Irish myths and legends are often so romanticised that, by the time many of us read them, the original stories are unrecognisably altered. In some cases, the reinterpretations are excellent, offering a fresh take on old tales. In other cases, the original myths have been sprinkled so liberally with good-natured stage-Irishness that they’re more confusing than anything else. Sadly, many rewrites end up glossing over some of the most interesting and engaging elements of those Celtic stories altogether.
For those of us who grew up in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is an excellent way to see quite what the rest of the world makes of Irish culture, and particularly in places with large Irish populations, like Canada and the US. The result can often can be a disappointingly one-dimensional take on Celtic myth and legend. With that in mind, we’ve put together a collection of some of the stories that we’ve read over the years that we felt should be considered essential reading for anyone trying to get a handle on the history of Irish mythology.