Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Some Home-Grown Fairy Tales

The reason for today’s post is three-fold: I’m using it firstly as an excuse to show off these beautiful paintings by local artist Ros Harvey, secondly to give a little shout out to my newest follower Celtic Lady, and finally for its original purpose which was to share these links to fae tales from fair Inishowen.

All the stories below were taken from a website dedicated to a wee town called Moville, just down the road from me. As far as I know the site’s run by one man. A bit of a modern day Yeats, this fella has gathered up local folk and fairy lore from various sources and included the collection in his history and genealogy of the area. If you have an afternoon free some day, I thoroughly recommend taking some time out to read them. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and the images by Ms Harvey just happen to be of the area where most of the stories are set.

Well here you go, tales of pesky Sidhe meddling with the lives of us mere mortals:

A Date With Death- One man's warning from the wee folk.

The Fairy Rope- A lucky find for two Buncrana factory girls.

Blind Man’s Buff- It's not hard to find someone in Ireland to spin you a yarn or two about a fool who axed a fairy tree and even now all these years later they still always go something like this.

Fairy Magic Around the Coasts of Inishowen- This one is a gem. It reads like an old pre-Tolkien fantasy and was written in 1867 by a historian named Maghtochair. I’m trying to figure out some way to include it in our wedding whenever we manage to get round to organising it.

Marriage on the Rocks- Another one I’m thinking of working into my wedding, about a man who marries a selkie.

The Tuatha de Danann- Finally, here’s a little something for anyone who liked ‘about the title’. It contains bags more information on Danu and her children, along with other summaries of old Irish legends.

Images © Ros Harvey


JJ Beazley said...

Super pictures, Roisin (your comment reminded me of the difference in dialect I questioned when I was in Donegal, incidentally.) The top one looks so like the way I imagined the setting of my own selkie story. Will enjoy reading the stories later.

TheAmazingFoxworthBlog said...

What a deadly blog you've got going here roisin!!!! Really loving the ambiance here - i'll definitely be dropping in more often now i know where to find you :-)

Lillian Chang said...

Ooh, I'll definitely be storing this away for future readings!! I love fairy tales...what a wonderful idea :)

Róisín said...

Lillian and JJ- Hope you enjoy the stories whenever you get round to reading them!

Jimmy- Glad you like it and sorry for keeping you in the dark all this time. At least now I can follow yours openly without fear of being discovered!

JJ Beazley said...

I've already read and enjoyed them. Thanks. I have two anthologies of Irish folk and fairy tales, and The Celtic Twilight is one of my favourite books.

JJ Beazley said...


Are they your eyes in your avi? If so, incredible.

JJ Beazley said...


I'll tell you what's odd. I swear that figure wasn't in the top picture when I first looked at it!

ruthie said...

dear roisin, thank you so for this link, such beautiful paintings. i have only visited ireland once and long to go again. I am off for a peep at these tales you mention, they are just the sort of thing i love. x

Róisín said...

Hi Ruthie- I hope you enjoyed the stories, though I’m sure you’ve probably grown up with similar ones yourself. You’re from Scotland, aren’t you? Despite the fact my mum’s from Lanarkshire I’ve only ever been a couple of times and I too long to return! My grandfather’s people are from Oban and it used to be possible to hitch a ride with a fishing boat from nearby here that would take you up there for a pittance. Unfortunately, the pervasive bureaucracy that is the EU put an end to that with all their ‘health and safety’ malarkey. You know, round here they used to say that Glasgow was the capital of Donegal, not Dublin. It made sense cause in the days before cars it was quicker to reach by boat. Today there’s even an airport over in the west of the county that only flies to Scotland and back. I think you’d feel quite at home in that part of the world!

JJ- those are indeed my eyes but it’s a flattering picture, probably on account of the cat make up and the fact that for once my squint didn’t show up in a photograph. Thanks for your kind words though!

JJ Beazley said...

Do you know, I was sure you were going to say that picture was a publicity still from Cats or something. There's lots I could say about your eyes, Roisin, but I aint gonna to say any of it.

And here's another thing about your post to Ruthie about Scotland. When I was in Donegal, the pub I settled on as my 'regular' was The Scotsman. And the only other foreigner frequenting the place was - a Scotsman!

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