Irish myths legends and folklore

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irish myths legends and folklore

A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend and Folklore by W.B. Yeats

William Butler Yeats (pronounced /ˈjeɪts/) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, serving as its chief during its early years. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation. He was the first Irishman so honored. Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).

Yeats was born and educated in Dublin but spent his childhood in County Sligo. He studied poetry in his youth, and from an early age was fascinated by both Irish legends and the occult. Those topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and those slow paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser and Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as to the Pre-Raphaelite poets. From 1900, Yeats poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life.
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The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland was preserved in a highly-conservative oral tradition. Though the Christian influence is also seen in these manuscripts, this literature represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branches of Celtic mythology. Although many of the manuscripts have not survived and much more material was probably never committed to writing, there is enough remaining to enable the identification of distinct, if overlapping, cycles: the Mythological Cycle , the Ulster Cycle , the Fenian Cycle and the Historical Cycle. There are also a number of extant mythological texts that do not fit into any of the cycles, and many recorded folk tales that continued as the oral tradition ran parallel to the manuscript tradition which, while not strictly mythological, feature personages from one or more of these four cycles. Depending on the sources, the importance of gods and goddesses in Irish mythology varies. The geographical tales, Dindshenchas , emphasize the importance of female divinities and powerful ancestors, while the historical tradition focuses on the colonizers, inventors, or male warriors with the female characters only intervening in episodes.

One of the old customs of May Day in Ireland was to protect your home and heard of cows from the Cailleachs hags or old…. Not strictly an Irish folklore tale but as Mary Carrick did immigrate to America from Ireland we decided it worth including. This story was told…. Ghosts in Ireland of ladies tend to appear in a multitude of colours. Mainly one reads of the Grey Lady or the White Lady or….

Ireland's long history is riddled with ancient mythology and folklore. Ireland's ancient societies, the Druids and the Celtics, believed in the power.
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The many myths and legends of Ireland form the basis of early Irish history and the structure of Gaelic society. Yet unlike much Celtic mythology, the mythology of Ireland, it's legends, its folklore and mythical figures, have stood the test of time informing elements of Irish culture throughout its history. The survival of Irish mythology and folklore owes much to the Romans and the fact that they decided Ireland was too distant a territory to conquer and left the country alone. This allowed the Celts of Ireland to develop a Gaelic society of their own that even with the conversion to Christianity, held a certain autonomy from the rest of Christian Europe. Indeed, though they altered the religious significance of the mythologies, the religious clerics of the Dark Ages and Medieval Period transformed much of Ireland's ancient oral history into texts such as the Annals of the Four Masters and the Book of Leinster, which are found at Trinity College. Irish mythology, folk tales and history is separated into four cycles - the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Historical Cycle. These cycles define important events in Irish history, from the Invasions of Ireland by the various Celtic tribes, to the division of the country into the five Gaelic provinces of Ulster, Leinster, Meath, Connacht and Munster, which with the exception of Meath are still used in the administration of Ireland.

Story telling is a hugely important part of Irish culture and heritage. So many of our playwrights, novelists and poets are literary greats, and our musicians and filmmakers are highly successful too; all of which are, not so coincidentally, mediums where story telling is paramount. Irish people are a naturally sociable race so storytelling is an inherent part of interactions between the natives, whether in the form of a joke or a longer account of an event or situation. Before our society was a literate one, the tradition was even more important as recounting stories of an evening was how young children learned important life lessons, how family histories were passed down to new generations, and how the various myths and folklore of the country stayed alive. Even today, children still hear of some of these stories in school or in Irish fairytale books.


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    Ireland’s myths and legends |

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    Main article: Irish folklore. During the first few years of the 20th Century, Herminie T. Kavanagh wrote down many Irish folk tales which.

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    Irish Mythology

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