The Fantastical Feats of Finn MacCoul

By Norah Montgomerie

Rating: 3 stars

Despite being a native of Ireland, I know very little of Irish mythology. I know of the existence of Finn MacCoul (or Finn MacCool as I know him) and the story of the Giant’s Causeway but beyond that, I don’t know any of his stories, so seeing this volume lying on a friend’s bookshelf was fortunate.

Mythology definitely has its own rhythm and flow. The stories often follow a pattern, which can suggest some slowness on the part of the king of the Fian as he’s caught by the same lure more than once. There’s a lot of repetition within the stories as well, possibly as an aide memoir to the bard or storyteller, but which can be trying to the modern reader. I also feel that there’s probably a lot of context that I’m missing when reading these, so more and more detailed explanatory notes would have been nice.

This volume is taken entirely from Scottish folk tales of Finn, rather than the extensive Irish catalogue, hence the Giant’s Causeway story is missing, but there’s still a lot of stories here.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841588179
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Year of publication: 2009

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