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Traditional Irish Fairy Tales
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Traditional Irish Fairy Tales

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,700 ratings  ·  61 reviews
1 Tuan Mac Cairill recounts his time with first settlers of Ireland to priest who tries to convert him
2 The Birth of Bran
3 The Little Brawl at Allen
4 The Enchanted Cave of Cesh Corran
5 Becuma of the White Skin
6 Mongan's Frenzy

.. and more
Paperback, Illustrated, 208 pages
Published June 12th 1996 by Dover Publications (first published 1920)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  1,700 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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'In truth we do not go to Faery, we become faery, and in the beating of a pulse we may live for a year or a thousand years.'

A good collection, very funny and with that uniquely Irish feel to it. And I should say that this is not so much a collection of Irish fairy tales as a collection of Irish sagas, interactions with the daoine sídhe woven through them.

A few of the tales are beautifully told, in particular The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill,

'The green tides of ocean rose over me a/>
Perry Whitford
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently read an excellent book of some less well known fairy tales ('The Fairy Ring', free online at Gutenberg) and glibly joked that the four Gaelic stories included were a little disappointing because none of them featured a leprechaun!

I resolved to find a book dedicated solely to Irish fairy tales.

Well, 'Irish Fairy Tales' by James Stephens doesn't have any leprechauns either, but that is hardly a let down. No, these stories are steeped in the very depths of Irish folklore, from the same sources that Yea('The
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because everyone is using Faery in their stories and I wanted to have a better understanding of the mythology that people are (loosely) pulling from. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed these tales.

My favorite aspects of the book as a whole:

Religious Conflict: The conflict is not fighting. It is in the voice of the author, minds of the people and their view of the other. Many of tales have individuals interacting with Christians who are new a
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm going to preface this review with how this came about.

So a good friend of mine recently bought me an eReader, which I'm pretty happy about. The online store for this eReader has a free section that I have taken full advantage of, and this eBook just happened to be one of them. I realized something after I started reading it, that it is highly unlikely that I would have bought this book in a store, and it's also unlikely that I would have picked it up from my local library
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2015
This was weird. I was expecting Irish Fairy Tales that hopefully could be traced back to other books and so, or that I could match with the few I know myself, it was not. It was mostly tales mixed with Christian beliefs (which looks weird), and mostly about the amazing Fionn.
They don't seem to be together, even though they reccount the life and adventures of Fionn, but every now and then there are stories who have nothing to do with him and that seem disjointed, because I can't put them in
Jennifer Booth
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very earther

I loved reading the myths, greAt use of footnotes. I began to read under the influence of The Beatles, pink Floyd and Peter noone. Very trippy.
Nisha Whitehead
Jun 10, 2007 rated it liked it
"Indeed, Fionn loved Saeve as he had not loved a woman before and would never love one again. He loved her as he had never loved anything before. He could not bear to be away from her. When he saw her, he did not see the world, and when he saw the world without her, it was as though he saw nothing or as if he looked on a prospect that was bleak and depressing. The belling of a stag had been music to Fionn but when Saeve spoke, that was sound enough for him....his wife's voice was sweeter to Fion ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-and-sweet
A collection of short Irish fairy tales, mostly centred around Fionn and the Fianna.
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1000-lives
its good to begin an ireland's adventure!
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Irish Lore

This was my first exposure to the land of the Faery and the Shi or other world. I found the first story to be very slow moving and debated continuing reading . After doing some research on Irish Folk Lore and on Fionn (Finn ) I decided to continue on with the book.
Although there were parts of the book I found enjoyable it is my hope to do some additional research and find another book to try.

Brian H
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
awesome stories. some my grams told me.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it

This was an enjoyable collection to read. Stephens' writing was much better than I was expecting -- for some reason I thought it would be a very flowery, wordy, forced-archaic style, but it turned out to be clean and lively. The tales are broken down weirdly, in that each "chapter" of a tale is short and hardly worth the page break. And in some of the tales the author wedges in some kind of "old gods vs new christianity" motif that contributes little to the overall story. But those are minor gripes.


Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We've managed in the space of three volumes to run the available gamut of titles for books of tales of Irish fairies and come full circle, as it were. These aren't even the sort of fairy tales I was looking for, being mostly about Finn and the Fianna, but actually, there's a good deal of fairy stuff in here, so I think it was worthwhile from that point of view.

So it opens with the story of a man here since the first people came to Ireland after the flood and follows on down through m
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, fantasy
The story of Tuan, The son of Cairill- So a priest finds out some man hasn't been converted and goes to talk to him. Tuan literally reveals that he has ben around since the first man stepped foot on Ireland. Tells a story of many reincarnations of his life and still and the end the priest wants to convert him. sigh.

The Boyhood of Fionn-A lot of these stories end up being about Fionn, so this story tells of his growing up and how he became such a inspiration.

The Birth of B
Hannah Stewart
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I understand that it's old-time Faerie tales but it was delivered in an old time, dull way. Could have modernised it even slightly and it would have been a less 'heavy' read.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Before I was unceremoniously sued by Stephen Crane's people, my debut novel The Red Badge of Discourage seemingly struck discord in the hearts of the illiterate everywhere.

