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Irish Fairy Tales and legends

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1 Irish Fairy Tales and legends
The land of Tír na N' Óg.. Irish Fairy Tales and legends A supervised project by Sara Korbi

2 Introduction I choose to take this topic because the Irish legends really fascinates me. We don’t have them in Belgium, or at least they aren’t told that much. After a little research I found a couple of the legends. I chose to portray them on this presentation. This presentation is mostly aimed to children of the age of 5 and 6 The first slides with a bit of theory will not be shown when showed to children, this is more of information.

3 Theory about Irish legends.
The mythology of Pre Christian Ireland did not entirely survive the conversion to Christianity. Much stayed preserved. The Irish Mythology and their stories are divided in 4 cycles: Mythological cycle: Tuatha Dé Danann, Partholón,.. Ulster cycle:Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness, Medb's Men, or the Battle of the Boyne, The Birth of Cú Chulainn, Bricriu's Feast, Fenian cycle: The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn, Acallam na Senórach, The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, The Battle of Gabhra Historical Cycle: Labraid Loingsech, Brian Boru, Buile Shuibhne Most of the books I read sometimes has a different storyline. Probably to suit children of different ages and the difference when it was told. Some stories reflect to the landscape of Ireland today (for example Giant’s Causeway)

4 Fenian cycle: The Fenian Cycle or Fiannaíocht also known as the Fionn Cycle, Finn Cycle, Fianna Cycle, Finnian Tales, Fian Tales, Féinne Cycle, Feinné Cycle and Ossianic Cycle, is a body of prose and verse centering on the exploits of the mythical hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and his warriors the Fianna Éireann. It is one of the four major cycles of Irish mythology along with the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, and the Historical Cycle. Put in chronological order, the Fenian cycle is the third cycle, between the Ulster and Historical cycles. The Fenian cycle is often called the Ossianic cycle because Fionn's son, Oisín, was supposed to have written most of the poems in the cycle. Historical cycle: Historical cycle: also known as the King's Cycle or the Historical Cycle is a body of Old and Middle Irish literature. It is said to be less romantic than the Fenian Cycle, less magical

5 Mythological cycle: one of the four major cycles of Irish Mythology, and is so called because
it represents the remains of the Pagan Mythology of pre-Christian Ireland, the gods and supernatural beings have been euhemerised into historical kings and heroes. Ulster cycle: formerly known as the Red Branch Cycle, one of the four great cycles of Irish mythology, is a body of medieval Irish heroic legends and sagas of the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in (what is now eastern Ulster and northern Leinster), The stories are set in and around the reign of king Conchobar Mac Nessa who rules the Ulaid from Emain Macha (now Navan Fort near Armagh)..

6 Irish stories You can choose from: The Children of Lir:
The Giant’s Causeway: Oisín in Tir na N’Óg: Do you want to leave the story click: To go to the other page click:


8 Once upon a time there lived a king called Lir who had four children: a daughter named Fionnuala and three sons called Aodh, Fiachra and Con. Their mother the queen was dead, and the children were sad because they missed her terribly. They missed the stories she used to tell them, the games she used to play, and the songs she sang at bedtime as she hugged them to sleep. The king saw that his children were sad and needed a mother, so he decided to marry again. His new bride was called Aiofe. She was beautiful, but she was not the kind hearted person the king thought she was. Aoife grew jalous of the four children because their father loved them so much. She wanted the king all to herself, so she planned to get rid of the children. She asked a druid to help her, and together they thought up a terrible spell.

9 In the castle grounds there was a lovely lake which the children spent most of their time playing beside. One day Aoife went with the children to the lakeside. As they played in the water, she suddenly pulled out a magic wand and waved it over them. There was a flash of light, and the children vanished. In their place were four beautiful white swans. One of the swans opened its beak and spoke with Fionnuala’s voice: “Oh, what have you done to us?” she asked”, in a frightened voice.

10 I have put a spell on you. ” replied Aoife
I have put a spell on you.” replied Aoife. “Now everything you have will be mine. You will be swans for nine hundred years. You will spend three hundred years on this lake, three hundred years on the Sea of Moyle and three hundred years on the Isle of Glora. Only the sound of a church bell can break the spell.”

