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Traditional Irish Fairy Tales
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Traditional Irish Fairy Tales

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,032 ratings  ·  46 reviews
1 Tuan Mac Cairill recounts his time with first settlers of Ireland to priest who tries to convert him
2 The Birth of Bran
3 The Little Brawl at Allen
4 The Enchanted Cave of Cesh Corran
5 Becuma of the White Skin
6 Mongan's Frenzy

.. and more
Paperback, Illustrated, 256 pages
Published June 12th 1996 by Dover Publications (first published 1920)
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38th out of 81 books — 69 voters
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Best Books of 1920
18th out of 21 books — 15 voters


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Community Reviews

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Shauna
'In truth we do not go to Faery, we become faery, and in the beating of a pulse we may live for a year or a thousand years.'

A good collection, very funny and with that uniquely Irish feel to it. And I should say that this is not so much a collection of Irish fairy tales as a collection of Irish sagas, interactions with the daoine sídhe woven through them.

A few of the tales are beautifully told, in particular The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill,

'The green tides of ocean rose over me and my dream, so
...more
Perry Whitford
I recently read an excellent book of some less well known fairy tales ('The Fairy Ring', free online at Gutenberg) and glibly joked that the four Gaelic stories included were a little disappointing because none of them featured a leprechaun!

I resolved to find a book dedicated solely to Irish fairy tales.

Well, 'Irish Fairy Tales' by James Stephens doesn't have any leprechauns either, but that is hardly a let down. No, these stories are steeped in the very depths of Irish folklore, from the same
...more
Carol
This was weird. I was expecting Irish Fairy Tales that hopefully could be traced back to other books and so, or that I could match with the few I know myself, it was not. It was mostly tales mixed with Christian beliefs (which looks weird), and mostly about the amazing Fionn.
They don't seem to be together, even though they reccount the life and adventures of Fionn, but every now and then there are stories who have nothing to do with him and that seem disjointed, because I can't put them in.
And t
...more
Boots
I think I'm going to preface this review with how this came about.

So a good friend of mine recently bought me an eReader, which I'm pretty happy about. The online store for this eReader has a free section that I have taken full advantage of, and this eBook just happened to be one of them. I realized something after I started reading it, that it is highly unlikely that I would have bought this book in a store, and it's also unlikely that I would have picked it up from my local library. So apparen
...more
B.C.
I picked this up because everyone is using Faery in their stories and I wanted to have a better understanding of the mythology that people are (loosely) pulling from. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed these tales.

My favorite aspects of the book as a whole:

Religious Conflict: The conflict is not fighting. It is in the voice of the author, minds of the people and their view of the other. Many of tales have individuals interacting with Christians who are new and different. There is a
...more
Nisha
"Indeed, Fionn loved Saeve as he had not loved a woman before and would never love one again. He loved her as he had never loved anything before. He could not bear to be away from her. When he saw her, he did not see the world, and when he saw the world without her, it was as though he saw nothing or as if he looked on a prospect that was bleak and depressing. The belling of a stag had been music to Fionn but when Saeve spoke, that was sound enough for him....his wife's voice was sweeter to Fion ...more
Lada
le mythe celtique. beaux contes de l'Autre Minde
Nigel
We've managed in the space of three volumes to run the available gamut of titles for books of tales of Irish fairies and come full circle, as it were. These aren't even the sort of fairy tales I was looking for, being mostly about Finn and the Fianna, but actually, there's a good deal of fairy stuff in here, so I think it was worthwhile from that point of view.

So it opens with the story of a man here since the first people came to Ireland after the flood and follows on down through mythical sett
...more
Char
I really enjoyed all these stories. I think the experience was definitely added to by visiting the Giant's Causeway - built by none other than Finn MacCool/Fionn mac Uail, the protagonist of many of the stories - while I was reading this and hearing all the stories about him from the staff and exhibits there as well!
Sarah
Horrendously slow.
Theresa
The story of Tuan, The son of Cairill- So a priest finds out some man hasn't been converted and goes to talk to him. Tuan literally reveals that he has ben around since the first man stepped foot on Ireland. Tells a story of many reincarnations of his life and still and the end the priest wants to convert him. sigh.

The Boyhood of Fionn-A lot of these stories end up being about Fionn, so this story tells of his growing up and how he became such a inspiration.

The Birth of Bran-So a jealous faery t
...more
Lance
Several months ago I read Evangeline Walton’s Mabinogion Tetralogy. Her homages to Welsh myths were lyrically told; they contained characters whose struggles and motivations were extraordinarily compelling, and the gender dynamics in particular were sensitively and insightfully written. Walton proudly expressed her loyalty to her source material, saying that she did not cut anything from the original Welsh tales, but only fleshed out what was there. Having been charmed by Walton’s stories, I eag ...more
Daniel
Before I was unceremoniously sued by Stephen Crane's people, my debut novel The Red Badge of Discourage seemingly struck discord in the hearts of the illiterate everywhere.

The protagonist, a male anti-hero who courts a girl whose surname he continually forgets, finds himself displaced in a small rural community who nightly rub ointment on their wounds before they head straight to bed. This community, Follidaze Heights, does not exist and is not real, which is basically what you have to do when y
...more
Julie
There were some very interesting aspects to the book and the individual tales, but there were many times I felt distant from the book and I think it's because I'm not familiar with the backgrounds to these fairy tales and their significance to Irish culture.

