Sweeney’s Story

. . . There lived a very proud, arrogant, handsome, young king of a very small territory in the most northeasterly county of Ireland. The name of this territory was Dal-Arie and the name of its much loved king was Sweeney. At that time the country was divided into hundreds of individual tribal enclaves, such as Dal-Arie, a number of which would be grouped for purposes of defence and aggression under a local High King to whom the people of the enclave owed allegiance, warrior service and tribute in the way of livestock or produce. Sweeney’s High King at the time the story opens was Congal and Congal valued very greatly Sweeney’s skill as a warrior and had recognized him with honors and gifts on numerous occasions. . . .

The Elopement of Grainne with Diarmuid

This story has been told and re-told by storytellers in Ireland since at least the tenth century. As you can gather from this, it bears repeating. Over the centuries, it has been edited and re-edited by the tellers, which is as it should be if it is to retain its liveliness and relevance for each generation. I have put together my version of the story from various sources. The story belongs in The Fionn Cycle of stories as opposed to The Ulster Cycle which includes stories of Cuchulainn.

A Story of Fand, Cuchulainn and Emer

In many of the ancient Irish stories, the women are the movers and shakers, so in my story to-day Cúchulainn, one of the greatest of the Irish heroes, is but a pawn in women’s hands! Cú Chulainn, Cú: a hound, the hound of Culann, the one who undertook to guard the huge doors of Culann’s home because he had killed the massive wolfhound that was its main defender . . . Ah! but that is another story.