Grainne spots some Irish Myths and Legends

20140417-194829.jpgHello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @pulseprni or email

Grainne spots some Irish Myths and Legends

I love Easter – it’s the only time of year (except Christmas) that it’s perfectly acceptable to eat chocolate for brekkie and not feel guilty. Many of us like to take a few days off to enjoy quality time with the family – but the problem is often what to do with the children if the weather turns bad – because let’s face it, it’s Ireland so the chances of this happening are very high.

I am far from being an expert on entertaining children, but when I look after my best friend’s baby, Aodán, he loves books and would happily let me read to him all day, every day. You can’t go wrong with a good book, and although he usually chooses Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine (he’s only two after all), the common thread between them all is a good story.

Good stories are what make books memorable – the better the story, the more vivid the memory. I’m sure many of you went to the Giant’s Causeway and heard about the traditional tale of Finn McCool and how his fight with the Scottish giant led to the Causeway being created. I still remember this tale and it got me thinking – in our modern world, how relevant are traditional myths and legends in books for today’s children?

I recently met a local storyteller who argues they definitely are!

Donegal native, Trish Hegarty grew up in between both the north and south of Ireland. She always loved old Irish tales and was disappointed when they were gone from her own children’s school – despite it being the Gaelscoil.

As an ex journalist, Trish knows how to tell a story and in between running a successful business, she set about retelling ancient Irish myths and legends for a new generation of children. Her stories are being published in print and digital formats in both English and Gaeilge and are going down a storm with children across the world.

The legends are told in a simple story-telling style and are beautifully illustrated by Celtic artist, John Quigley who is based in Inishowen. The Irish translation is by Daire Ní Laoi, from Howth, who is a naíscoil (Irish language nursery school) teacher and professional translator.

The first book in the series, The Brown Bull of Cooley/An Donn Cuailgne is aimed at bringing Irish myths and legends back into the classroom mainly, but also into children’s homes. This book tells the story of Queen Maeve of Connacht, who sets out to capture The Brown Bull of Cooley, to prove to her husband that she is the richest person in Ireland.

I must say that I loved it and found it very readable – it’s bright, breezy and the beautiful Celtic designs jump off the page. As the book is for children, I felt the only way to rate it was to try it out on Aodán. Ok, it’s aimed at 7-10 year olds, but it works well read aloud to younger children, because of its storytelling style and rhythms.

Granted it’s only the first book in the series, so I would like to read the others to judge it fairly. The good thing is that each book only costs £2.16 on kindle – so it meant I could download it for him and still have enough change for a chocolate egg for me! 😉

Contact Number: 07803077831/00353861740057
Twitter: @Inisbooks

If you are inspired by The Brown Bull of Cooley/An Donn Cuailgne, we have an English & Gaeilge version to give away to one lucky Belfast Times reader. Simply answer this question:

Q. What is the name of the Queen in the book?

Email your answer, along with your name, address & contact number before Wednesday 23 April 2014 to with G Spots! in the subject


Post Author: Belfast Times

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