11 When the children did not come home that evening, the king went to look for them by the lake. As he came near, four swans swam up to him. He was amazed when they began to call out. “Father, father,” they cried, “we are placed a terrible magic spell on us.” The king ran back to the castle and pleaded with Aoife to change the swans back into children, but she refused. Now he saw how selfish she was and banished her from the kingdom. Lir promised a reward to anyone who could break the spell. But nobody knew how.

12 Lir spent the rest of his life beside the lake, talking to his children, until he grew old and died. The swans were heartbroken. They no longer talked or sang, and nobody came to see them. Three hundred years passed and it was time for the swans to move to the cold and stormy Sea of Moyle between Ireland and Scotland.

13 The poor swans were tossed about by the wild waves and dashed against sharp rocks. It was a harsh life with little food and the years passed slowly. When the time came to fly to the Isle of Glora, the swans were old and tired. Although it was warmer on the island and there was lots of food, they were still very lonely. Then one day they heard the sound they had waited nine hundred years for..

14 The bell was ringing in the tower of a little church
The bell was ringing in the tower of a little church. An old man, called Caomhóg, stood outside. He was amazed to hear swans talking and listened to their sad story in astonishment. Then he went inside his church and brought out some holy water which he sprinkled on the swans while he prayed. As soon as the water touched them, the swans miraculously began to change into an old, old woman and three old, old men.

15 Lir’s children were frightened
Lir’s children were frightened. Coamhóg told them about God and his love for all people. They no longer felt scared. Fionnuala put her arms around her brothers and all four old people fell to the ground, dead. Caomhóg buried them in one grave. That night he saw five stars swooped across the glittering sky. He knew then that Lir and his children were together again, in some beautiful, far – off place..

16 The END Do you want to know more about this story: click
Do you want to go to the next story: click Do you want to leave the story press: click

17 A Statue of the Children Of Lir
In the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square in Dublin, Ireland. It symbolises the rebirth of the Irish nation following 900 years of struggle for independence from Britain, much as the swans were "reborn" following 900 years.

18 The Irish folk song, 'Silent O Moyle, Be The Roar Of Thy Water' (the song of Fionnuala) by Thomas Moore sung to the Air-Arrah tells the story of the children of Lir. Silent o Moyle be the roar of thy water Break not ye breezes your chain of repose While murmuring mournfully Lir's lonely daughter Tells to the night star her tale of woes When shall the song her death note singing Sleep with wings and silence furled When will Heaven it's sweet bell ringing Call my spirit from this stormy world? Sadly o Moyle to thy winter-wave weeping Fate bids me languish long ages away Yet still in her darkness doth Erin lie sleeping Still doth the pure light its dawning delay When shall that day-star mildly springing Warm our Isle with peace and love? When will Heaven its sweet bell ringing Call my spirit to the fields above?


20 Fionn Mac Cumhail was very pleased with himself
Fionn Mac Cumhail was very pleased with himself. He and the Fianna were building a bridge to Scotland. There are giants over there that he was longing to conquer. Fionn was in a cheerful mood as he set off for Antrim. It was a pleasant walk. He felt so happy that he could not help singing a little tune: “Fol the dol day ro,only a fool would dare pick a fight with the bold Fionn Mac Cumhail!” It sounded so good that he sang it, over and over. In no time at all, Fionn and the Fianna were in Antrim. Building the brigde was play to Fionn. He worked quickly and easily, splitting the stones into splendid pillars and columns. Further and further they stretched out into the ocean.

21 From time to time, there came a distant rumble. “Is it thunder
From time to time, there came a distant rumble. “Is it thunder?" asked the Fianna, but they went on working. Then one of their spies came ashore, tired and gasping. “I’ve just been to Scotland!” he said, “there is a huge giant there called Fathach Mór. He’s doing long jumps in the Highlands, you can hear the thumping!” “How big is he?” asked Fionn. “His shadow stretched all across theHighlands,” the spy replied. “Hmm, thought Fionn, ‘that big! Maybe this bridge is not such a good idea after all.” But he could not admit that he was nervous so he kept on building. A few days later, there came a distant whistling. “Is it the wind?” Asked the Fianna, but they kept on working. Just then another spy came ashore, stuttering and trembling. “You wont believe what I’ve seen!” he stammered. “It’s the giant Fathach Mór – he has a magic little finger with the strength of ten men! He’s in training for the long jump to Antrim, you can hear him whistling!” Fionn’s face paled. “The strength of ten men!” he thought. “I’ll never fight him. What will I do? He’ll squash me into a pancake!” But he could not admit that he was nervous, so he said to the Fianna. “I’ve just had a message, I must go home at once – you can all take a holiday” He set off by himself and never did a man travel faster through the glens of Antrim. He shook with fear at every footstep, thinking he heard a mighty breath behind him. His wife Bláithín was surprised but happy to see him. But she saw Fionn didn’t ate and was looking very anxious! Fionn told his wife what troubled him and she saw how scared he was. Bláithín laughed. “Is that all that’s troubling you?” she asked. “Just leave him to me – I’m well able for any man!”

