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Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  1,911 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
This is the tale of the coming of the Irish to Ireland, and of the men and women who made that emerald isle their own.
Paperback, 465 pages
Published March 15th 1987 by Tor Books (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carol
Oct 10, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: dead-tree, historical
I found this book to be a bit of a slog if I didn't have time to read it in hour long chunks. Not one you can pick up and read in 10 minute intervals which is what I've been doing alot lately.

Having read her book, Lion of Ireland: The Legend of Brian Boru, I was excited to read more about Ireland's history. Until I read Bard I had no idea that there was a theory that the current occupants of Ireland descended from a tribe of Gauls that had migrated to the northern Iberian peninsula and then nort
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Mike (the Paladin)
Ms. Llywelyn obviously loves the Irish (or at least her idea of the Irish). I have read several of her books and I mostly enjoy them. (As I've said before I don't particularly enjoy romance for romance's sake). It wouldn't do to criticize this work (or any of her works) for any historical inaccuracies as her "novels" are largely fantasy not historical fiction.

Ms. Llywelyn is an accomplished story teller and she can paint a picture of the mythical Ireland in which her characters move and breath t
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Michelle
Apr 29, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Morgan Llywelyn writes most often about Ireland. I love Ireland and reading about Irish history, especially ancient Ireland. It seems like the one country that really is out of a fairy tale.

I also love reading about the historical/mythical figures of Ireland's past - she makes them become very real.

Bard is the story of the 'founding' of Ireland - well of those who we consider 'Irish'. The Milesians come to the island and make contact with the Tuatha Da Danans...a mythical 'fairy' race. This te
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gina
Feb 11, 2011 gina rated it really liked it
I'm cleaning out my bookshelves and getting rid of some of the books I read years ago. I loved this book and Llywelyn for writing it. I hope if I have children they will read it and it will stir in them the longing to learn about a people from long ago that seemed to me so magical and amazing. It will be hard to part with this book but I know it will go to someone else where it will hopefully impact and impress.
Jason Kelley
Mar 10, 2008 Jason Kelley rated it really liked it
I read this years ago.
I remember really enjoying it. Fiction or fact? Who knows. She claims to have assembled the story from many myths. I believe her. Also, this story is where I got my e-mail tag from! Bitchin.
Jack Massa
Compelling, half-mythical story of the voyage of the Gaels to Ireland, circa 300 BCE.

Llywelyn is a master of the big canvas, and she effortlessly pot-boils up an array of interesting characters and powerful conflicts, centered on the large family of the "Sons of Mil."

The protagonist is Amergin, a semi-historical bard whose attributed poetry stands at the wellspring of European literature. A central theme is the contrasted loves of beauty and war, eros and thanatos, that stand at the core of th
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Marybeth
Jul 31, 2013 Marybeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my 2nd reading of the book, and it is as good (perhaps better) than the first read through. So much detail, so many lovely places to stop and dwell on the author's style which is reminiscent of the seanchaidhe of the Irish in those periods when it was illegal to be formally educated. Her obvious passion for, and eloquent use of, language is refreshing in a day and age where so few care anymore about the words themselves and turn more and more to stilted text speak and such (ugh).

Some ot
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Bradley
Sep 07, 2015 Bradley rated it liked it
Fascinating tale. Listia will find it a new home. =)
Monica Davis
Nov 01, 2014 Monica Davis rated it liked it
3.5 stars! No question that the author can tell a great tale, and this one was conceptually very good. I was distracted by the seemingly disjointed, unbalanced, sub-story...too many unanswered questions, and a somewhat "abrupt", unsatisfying ending. All in all, an interesting meme to current cultural trends, with some wonderful symbology.
Jennifer
Aug 28, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
this book tells the story of Amergin, a bard, and his brothers: the sons of Milesios. this is the tale of their migration from Iberia to the western isle (ireland), and how they vanquished the Tuatha de Danaan, to found the "irish" race. Llywelyn's books are marvelous, and i liked this one a lot.
Sharon Reamer
Hard to really order my thoughts about this book. I've been looking forward to reading it ever since I grabbed it off a shelf in a small Dublin bookstore last year at Shamrokon.

What I loved: the weaving of details into the story - clothes, food, houses, facial hair styles, etc. It made me really feel as I could see these southern Celts close up.

What I liked: the entangling of myth and history. Every historian is an interpreter and a writer of historical fiction even more so. I enjoyed Morgan Ll
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Diane
Jan 31, 2007 Diane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Celtic people
Got this one free at work at the book exchange. A weaving of the myths and legends of ancient Ireland and how the celtic people traveled from Normandy to Spain to Ireland and the early settling. Very easy and interesting read.
Lynn Parker
Mar 19, 2015 Lynn Parker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful historical fiction story about the origins of the Celtic people as they journey to and take possession of Ireland. The epic tale is told by The Bard as only he could tell it. It's an older book (1984) that many would overlook. A friend of mine knew I loved the "Outlander" series and lent me The Bard because, like "Outlander", it tells the story of a family of proud warriors and peaceful people trying to survive in a warring, mystical, culturally rich time. The Bard is the first of a ...more
Hannah Law
Nov 15, 2012 Hannah Law rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buff
Recommended to Hannah by: My aunt


Bard, by Morgan Llywelyn, is a blend of fantasy and historical fact that centres around the coming of the Celts to Ierne, i.e., Ireland. The bard named in the title is Amergin, a druid and minstrel who is the son of Milesos, the clan-chief of a tribe. Amergin’s tribe lives in modern-day Spain, and is a tribe that focuses on swordsmanship and warriors rather than music and literature. So when Amergin learns of a fertile new country from visiting traders, he immediately makes plans to leave the tr
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Henry McLaughlin
Nov 05, 2013 Henry McLaughlin rated it it was amazing
I have long been a fan of Morgan Llywelyn and this book doesn’t disappoint. Originally written in 1984, it has been reissued by TOR (Tom Doherty Associates).

