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The Hounds of the Mórrígan

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,433 ratings  ·  221 reviews
A wonderfully written fantasy set in the west of Ireland, which tells of the coming of the Great Queen who is bent on bringing destruction to the world. Only Pidge and Brigit can stop her, and their task seems impossible as they're constantly trailed by the queen's hounds. But they're aided in their quest by a host of willing helpers - a glorious array of unforgettable cha ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 5th 2003 by Oxford University Press (first published December 1st 1985)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  3,433 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's difficult to know what I could add to this discussion thread that hasn't been covered, as I agree with so many of the accolades given to O'Shea's lyrical storytelling and the richness of the world he's created here. Like several other reviewers, I find this is a book I return to because I just never tire of this finely wrought fairy tale.

One reviewer used the term "lovable" and though it's one I normally wouldn't apply or even spontaneously think of in relation to a book (sounds kind of go
Michelle Durnsford
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have a very warm place in my heart for this book. I was given it as a Christmas present when it first came out in paperback, many moons ago when I was of the target age group and I was instantly swept away to the emerald isle and lived in its wondrous mythology from start to finish. I reread it many times and found new bits everytime, and I guess it became a comfort read for those times when I needed to escape reality for a while. Now many years later I have children of my own and I read it to ...more
The Hounds of the Morrigan is one of the best children's/YA fantasy novels I .ever read I wish it was better known outside Ireland, the place where it is set. It deals a lot with Irish/Celtic Myths. This makes it special and sets it appart from the fantasy books you usually find, which are often more or less just variations of The Lord of The Rings or Narnia.

The story is set both in modern-day Ireland and in a fantasy world through the two protagonists, ten-year-old pidge and his little sister B
It makes me wonder if I've ever gone on any adventures I've forgotten, as well. Do other people ever get an inexpiable feeling whenever they see a weasel? ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-loans
Let me just say, if you haven't read this charming, adventure packed book, you are missing out! I suppose it falls into the category of fantasy, technically, but it differs from standard fantasy in a lot of ways. The protagonist, Pidge, is quite young and the main relationship dynamic of the book is between him and his younger sister Brigit, who is, as he describes her, "five years old and five years daft." They're extremely protective of each other and perfectly happy in each others' company, w ...more
Tim Collins
Sep 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
I so seldom give 1 star and this really should be more of a 1.5. Never have I been so incredibly bored and unmoved by a young adult book. The real issue here is how pointless the entirely plot is and how weak the main characters are.

The plot is summed up best by this: Pidge and Bridget must stop an evil witch. They have no idea where they are going but they go. A god-like good guy (the Dadga) is watching over them and sending animals to help them along there journey. The journey includes Pidge
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growing tired of looking at the table landscape, Breda Fairfoul yawned and allowed a small frown to appear on her forehead.
‘It becomes tedious between moves,’ she remarked and to pass the time, she began to read a book by a great Russian genius whose name was Tolstoy. The name of the book was ‘War and Peace.’ As she read, she chewed her tobacco quid with relish and spat from time to time.
Breda closed the book.
‘Too much Peace; not enough War,’ she complained with a profound, critical air
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-read
Just like the protagonist, Pidge, who finds a book under strange circumstances, I found this book originally at a library book sale and was strangely drawn to it. I loved it! O'Shea is (was?) a wonderful storyteller. The characters are alive and vivid. The dialogue is very well-written and gives a very Irish flavor to the book. The exposition is never heavy-handed or clumsy, which I always find is a tendency in books with a fantasy setting. The fantastic aspects themselves are told so simply and ...more
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love to re-read this novel every couple years. It should be considered a children's classic. It's so amazing! Pat O'Shea's writing is lyrical, beautiful, humorous, and incredibly imaginative! The twists and turns are unexpected but believable. Even though I know what's going to happen, I always feel the children's fear and tension when the hounds are nearby. Pidge, down-to-earth and protective, and Brigit with her courage and literal humor are two of the most delightful characters in children' ...more
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many books I read as a child that I've thought to pass on to my own children, but only rarely have I discovered the same sort of books as an adult. The Hounds of the Morrigan absolutely fits into this category. It's longer than many of those favorite childhood books, but it contains just the right amounts of adventure, humor, and sweetness. And if it proves too long for the children in my life to read themselves, I think it'd be tremendous fun to read aloud. If you enjoy fond memories ...more
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy, mythology, or youth lit fiction fans
Recommended to Laura by: no one
Seriously the best book I haphazardly stumbled upon and bought impulsively at a bookstore. It is a fantastic youth lit novel, about magic and godesses of destruction and death and celtic mythology and ireland. also, it is deliciously long so there is plenty to read and enjoy.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers - Readers Who Appreciate Marvelous & Magical Tales, Full of Beauty & Pathos
I adore this book! Thirteen years in the writing, and one of only three works that Galway-born author Pat O'Shea ever published - the two others being Finn Mac Cool and the Small Men of Deeds , a slender collection of retold tales from the Fionn Cycle, and an early-reader entitled The Magic Bottle - this sprawling children's fantasy is a masterpiece, and simply a joy to read! I love pretty much everything about it, from its wealth of folkloric references to its discursive style, and inclu ...more
Jul 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Hm, I wish I could give this 3.5 stars.