22 You take these clothes and put them on, then you have to lay down in this cradle!
Fionn was scarcely ready when a knock outside set the house rattling. Bláithín opened the door, but all she could see was a pair of knees." Does Fionn Mac Cumhail live here?” boomed a great voice above her. “He does,” said Bláithín,”though he’s away at the moment. He’s gone to capture the giant, Fathach Mór.” “I’m Fathach Mór!” bellowed the giant. “I’ve been searching for Fionn everywhere and I’ve come to kill him!” Bláithín laughed. “Did you ever see Fionn?” She asked. “Sure you’re only a baby compared with him! He’ll be home shortly and you can see for yourself. “Though you and Fionn are enemies, you are still a guest,”she said. “Have some fresh bread.” And she put the oatcakes before him.

23 Fathach Mór began to eat
Fathach Mór began to eat. Almost at once he gave a piercing yell and spat out two teeth. “What kind of bread is this?” he screeched. “I’ve broken my teeth on it!” “I’m sorry about that,” Bláithínsaid. “Fionn always eats it!” Hearing this, the giant took another bite. “Blood and thunder!” he roared. “There’s two more gone! Those cakes are as hard as stone!” “How can you say such a thing?” asked Bláithín. “Even the child in the cradle eats them!” “Goo, gaa, gaa,” gurgled Fionn. For the first time, Fatchach Mór looked at the cradle. “Whose child is that?” he asked in wonder. “That’s Fionn’s son,” said Bláithin.

24 The giant was silent for a moment. “And how old is he. ” he asked then
The giant was silent for a moment. “And how old is he?” he asked then. “Just ten months,” replied Bláithín. “He’s a fine healthy lad. When he grows up, he’ll be just like his dad.”Can he talk?” asked the giant. “Not yet, but you should hear him roar! Fionn can’t bear him, he’d kill anyone who upsets him.” At once, Fionn began to yell. “Quick, quick” cried Bláithín. “Let him suck your little finger. If Fionn comes home and hears him, he’ll be in such a temper,” With an anxious glance at the door, the giant gave Fionn his finger to suck. Crinch!Crunch! Snap! Fionn cracked his teeth through the bone and bit of the Giant’s magic little finger. “AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!” screamed the giant! Screeching and roaring, he left the house. Fionn leaped from the cradle and saw the giant got back, destroying the Causeway on it’s way.

25 The END Do you want to know more about this story: click
Do you want to go to the next story: click Do you want to leave the story press: click

26 Giant’s Causeway What? is an area with a lot of basalt columns
It is located on the north-east coast of Northern Ireland The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. What caused the Giants Causeway? Scientists say that millions of years ago, there were huge volcanic eruptions and after they were over, thousands of strange-looking columns appeared on the coast of Co. Antrim.

27 Fingal's Cave What? is a sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa
It is formed entirely from hexagonally-jointed basalt columns, similar to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland Its size and naturally arched roof and the eerie sounds produced by the echoes of waves, give it the atmosphere of a natural cathedral. The cave's Gaelic name, Uamh-Binn, means "cave of melody“. It became known as Fingal's Cave after the story of the Giant’s Causeway The cave has a large arched entrance and is filled by the sea; however, boats cannot enter.

28 Giant’s Causeway Fingal’s Cave


30 One morning the Fianna were hunting deer on the shores of Loch Léin in Kerry. They saw a beautiful white horse coming towards them. Riding on the horse was the most beautiful woman they had ever seen. She wore a long dress as blue as the summer sky, and her long golden hair hung to her waist. “What is your name and what land have you come from?” asked Fionn, Leader of the Fianna. “I am Niamh of the golden hair. My father is king of Tír na nÓg,” she replied. “I have heard of a warrior called Oisín. I have heard of his courage and of his poetry. I have come back to find him and take him back with me to Tír na nÓg.”

