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Tales of the Elders of Ireland
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Tales of the Elders of Ireland

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Tales of the Elders of Ireland is the first complete translation of the late Middle-Irish Acallam na Senorach, the largest literary text surviving from twelfth-century Ireland. It contains the earliest and most comprehensive collection of Fenian stories and poetry, intermingling the contemporary Christian world of Saint Patrick with his scribes; clerics; occasional angels ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 11th 1999)
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For someone who goes out of her way to read and translate Irish and Welsh mythology, well, it took me forever to get to this. Now I remember why. This material--not the translation, mind you, but the material itself--makes me want to shake people really really hard. The text was transcribed in either the 12th or 13th century, which is part of the problem. Because, you know, this version was recorded so much further from the historical source material, and thus pretty terribly corrupted.

Also, in
Amanda Coppedge
This was a dense but interesting read.
May 14, 2014 Barry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tales of the Elders of Ireland is a translation of 12th century Irish manuscripts of Acallam na Senórach or "The Colloquy of the Ancients". It follows the travels of the last survivors of the Fianna, an ancient Irish warrior band originally led by Fionn mac Cumhaill. The two remaining warriors are Oisín and his cousin Caílte, both of whom are Fionn's son and nephew, respectively.

The narrative is mostly concerned with the travels of Caílte around Ireland and his explanation of various place-names
Mark Sacha
Tales reads like a medieval text (which it is). Not the most enjoyable thing to read, but it's interesting in its own right. It's essentially written in question and answer format, wherein various bits of Irish mythology (chiefly the Fenian cycle) are explained in the context of places and things that were named after the events. This narrative style is very repetitive, and it can take a bit of concentration and self-motivation to pay attention to the multitude of figures and stories that are tr ...more
May 05, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish literature fans, mythology fans
Very interesting as being the oldest surviving version of the Irish heroic legends. Also notable for the generally friendly relationship between the Christian and pre-Christian cultures in Ireland as depicted in these legends.
The basic pattern of the stories is that Cailte, one of the few survivors of the Irish heroic age, is traveling around Ireland, most of the time with St. Patrick, and when they reach a landmark --often, though not always, a gravemound--
Cailte tells Patrick's party the story
I am an undergraduate and I recently read this one for my British Literature 1 class. We read the entire thing, and we were also required to learn a story very well and tell it to the class. I admit I found the book difficult to read and very repetitive at times, but there were aspects that I really enjoyed. My favorite story (and the one that I chose to tell in class) was the story of how Finn mac Cumhaill came to be the chieftain of the Fiana. The aspect that made this book the most difficult ...more
Nov 29, 2015 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with an interest in medieval Irish literature
Recommended to Jean by: Oxford University Press
Best read aloud and in small bites. Ancient Irish literature is an acquired taste, but it mirrors the interests of the many groups, working together, that produced it. Superb, dense introduction by two master scholars lays out the topics that both apprentice and journeyman with interests in early Ireland need to understand about the structure of early Irish society and how the secular and Christian sectors often interacted to produce a hybrid literature. The book itself is rich in lore, each pie ...more
Miriam Joy

Me about a month ago: I'm definitely not going to be caught out by Dissertation Form 2 this year! I'm totally up on what I need to be doing. Absolutely.

Me two days ago: Dissertation Form 2 is due next week???!?!?!!?!?! WHAT?

Me now: help

(also, I need there to be more editions of this on Goodreads so I can repeatedly add it
Jan 05, 2015 Renée rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ultimate Dinnsenchas, or Placename-telling, and Fenian lore. It is an acquired taste I suppose.
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Goodreads Librari...: How can I combine books by "Anonymous"? 8 32 Jun 24, 2015 10:13PM  
  • The Celtic Heroic Age
  • The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
  • Early Irish Myths and Sagas
  • Over Nine Waves
  • Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales
  • A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures
  • Dictionary of Celtic Mythology
  • Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland
  • Pagan Celtic Ireland: The Enigma of the Irish Iron Age
  • Y Gododdin
  • Ancient Irish Tales
  • Celtic Mythology
  • Irish Folk Tales
  • The Gods of the Celts
  • Celtic Gods and Heroes (Celtic, Irish)
  • Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions
  • The Ancient Celts
  • People of the Sea

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