Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Over Nine Waves” as Want to Read:
Over Nine Waves
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Over Nine Waves

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  377 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
'These legends are the action-packed stories - of ancient heroes, huge battles, attempted invasions, prophecies and spells, clashes between the underworld and the real world, abductions, love affairs and feasts - which have fascinated the Irish mind for more than 2,000 years . . . Most of them have an extraordinary, stark narrative sweep, with a marvellous sense of detail ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 22nd 1995 by Faber Faber (first published March 1st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Over Nine Waves, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Over Nine Waves

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
This book is really hard to rate.
The first part about Tuatha De Danaan is really interesting and fun to read, while the second one has Cuchulainn who has to be the most annoying and despise-worthy character in history of literature. The third part is simply boring and full of forgettable characters. The book ends with a short stories about Irish saints, but nothing one wouldn't find on Wikipedia.
I'd recommend reading it up to the tale of Macha and then moving on to something else.
A. Mary
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish-myth
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.
Michael Cahill
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable read for anybody with Irish roots or an interest in Celtic mythology. Heaney's aim was to make these fantastic old stories come alive, and I for one think she hit the mark.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Highly readable, and collected from various translations and combined to create coherent versions for the lay reader.
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mythology, irish
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
Scott Pomfret
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful modern but faithful retelling of the main legends of Irish literature. Heaney has a breezy, action-driven approach to the tales that still has a certain emotional resonance (often involving wounded pride). Madness, vengeance, sorrow, teamwork, courage abound, as well as some wonderful descriptions of beauty and Ireland and Tir Na nOg. The Tuatha de Danaan, the Children of Lir, Cuchulainn, and the Fianna are all included here. There is perhaps less focus on certain characters ...more
Alison Lang
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Ronan Mcdonnell
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The writing is as beautiful as you would expect from Marie Heaney. But the stories are not very good.
Irish epics have been collected from the oak traditions and made into the various myths we know today over the last 200 years. This was an important part of our nation building.
So much so, that the stories feel like they have been editing to ensure they include everything an epic should have. But they lack credibility. The characters are glib personifications of whatever quality; the supernatura
M.M. Strawberry Reviews
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Marie Pennington
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
"Za dziewiątą falą. Księga legend irlandzkich" to książka, którą czyta się z ogromną przyjemnością, choć widzę ją raczej w rękach osób zainteresowanych szeroko pojętą mitologią oraz folklorem. Pozostałym czytelnikom raczej nie przypadłaby do gustu.

Całość na:
Initially NO
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When you have words in your language and you've never known the stories behind them, it's eye-opening to read the old symbolic stories compiled so well, that give the etymology of those words you've been using without realising the full context.

The book also has endnotes that give the Irish pronunciation of words/ names used in the stories.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a re-read and I remembered instantly why I loved it. I found it frustrating in part, and I am guessing the English reduces the Irish effect. But I met all the legends and characters like old friends and relished their stories.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, ireland
Une version moderne des cycles mythologiques irlandais, à la fois bien ré-écrits et presque complets. Indispensable.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reread. Originally read in 2000.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
As all of the mythologies throughout the world, even the Irish one is full of vain fuckboys.
Steve M
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rich diet, like all folktale collections, but well worth the indulgence.
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2011
rated it liked it
Sep 13, 2011
rated it it was ok
Jun 18, 2012
rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2010
Laurie Tysinger
rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2012
rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2012
Micheal Ua Seaghdha
rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Mar 05, 2012
Ben Fitts
rated it liked it
Feb 02, 2018
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dictionary of Celtic Mythology
  • Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland
  • Tales of the Elders of Ireland
  • Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales
  • The Celtic Heroic Age
  • People of the Sea
  • Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend
  • Celtic Gods and Heroes
  • Pagan Celtic Britain
  • Early Irish Myths and Sagas
  • Women in Celtic Myth: Tales of Extraordinary Women from the Ancient Celtic Tradition
  • Celtic Mythology
  • Classic Celtic Fairy Tales
  • Celtic Myths and Legends (Myths of the World)
  • Irish Folk Tales
  • Pagan Celtic Ireland: The Enigma of the Irish Iron Age
  • The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit
  • The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual