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Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish
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Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,749 ratings  ·  56 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.
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Paperback, 465 pages
Published March 15th 1987 by Tor Books (first published 1984)
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Carol
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
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
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
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.
Jmassa
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
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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Monica
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
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.
Diane
Jan 31, 2007 Diane rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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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Georgene
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.
Lisa
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
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
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.
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
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
Andrea
Interesting take on the history of Ireland.
Stacy
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
Grace
While this book is very well composed and very difficult to put down, it lacks a balance of characters (1 hero, 2 or 3 friends, and a wealth of antagonists of varying levels of evil) and has possibly the most truncated non-ending I've read in recent memory. Absolutely tragic the way the book just stops short right after bad complications occur, which happen right after what could have been a fine ending! Bah.
Lily
My GOSH, the storytelling in this book is beautiful! Fantastic! OUTSTANDING! Despite the pages being overly lengthy and flowery at times, I was completely hooked on the plot and characters. Everything about the story felt REAL, so real that there were moments where it didn’t feel like a work of fiction, but actual uhh... history? Anyway, I'm really happy I read this. IT HAS BLOWN MY MIND.
Jack Cavanaugh
This is the second book by Morgan Llywelyn I've read, and I wish I could say it left a better impression. It didn't. Just a matter of style. I prefer more historical than romance and -- especially with the actions scenes -- I found myself cringing. Not the author's strength. While I enjoy Irish settings and stories, I doubt that I'd read another book by this author.
Ashley
This was a book selected for book group and not one that I would typically choose. I do not like fantasy at all but I found that I actually enjoyed this book, probably because it's also historical fiction which I DO like. I found it interesting and believable- the fantasy wasn't overkill and was just used as part of their beliefs and how it affected their lives.
Gale
Aug 11, 2012 Gale added it
Though there were a couple of things left hanging in the story, and I was not pleased with the ending, I did enjoy this one very much. I have not read any other books by Morgan Llywelyn; perhaps those things left hanging would be answered in subsequent books. I shall read the next one in the series.
Joshua Merrick
A slow starter, but by chapter three I was completely taken and unable to put it down. Superbly researched, exquisitely written - this book is as evocative of the Celtic heritage as any I've come across, I could almost hear the music as I read, and by morning's light I longed for the green shores if Ierne!
Amber
The legends of Ireland come to life in simultaneous stories about the Tuatha de Dannon, the Gaelicians, Druids, trade in that time and I'm sure there's so much more but I'm only about 1/4 of the way through the book. I'll update this when I finish. So far it's really good.
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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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“She enjoys rain for its wetness, winter for its cold, summer for its heat. She loves rainbows as much for fading as for their brilliance. It is easy for her, she opens her heart and accepts everything.” 93 likes
“Bodies wear out to remind us they are temporary, and force us to spend more thought on our spirits” 5 likes
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