Category: Books

Bronwen Martin – Semiotics and Storytelling

This is a really good introduction to the skills needed to analyse the myths and legends.  Bronwen has taken the often obscure, jargon filled, texts of semiotics – the science of meaning to craft a very accessible introduction to this important field.  She takes the myth of Philomel and then demonstrates the semiotic tools in action in illuminating a text through three levels of interpretation – the figurative, the narrative and the deep mythic.  At each level she skilfully illustrates semiotics in action.  Bronwen has been a frequent attendee and presenter at the Bard Summer School.

Peter O’Connor – Beyond the Mist

This book is an outline of the meaning of the Irish myths as a wisdom tradition of relevance to us today in contemporary life.  Peter stresses that to navigate a path into the labyrinth that is this tradition, it is important to stay anchored in your own ‘ground’.  In the case of Peter this is the field of psychoanalysis and archetypal psychology so popularised by Freud, Jung Hillman and Campbell.  He argues that ‘psychology needs re-mythologising’ as he goes about his task of mythology being psychoanalysed.  This book is an essential read for anyone interested in the relevance of mythology to a troubled modernity.

Myles Dillon – The Cycles of the Kings

This is a summary of the literature of the Kings – sometimes called the Historical Cycle.  These tales are in no way as well known as those of the Ulster (CúChulain) and Fenian (Finn) Cycles.  Maybe it is that a colonised country will tend not to tell King tales.  And for this reason this book and the stories very much deserve to be read, enjoyed, absorbed and told in a world wondering about leadership, and the so called elite in culture.

Marie-Louise Sjoestedt – Gods and Heroes of the Celts

This is the last work of a brilliant French scholar who particularly outlines academic background to the Gods and Goddesses and the Chieftain Gods.  Of particular importance is her distinction between the Heroes of the Tribe (CúChulain) and Heroes outside the Tribe (Finn and the Fianna).

Jeffrey Gantz (Translator) – Early Irish Myths and Sagas

This is a selection of translations of the early Irish Stories by a scholar whose purpose was to remain faithful to the original and yet write in an accessible and evocative way.  The challenge being to work with language to evoke the mythical time, holding the tension between fantasy and reality and articulating a world in which man and god move freely in and out of each other’s space.

Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin – Early Irish Literature

Excellent introduction to the unique and extensive written heritage of Old and Middle Ireland 600 – 1200 AD.  Gives an introduction to all of the cycles as well as setting the literature within a cultural context.  So the poets, druids and the Christian monks are briefly covered along with some material on the shift from oral to written and the resulting and vitally important manuscripts.

Cross and Slover – Ancient Irish Tales

Somewhat dated but still classic anthology of the tales.  Very comprehensive in terms of the four cycles and importantly the King Tales are included and most of the Book of Invasions stories.

Richard Kearney (Ed) – The Irish Mind

This excellent introduction to the Irish Cast of mind outlines  a world that practised the art of making contradictions dance, so unlike the linear centralising thought.  Greco Roman thought of so much of the rest of Western Europe.  The introduction and the chapters on Mythopoeic thought are particularly relevant.

Dáith í ÓhÓgáin – Myth, Legend and Romance

This priceless resource is an invaluable asset to anyone wishing to delve into this literature and these sources.   The  painstaking outline of all the sources of all the key figures makes the work of scholar or interested explorer so much easier.  This is a ‘must have’. Daithi was  a long time supporter of the Bard Project – the much loved Professor of Folklore from UCD.

Proinsias MacCana – Cult of the Sacred Centre

This important book explores the ancient Irish concepts of unity – political, cultural and geographic.  This renowned scholar’s last book outlines the important thinking on distributed power and the early division of Ireland by the Fir Bolg and then outlined further by Fintan MacBochra in ‘The Settling of the Manor of Tara’.  In a world increasingly questioning the behaviour of the hierarchical elite this is truly thinking to immerse yourself in today.

Join the BARD

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google