The Glories of Ireland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about The Glories of Ireland.
or the Book of Leinster version of the “Wooing of Ferb”, do we feel that a competent artist has so formed his story that the best possible value has been extracted from it.  Yet, in spite of their defects, the old heroic sagas of Ireland have in them a stimulating force and energy, and an element of fine and healthy optimism, which is strangely at variance with the popular conception of the melancholy of Irish literature, and which, wherever they are known, make them the fountain-head of a fresh creative inspiration.  This stimulating of the imagination is perhaps the best gift that a revived interest in the old native romance of Ireland has to bestow.


The originals of many of the Tales of the Cuchulainn cycle of romances will be found, usually accompanied by English or German translations, in the volumes of Irische Texte; Revue Celtique; Zeitschrift fuer Celt.  Phil.; Eriu; Irish Texts Society, vol.  II; Atlantis; Proceed. of the R. Irish Academy (Irish MSS.  Series and Todd Lecture Series).  English translations:  of the Tain Bo Cualnge (LU. and Y.B.L. versions), by Miss Winifred Faraday (1904); (LL. version with conflate readings), by Joseph Dunn (1914); of various stories:  E. Hull, The Cuchulain Saga in Irish Literature (1898); A. H. Leahy, Heroic Romances of Ireland (1905-6), the Courtship of Ferb (1902).  French translations in Arbois de Jubainville’s Epopee celtique en Irlande; German translations in Thurneysen’s Sagen aus dem alien Irland (1901); free rendering by S. O’Grady in The Coming of Cuchullain (1904), and in his History of Ireland, the Heroic Period (1878).  For full bibliography, see R. I. Best’s Bibliography of Irish Philology and Printed Literature (1913), and Joseph Dunn’s Tain Bo Cualnge, pp. xxxii-xxxvi (1914).



One of the supreme creations of the human mind is the Divine Comedy of Dante, and undoubtedly one of its chief sources is the literature of ancient Ireland.  Dante himself was a native of Florence, Italy, and lived from 1265 to 1321.  Like many great men, he incurred the hatred of his countrymen, and he spent, as a result, the last twenty years of his life in exile with a price on his head.  He had been falsely accused of theft and treachery, and his indignation at the wrong thus done him and at the evil conduct of his contemporaries led him to write his poem, in which he visits Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, and learns how God punishes bad actions, and how He rewards those who do His will.

To the writing of his poem Dante brought all the learning of his time, all its science, and an art that has never been surpassed, perhaps never equalled.  Of course, he did not know any Irish, but he knew Italian and the then universal tongue of the learned—­Latin, in both of which were tales of visits to the other world; and the greater part of these tales, as well as those most resembling Dante’s work in form and spirit, were Irish in origin.

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The Glories of Ireland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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