31 Oisín was the son of Fionn. He was a great hero and a poet
Oisín was the son of Fionn. He was a great hero and a poet. “Tell me,” Oisín said, “what sort of land is Tír na nÓg?” “Tír na nÓg is the land of youth,” replied Niamh. “It is a happy place, with no pain or sorrow. Any wish you make comes true and no one grows old there. If you come with me you will find out all this is true.” Oisín mounted the white horse and said goodbye to his father and friends. He promised he would return soon. The horse galloped off over the water, moving as swiftly as a shadow. The Fianna were sad to see their hero go, but Fionn reminded them of Oisín’s promise to return soon.


33 The king and queen of Tír na nÓg welcomed Oisín and held a great feast in his honor. It was indeed a wonderful land, just as Niamh had said. He hunted and feasted and at night he told stories of Fionn and the Fianna and of their lives in Ireland. Oisín had never felt as happy as he did with Niamh and before long they were married. Time passed quickly and although he was very happy, Oisín began to think of returning home for a visit. Niamh didn’t want him to go, but at last she said. ‘Take my white horse. It will carry you safely to Ireland and back. Whatever happens you must not go off the horse and touch the soil of Ireland. If you do you will never return to me or to Tír na nÓg.

34 She did not tell him that although he thought he’d only been away a few years, he had really been there three hundred years. Ireland seemed a strange place to Oisín when he arrived. There seemed to be no trace of his father or the rest of the Fianna. The people he saw seemed small and weak to him. As he passed through Gleann na Smól he saw some men trying to move a large stone. “I will help you.” said Oisín. The men were terrified of this giant on a white horse. Stooping from his saddle, Oisín lifted the stone with one hand and hurled it. With that the saddle girth broke and Oisín was flung to the ground!

35 Immediately the white horse disappeared and the men saw before them an old, old man. They took him to a holy man who lived nearby.”Where is my father and the Fianna?” Oisín asked. When he was told that they were long dead he was heartbroken. He spoke of the many deeds of Fionn and the Fianna and their adventures together. He spoke of his time in Tír na nÓg and his beautiful wife that he would not see again. Although he died soon after, the wonderful stories of Oisín have lived on.

36 The END Do you want to know more about this story: click
Do you want to go to the next story: click Do you want to leave the story press: click

37 ? ? Tír na nÓg What? was considered a place beyond the edges of the map/located on an island far to the west. This otherworld is a place where sickness and death do not exist. It is a place of eternal youth and beauty. Here, music, strength, life and all pleasurable pursuits come together in a single place. Here happiness lasts forever, no one wants food or drink. How to get there? Could be reached by either an arduous voyage or an invitation from one of its fairy residents: To get to Tír na nÓg an adventurer needed a guide, for example Niamh in the Oisín story ? ? ? ? ?

38 Cloughbrack - Ossian's Grave - Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
This small court tomb is in Lubitavish Town on the northern slopes of Glenaan at 450 ft (137 metres). The tomb has been called 'Ossian's Grave' after the Early Christian period warrior-poet who, according to local legend, was buried here. It is also said that Oisín fell from his horse in the area of Elphin, County Roscommon. There is a song by Moya Brennan about Tír na n Óg: Click onto the yellow icon if you want to hear it:

39 Land of Youth ~ Moya Brennan
Is grá geal mo chroí thú Fan liom i gconaí Beith mise dílis Tusa mo mhuírín Fan ar mo thaobh sa (You are my heart's bright love Stay with me alwayS You are my heart's bright love Be true to me You are my sweetheart Stay by my side) Beauty and grace with golden hair Eyes like pearls came from the sea Wherever you will go, I will go Wherever you will turn, I'll follow so Take me to the Land of Youth Three hundred years (Chorus) Carried away on impulse Followed my heart to the Land of Youth Three hundred years and time stood still Companions calling, there's warning (Chorus) Three hundred years Fallen to earth, the thunder sound Years overtake him, a grey old man (Chorus)

40 Bibliography Used books:
The O’brien Book of Irish Fairy Tales and Legends, Una Leavy and Susan Field., 1996 Irish Legends for children, Yvonne Carroll, Gill & Macmillan, 1994 The names upon the harp, Marie Heaney, Faber & Faber,2000 Internet sources:

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