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Over Nine Waves: A Book of Irish Legends
by Marie Heaney
Journalist Marie Heaney skillfully revives the glory of ancient Irish storytelling in this comprehensive volume from the great pre-Christian sequences to the more recent tales of the three patron saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 13th 1995 by Faber & Faber
(first published March 1st 1994)
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Marie Heaney is married to Seamus Heaney, and definitely shares his interest in Irish mythology. I think it would serve as a good introduction to Irish mythology--it's not as stodgy as many of the direct translations, and leaves out some of my personal favorite tales, but it's enjoyable throughout.
My problem was not with the writing, which was a good sort of colloquial, but honestly, with the myths themselves. Which, yes, I know, is unfortunate, but I just can't get past the unlikeable characters. There is a lot of the usual patriarchal male petty pride and female jealousy stuff that I find disappointing about this era of European culture. You hope that Riane Eisler is right and a more gylanic-oriented society preceded this one, so that at least there is something to which we can return a ...more
Heaney's versions of the myths are extremely accessible, rather like a Good News Bible as compared to the King James. She includes a pronunciation key at the back, which is a wonderful bonus, given the importance of language to any culture. This is an excellent introduction to the myth cycles and also includes the patron saints.
This is a perfect book for homeschoolers. I really wish I'd had it when I was a kid. It anthologizes all of the four main cycles of Celtic mythology into one concise volume. In this book, it covers the mythological cycle; the story of the Tuatha De Danaan, the wise people who once settled in Ireland, and later hid in sidhes beneath the earth, morphing into the fairies and goblins that we tell tales about today, as well as famous legends such as that of Midir and Etain as well as The Children of ...more
I read this book in preparation for some quasi-academic research, and was therefore frustrated by the lack of references. Yes, there is a bibliography, but it isn't clear which parts of the text draw on which sources. I was looking for less of a lightweight layman's read and more of a critical analysis. However, as soon as I moved on from "Over Nine Waves" to J.F. Campbell's scholarly "Leabhar na Feinne", I realised that you can have too much of a good thing, and I immediately forgave Marie Hean ...more
There are many books out there about Irish myth, and there are variations in each myth, so it's hard to tell which one is the best/most accurate, but this particular book is a great starting point. It introduces some of the most familiar/famous Celtic myths, such as about Chuchulainn, or Fionn MocCummail. It also goes into the story of the three saints of Ireland, and the writing itself is very nice, the author did her best to give these stories a somewhat mythic feel, with the right kind of dia ...more
I thought that the myths in Over Nine Waves were fascinating. Some had similarities to other myths but for the most part I thought they quite unique from any others I had read or heard before before. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves mythology. I read a few of the stories in it for class, but the rest I read just to see if they too had similarities.