Ireland is a truly rich source of colorful traditional folktales, a fact that spawned the creation of The Irish Folklore Commission in 1935. The Commission's Chief Archivist, Sean O'Sullivan, has selected 365 pages of the best tales in the Commission's archive of 1.5 million pages of manuscripts. This definitive book, published by the venerable University of Chicago Press, is the first English language collection of Gaelic folktales, and arguably the best. The Guardian calls this collection, "without doubt the finest group of Irish tales that has yet been published in English."

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"Without doubt the finest group of Irish tales that has yet been published in English."--The Guardian

"O'Sullivan writes out of an intimacy with his subject and an instinctive grasp of the language of the originals. He tells us that his archives contain more than a million and a half pages of manuscript. If Mr. O'Sullivan translates them, I'll read them."--Seamus Heaney, New Statesman

"The stories have an authentic folktale flavor and will satisfy both the student of folklore and the general reader."--Booklist

More Irish Mythology Books | Celtic Mythology Books