Early Irish Myths and Sagas

Early Irish Myths and Sagas

Translator: Jeffrey Gantz

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140443974
  • 288 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


First written down in the eighth century AD, these early Irish stories depict a far older world—part myth, part legend and part history. Rich with magic and achingly beautiful, they speak of a land of heroic battles, intense love and warrior ideals, in which the otherworld is explored and men mingle freely with the gods. From the vivid adventures of the great Celtic hero Cu Chulaind, to the stunning “Exile of the Sons of Uisliu”—a tale of treachery, honour and romance—these are masterpieces of passion and vitality, and form the foundation for the Irish literary tradition: a mythic legacy that was a powerful influence on the work of Yeats, Synge and Joyce.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Early Irish Myths and SagasIntroduction:
Early Irish Myths and Sagas
The Celts
The Irish
Irish Storytelling
The Irish Manuscripts
The Irish Material
This Translation

A Note on the Pronunciation of Irish Words and Names
A Note on Irish Geography
Map: Early Ireland
Early Irish Myths and Sagas
The Wooing of Étaín
The Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel
The Dream of Óengus
The Cattle Raid of Fróech
The Labour Pains of the Ulaid and the Twins of Macha
The Birth of Cú Chulaind
The Boyhood Deeds of Cú Chulaind
The Death of Aife’s Only Son
The Wasting Sickness of Cú Chulaind and the Only Jealousy of Emer
The Tale of Macc Da Thó’s Pig
The Intoxication of the Ulaid
Bricriu’s Feast
The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu


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