Out on the coffee table right now, in honor of St. Paddy’s Day, are two books of Celtic lore written in the latter part of the 19th century.
William Butler Yeats published The Celtic Twilight, Faerie and Folklore, in 1902, after spending many years gathering the tales he heard as he wandered. Written in prose, but full of Yeats’ poetic sensibility. This old re-published book showed up in my shopping cart at Amazon, I know not how. But was happy to acquire it, having heard of it lo these many years.
The book I was really on Amazon to order was another out of copyright book, this one reprinted by Forgotten Books – Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland by lady Francesca Speranza Wilde – yes, Oscar’s mom.
She wrote for the Young Ireland movement in the 1840’s as Speranza of the Nation, pro-Irish independence and anti-British. She worked hard over many years to gather all these stories before they disappeared forever. I’ve only begun to read this one, and haven’t gotten to the charms and healing recommendations as yet. But I swear I smell Ireland when I open it.