There are a number of implications of what has been discovered from this study:
The Little Known Wisdom Tradition
There is some awareness of half of what has been described as the “richest store of myth and its associated traditions north of the Alps”. There is almost no knowledge of the other half among the Irish Diaspora.
Where is there some knowledge
The areas of the Mythology that are somewhat familiar are the two warrior traditions: CúChulain, the Tain and the hero within the tribe, and Fionn and the Fianna and the outlaw hero, outside the tribe. These myths certainly played a role in the Celtic Revival and Independence struggle.
What are the missing elements of the mythologies – Foundation Stories
Little known are the two foundation mythologies, the Lebor Gabála, Book of Invasions and the Battles of Moytura. These mythologies contain the Irish Creation Stories – the ”people from somewhere else” and echoes of the shamanic and goddess cultures of the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. They also lay out a unique indigenous organizational structure – a mythology of distributed power and the cult of the sacred centre.
What are the missing elements of the mythologies – King/Leadership Stories
Prior to the arrival of the Anglo Normans, the King Stories were very popular (33% of the stories told). Following the Invasion, other stories (rebel/outlaw) became told and the King Stories were barely told (3% in early 20th century).
Interest in the Myths
Overall, interest in learning more about Irish Mythology is high, with over 80% of respondents expressing interest in obtaining more information about the Myths.
Respondents overwhelmingly described the stories that they were familiar with as “interesting” and “wonderful”, although there is a distinction about how these stories are viewed.
70% of Irish respondents disagreed that these myths were part of a comic Ireland image, (leprechauns, little people), whereas 59% of US respondents felt they were.
Familiarity with the Stories
Of the 14 key characters in the Myths reviewed, on average over half of respondents answered “not familiar at all” with even poorer numbers with the diaspora’s familiarity, the UK respondents having the most favourable numbers of that group.
Familiarity with the Cycles of Myth
Character Familiarity Overview
|Respondents:||Top 3 Most Familiar Characters :|
|Overall||Fionn MacCumhal, Cuchulain, Lir|
|Ireland||Fionn MacCumhal, Cuchulain, Lir|
|Diaspora||Fionn MacCumhal, Ceasair*, Lugh|
|U.S.A||Fionn MacCumhal, Ceasair*, Balor|
|U.K & N.I||Ceasair, Fionn MacCumhal, Lugh|
|Australia||Nemed, Fionn MacCumhal. Cuchulain|
* querying this data has led to the conclusion that respondents most likely confused the Irish; Ceasair, with the Roman; Caesar.
|Respondents:||Top 3 Least Familiar Characters:|
|Overall||Amhairghin Glungheal , Nemed, Parthalon|
|Ireland||Amhairghin Glungheal, Nemed, Ceasair|
|Diaspora||Amhairghin Glungheal, Lir, Midhir|
|U.S.A||Cuchulain, Amhairghin Glungheal, Lir|
|U.K||Lugh, Amhairghin, Nemed|
|Australia||Lir, Midhir, Lugh|