This landscape crackles with Celtic magic. Every weed in the sidewalk and cloud in the sky is weighty with folkloric significance as two spunky children go on a brave journey to thwart the evil Morrigan--the triple goddess of death and war and destruction. They encounter the whole pantheon of Celtic gods and goddesses-- Brigit and Angus Og, The Dagda--heroes and warriors-- Finn MacCool and the seven Maines, druids and giants and helping beasts.

This is the o
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Equal parts humor, cute, suspense, folklore and fantasy makes for an excellent read. I wish I could compile all my favorite passages to just prove that this book was very artfully written and deserves a high rating.

Ten-year old Pidge (nickname for P.J. which is short for Patrick James or something) and his five-year old sister Brigit expect to have a normal day waiting for the return of their father from a trip. But they are soon approached by Boodie and Patsy, a delightful odd couple who explai
Clare O'Beara
This is an Irish rural fantasy in the tradition of storyteller Patricia Lynch.
A boy and girl buy an old book in a bookshop and begin to notice strange events and people. Three sisters come and rent a glasshouse nearby to live in; they are actually three witches.

The Morrigan is a Celtic goddess of war and death, and she sets her hounds to follow the children and try to frighten them into giving up the book. In this way a gap is formed between this world and the misty world of myth, where a craf
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this beautiful Irish story in the 8th grade. If you're not one for thick books and small print, I wouldn't suggest this one to you. Or at least, find it in on tape or something. It's a story about a brother and sister who become caught up in a magical battle between good and evil and will ultimately determine which way the world sways in terms of sin or salvation. It's a gorgeous celtic tale that I would recommend to anyone with a vivid imagination. There's nothing that can't or wont happ ...more
(This is one of the books I'm pretty sure I read as a kid, but since it was a library book I can't check - and that would have been almost twenty years ago, anyway, so please don't ask me about details. :D) ...more
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When I was 10 years old – before I knew what fantasy was, before there was Harry Potter or The Golden Compass – this was the story I read and dreamed about and loved. The one that, so to speak, started it all.

“The Hounds of the Mórrígan” by Pat O’Shea is a relatively unknown book. I occasionally come across Irishmen who remember having read it in school or a children’s fantasy enthusiast, who has at least heard of the story, but rarely have I met anyone who loves this book as much as I do.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, loved
A beautiful tale through the Irish Mythologies. It makes me want to read more about it, and see if this story and the myths line up.

Following Pige and his sister Brigit this story is about how they meet many of the heroes in Irish folklore all while trying to defeat the Morrigan and her brood.