This novel is an epic description of how the Gaels came to Ireland, led by a druid bard, Amergin. A vision of a land across the unknown sea calls Amergin. When his native land on the Iberian Peninsula is weakened by drought and overcrowding, the clans adopt his vision and set sail for the land of his dream.

They find it after an arduous jour
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Tina
Jun 03, 2012 Tina rated it liked it
I am a fan of all things fantastic and magical, and I can say without a doubt that there is certainly a heft dose of that in this book The historical viewpoint of the tale of Amergin and his mighty brothers is an excellent introduction to this book.
The reason the book only gets 3 stars is that llywelyn seems to have left the story unfinished. There are great hints and pieces of begun tales that never get completed. I am, in fact, a fan of the "Happy ever after" ending, and this book falls far, f
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Amber
Dec 25, 2015 Amber rated it really liked it
I first read this back in highschool and loved it. Now almost twenty years later I found I still enjoyed the tale of Amergin and his brothers. In alot of ways this feels like a soap opera celtic style with lots of angst and drama. I love the interweaving love hate relationships between the various characters and struggle of a bard in a warrior culture. I did feel the ending of this was very weak, but overall it was an enjoyable read.
Georgene
Nov 21, 2014 Georgene rated it really liked it
Despite the fact that this book has 465 pages, I sat down and read it through in one reading.

A deft weaving of myth, legend and fantasy, this book tells of how a group of Celts sailed from the northern tip of the Iberian Peninsula to the fabled shores of what we now call Ireland in about 500 B.C. An interesting and absorbing tale that kindle my interest in the first few pages and held until the end.
Leslie
Jun 24, 2016 Leslie rated it it was amazing
A bit slow in the beginning, especially as Shinann only appears a little bit and then most of the story is about Amergin and the Gaels. No, slow isn't the word. Puzzling is. But then you get into the story and it's an intriguing read.

As a person who believes in the mystic and acknowledges the god in all living beings, human and otherwise, it was an excellent read.
Lisa
Jul 28, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
It was ok. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I've enjoyed a couple others by Llywelyn. Red Branch was much more enjoyable. In general I like her books but this one seemed a bit weak to me, I felt like it was dragging on to a disappointing ending.



As always she is very strong in the history. There is a sense of knowing the Irish in this book but yet something disappoints me? Perhaps it is the senes of Shakespearean tragety that encompases the book. Red Branch had that sense of the tragic fate ye
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Sarah Stanfield
Sep 06, 2014 Sarah Stanfield rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book so, so badly. But the truth is, I just couldn't get through it. I hesitate to give this a poor rating, because it could just be me, but I just couldn't get into the story. It's so tantalizing--ever since I married a man from Ireland eight years ago, Irish mythology has intrigued me greatly, and nothing more than the Tuatha Dé Danann, the mythical race that conquered Ireland, who were then conquered by the sons of Milos, the mythical forebears of the modern-day Irish. U ...more
Lady Heinz
Apr 21, 2014 Lady Heinz rated it liked it
It was difficult to get into at first, but I'm glad I kept at it! I admit to skipping over a few passages...but the end of the book was exciting and certainly kept my interest. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.
Pat
Nov 13, 2015 Pat rated it it was amazing
Beautiful epic adventure story of the Celts in Iberia and their move to Ireland. Totally believable and full of the real movements they made to arrive and settle Ireland.
Ruth
I read this the month before I read The Horse Goddess, and in comparing notes it seems I did not like this one as well: Does a good job of bringing the myth to life.
Lora
Jul 27, 2016 Lora rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
When I picked this up from where it's been sitting for years collecting dust, I thought I was re-reading it, only to discover I was completely wrong. What a treat! I have admired many of Llywelyn's novels and her ability to tie words together in complex, beautiful knot work. While not quite a historical novel, some characters and events are based in the Irish tradition. Reading the afterword and looking at the bibliography were interesting and helpful in understanding the writer's choices. Like ...more
Mary Follis
Good story with an up-in-the-air ending.
Andrea
Feb 11, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it
Interesting take on the history of Ireland.
Devlynne Thackerays
Feb 03, 2016 Devlynne Thackerays rated it it was amazing
Song of Amergin.
Ann Doyle
Jun 22, 2014 Ann Doyle rated it it was amazing
Loved this!
Stacy
Jul 19, 2015 Stacy rated it really liked it
Good read. Someone commented on this being a romance but I just can't see that since the girl isn't even met until the end. And no other people have any romance going on in this tribe, just jealousy & testosterone. The Bard's relationship with the girl strikes as odd since he describes her race as so small & frail, childlike. So the book is about the culture & the struggle that sends the people looking for land & the bloodthirsty ways of the people who need war so badly that peac ...more
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Morgan Llywelyn (born 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.
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