The protagonist, a male anti-hero who courts a girl whose surname he continually forgets, finds himself displaced in a small rural community who nightly rub ointment on their wounds before they head straight to bed. This community, Follidaze Heights, does not exist and is not real, which is basically what you have to do when you write a
Several months ago I read Evangeline Walton’s Mabinogion Tetralogy. Her homages to Welsh myths were lyrically told; they contained characters whose struggles and motivations were extraordinarily compelling, and the gender dynamics in particular were sensitively and insightfully written. Walton proudly expressed her loyalty to her source material, saying that she did not cut anything from the original Welsh tales, but only fleshed out what was there. Having been charmed by Walton’s stories, I eag ...more
William Korn
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Those of you that read Stephens' The Crock of Gold and loved it as much as I did should read this book as well. This "modern" (1920) retelling of well-known Irish tales has copious helpings of his understated humor, brilliant and loving descriptions of the lands of both Ireland and Faery, perceptive analyses of the movers and shakers of ancient Ireland and Faery, who were more than human but with all the human foibles, and more. But more than all of this, Stephens' love of his culture and his herita ...more
Douglas Cootey
This was a fascinating collection of fairy tales, if a bit uneven. I didn't expect the stories to be paced according to modern sensibilities, but neither did I expect them to be so witty. That was a pleasant surprise. Most of the stories were from the Fionn Cycle and referenced Fionn often. Sometimes these tales dragged for me, especially when focusing on battle prowess. However, there were enough tales involving the lords and ladies of Faerie and the humans who outwitted them to balance things ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I bought my Kindle, I spent the next couple of weeks downloading as many free books as I could. Of course I got tons of fairy tale, myth, and legend books, and in honor of my man, I started with the Irish fairy tales. I was thinking this would be a quick, perhaps even boring, skim and would maybe give me a few pieces of useful material for short stories or even novels. Boy, was I wrong. I laughed out loud at the cleverness of the tales, and whether that's Stephens's translation or character ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
This book started out being a continuous narrative of Irish folk lore. Tales that are not continuous themselves. I thought the attempt was interesting, but then he gave it up and said yeah these next stories were just told by Finn's son because he spent a lot of time in faery and that's how he knows them, okay? Then those stories didn't make sense in that context either. So this was disappointing. As far as the stories I know go, they were told faithfully to the originals. One of the other probl ...more
An Odd1
1 Tuan McCairill
Abbot Finnian fasts on the doorstep to convert Tuan, who then admits he landed with Noah's Ark, but when population grew from 24 couples to 5K overall, a sickness took all but Tuan. After 22 years alone, he looked like a wild beast when Nemed landed 34 barques with 30 couples each. He was "hairy and tufty and bristled as a savage boar .. lean as a stripped bush .. greyer than a badger; withered and wrinkled like an empty sack; naked as a fish; wretched as a starving

.. to c
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fairy Tales are never meant for children, for only true adults-- that is to say-- they who have the capacity to respect and admire the amount of work that was put into writing a really good story can also grasp what it is inside fairy tales and other fantasy works that, even now, in the wake of technologies and smartphone wars, people all over the world still fell in love with fantasy genre.

This book's strength lies in the author's voice, and I have to say, it's a really good voice t
Aryani Yoe
I'm sure this is a very good book, but unfortunately i read the Bahasa version, i got really confused with the sentence (maybe because of the way in translating from English to Bahasa). I need to be very very very focused in reading this book to get understand the story (I believe this book is not that hard to understand).
Well if I got the English version, I would really glad to "re-read" this book :)
Jorge Rosas
Those were some bizarre tales, with Norsemen, Saxons, Welsh, Scottish and Britons involved. So if you’re expecting a fairy you better look somewhere else, in here it’s a whole kingdom apart. I did enjoy the Weapons of Mass Destruction, in the form of killer sheep. Christian mythos revolving and forcing their way in the old Celtic ones felt really forced, trying to put a date was really hard, when you have actual facts, fairy and corn around.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Not exactly what I hoped of this book, I was thinking it wold be more a collection of shot stories of various Irish Fairy tales, but it was an interesting read none the less. The entire book deals with Fionn, an Irish King, or his family. A love for folklore is the best reason to pick this up, as the writing nor the story telling is much to speak of.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
There are quite a few really great tales in this collection, most of them following Fionn or his relatives. I found most of these stories enchanting and whimsical. They made me feel like a child again. Some of them do get rather boring, however, and it seems that all of them end very abruptly, leaving the reader feeling jarred.
Jay Callahan
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mairtin O Cadhain, the great Irish (Gaelic) novelist, once commented that Stephens' writing embodied more of the Irish (Gaelic) language than the Irish (Gaelic) language itself--an overstatement, of course, but Stephens sure was good.

These are retellings of medieval manuscript tales, and, all I can say is that it would be nice if there were more of them.

A good book.

Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book of fairy tales. The stories were connected by reoccurring characters, which came as a surprise to me. The style is very meandering, the Irish way of story telling, I've learned, has a lot of tangents. Once I adjusted to the style, I quite enjoyed these tales.
I can't rate this book because Fairy Tales are word of mouth hand me downs from a lost age. In this book their told campfire style, and I enjoyed that but I wouldn't consider it good writing. Very fun, very worthwhile read though.
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James Stephens was an Irish novelist and poet. James' mother worked in the home of the Collins family of Dublin and was adopted by them. He attended school with his adopted brothers Thomas and Richard (Tom and Dick) before graduating as a solicitor's clerk. They competed and won several athletic competitions despite James' slight stature (he stood 4'10" in his socks). He was known affectionately a ...more
“Let the past be content with itself, for man needs forgetfulness as well as memory” 28 likes
“Tell me your past, my beloved, for a man is his past, and is to be known by it.” 14 likes
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