Really can't say much more than that without telling the whole story basically if you can get a copy to read do it, as it is magical, sweet, and one of those stories that you can read again and again and
Boze Herrington
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is high on the list of my favorite fantasy novels I've read. The distinctly Irish setting and skillful interweaving of Celtic mythology make it unique among books in this genre. And while it is certainly epic in scope, the moments of danger are interspersed with comedic bits that evoke Monty Python. For example, there's a recurring gag involving a talking frog and some coppers who are bad at their jobs. I liked this - the book is very funny and I think more heroic fantasies should be funny ...more
Apr 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I found _The Hounds of the Morrigan_ to be a light fantasy. The story moves right along and probably is more appropriate for a YA audience, but I enjoyed it. I have a fascination with Irish mythology and history, so that was part of the attraction for me. There are many good life lessons throughout the story--pay it forward, be kind to the earth and its creatures, be attentive to the moment, distinguish between wants and needs, etc.--but the author manages to not lecture the reader. My main quib ...more
Mael Brigde
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-love-this
My new favourite book.

Well, almost. There's one other ([Peace is Every Step] by [[Thich Nhat Hanh]]) that is never likely to be displaced. But it is Buddhist mindfulness teachings and this is fantastic fiction, so they aren't really in competition.

So why do I like this book so much? Well, to begin with, there's the writing. O'Shea is a deft and able writer, with that bit extra that makes her prose yet more vivid. I open the book to grab a random example and get this, "In a moment, there was the
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply amazing! I have never read a book so catching like this one! Recommended to kids and adults! It is a story that once read won't ever leave you. ...more
Sue Chant
Absolutely delightful.
Douglas Hayes
A children's book of some 670 pages - a massive accomplishment for any child. I generally enjoyed reading the book because it was set in modern Ireland, and I was able to imagine the children, Pidge and Brigit, galavanting around the streets of Galway, and struggling through their adventures over the mountains and lakes that I had the opportunity to visit earlier this year (thus, my motive for picking up the book).

On the whole it was a fun read, though slightly tedious because the author piled
Viki Holmes
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storyology
***December 2019 re-read***

I love this gorgeous Celtic fairytale-inspired fantasy with a deep and abiding love, and re-read it almost as often as I do The Dark Is Rising Sequence (which, by the way, it's almost time to dip into again for the Midwinter re-read!) . It is just the most beautifully wrought, gloriously populated world; with the most loveable characterisations, and the most rip-roaringly epic adventures. Every time I read it I adore it more, especially the tiniest spider and his reque
Nov 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely sure what I think of this now that I've finished. I enjoyed the story and most of the characters (a few of the minor characters the children interacted with got on my nerves a little). I thought it was interesting and well-written. On the other hand, it seemed a little long. It's not that it dragged in any particular spot, or that there was any place where I could say, "That wasn't important and could have been cut out." It's just that 600 pages of following two young children s ...more
Ethan Rose
Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a fun romp through Irish Mythology. It is definately a middle reader book without any really horific or tragic happening. The protaganists are two young children who wander almost aimlessly through the adventure. They are helped along by various characters out of Celtic mythology. Pat O'shea knows her myths and presents them in an amusing way. ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book I remembered from my childhood, so I really wanted to enjoy it. I think that how much this story resonates with the reader has (compared to many other books) a much closer connection to the character of the reader, rather than the actual quality of content. My sister has always loved this book, while I could only remember bits and pieces from experiencing it as a child and that I had found it quite difficult to follow the story.
Upon finally rereading this after about... ten-ish y
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Pen name of Patricia Mary Shiels O'Shea

Pat O'Shea (22 January 1931 – 3 May 2007), was an award-winning and best-selling children's fiction writer. She was born in Galway and was the youngest of 5 children. Her first novel was the best-selling The Hounds of the Morrigan, which took 13 years to complete. It was finally published in 1985 by Oxford University Press, translated into five languages, and

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