Some of the ones that stood out the most was Oisi'n's Mother and The Carl of the Drab coat. Both of those stood out the most, were the most memorable and the most enjoyable to read. The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill, was another one that I enjoy
...more
Aryani Yoe
I'm sure this is a very good book, but unfortunately i read the Bahasa version, i got really confused with the sentence (maybe because of the way in translating from English to Bahasa). I need to be very very very focused in reading this book to get understand the story (I believe this book is not that hard to understand).
Well if I got the English version, I would really glad to "re-read" this book :)
Douglas Cootey
This was a fascinating collection of fairy tales, if a bit uneven. I didn't expect the stories to be paced according to modern sensibilities, but neither did I expect them to be so witty. That was a pleasant surprise. Most of the stories were from the Fionn Cycle and referenced Fionn often. Sometimes these tales dragged for me, especially when focusing on battle prowess. However, there were enough tales involving the lords and ladies of Faerie and the humans who outwitted them to balance things ...more
Jorge Rosas
Those were some bizarre tales, with Norsemen, Saxons, Welsh, Scottish and Britons involved. So if you’re expecting a fairy you better look somewhere else, in here it’s a whole kingdom apart. I did enjoy the Weapons of Mass Destruction, in the form of killer sheep. Christian mythos revolving and forcing their way in the old Celtic ones felt really forced, trying to put a date was really hard, when you have actual facts, fairy and corn around.
August Niehaus
When I bought my Kindle, I spent the next couple of weeks downloading as many free books as I could. Of course I got tons of fairy tale, myth, and legend books, and in honor of my man, I started with the Irish fairy tales. I was thinking this would be a quick, perhaps even boring, skim and would maybe give me a few pieces of useful material for short stories or even novels. Boy, was I wrong. I laughed out loud at the cleverness of the tales, and whether that's Stephens's translation or character ...more
An Odd1
1 Tuan McCairill
Abbot Finnian fasts on the doorstep to convert Tuan, who then admits he landed with Noah's Ark, but when population grew from 24 couples to 5K overall, a sickness took all but Tuan. After 22 years alone, he looked like a wild beast when Nemed landed 34 barques with 30 couples each. He was "hairy and tufty and bristled as a savage boar .. lean as a stripped bush .. greyer than a badger; withered and wrinkled like an empty sack; naked as a fish; wretched as a starving

.. to continu
...more
Clorush
Fairy Tales are never meant for children, for only true adults-- that is to say-- they who have the capacity to respect and admire the amount of work that was put into writing a really good story can also grasp what it is inside fairy tales and other fantasy works that, even now, in the wake of technologies and smartphone wars, people all over the world still fell in love with fantasy genre.

This book's strength lies in the author's voice, and I have to say, it's a really good voice that reminds
...more
Michael
This book started out being a continuous narrative of Irish folk lore. Tales that are not continuous themselves. I thought the attempt was interesting, but then he gave it up and said yeah these next stories were just told by Finn's son because he spent a lot of time in faery and that's how he knows them, okay? Then those stories didn't make sense in that context either. So this was disappointing. As far as the stories I know go, they were told faithfully to the originals. One of the other probl ...more
Hope
Exceptional! Beautifully, beautifully written. A master storyteller. Poetic. Powerful. Deep. Richly entertaining. I simply could not get enough!
Lisajo Smith
Started it, but quickly lost my attention :(
Blain
Not exactly what I hoped of this book, I was thinking it wold be more a collection of shot stories of various Irish Fairy tales, but it was an interesting read none the less. The entire book deals with Fionn, an Irish King, or his family. A love for folklore is the best reason to pick this up, as the writing nor the story telling is much to speak of.
Emma
There are quite a few really great tales in this collection, most of them following Fionn or his relatives. I found most of these stories enchanting and whimsical. They made me feel like a child again. Some of them do get rather boring, however, and it seems that all of them end very abruptly, leaving the reader feeling jarred.
Lynn
I don't often read books twice but I had to come back to this one after several years. The language is simple but beautiful and the tales are also so rich without being complicated. The are stories that really light the imagination and have certainly inspired many others since their telling.
Cathy
Reading this as an E-Book I found the format a little confusing. It seemed like several separate multi-chaptered stories but then many of them were actually continuations of others. It was sometimes confusing keeping track of whom was from Ireland and whom from Faerie etc. but worth reading.
Maile
This was an interesting book of fairy tales. The stories were connected by reoccurring characters, which came as a surprise to me. The style is very meandering, the Irish way of story telling, I've learned, has a lot of tangents. Once I adjusted to the style, I quite enjoyed these tales.
Lorina Stephens
This is one of those books you should read simply to expand your knowledge of Irish heritage and culture. A fascinating insight into historical standards in society, particularly women's roles, as well as a broader world view and belief system.
Abby
I only read a few of these tales before I went to Ireland. I hope to pick it up again sometime. The stories are interesting but the language didn’t enchant as much as I hoped it would. The illustrations are fabulously enchanting, though.
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James Stephens was an Irish novelist and poet. James' mother worked in the home of the Collins family of Dublin and was adopted by them. He attended school with his adopted brothers Thomas and Richard (Tom and Dick) before graduating as a solicitor's clerk. They competed and won several athletic competitions despite James' slight stature (he stood 4'10" in his socks). He was known affectionately a ...more
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“Let the past be content with itself, for man needs forgetfulness as well as memory” 16 likes
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