Dáithí Ó hÓgáin

Quotations

Life
1949- ; snr. member of Irish Folklore Dept. and Irish Dept. at UCD; resides in Bray; author of The Hero in Irish Folk History (1985), an account of ‘legends in Irish folklore which present particular historical characters in a heroic light’; also a reference work on Irish mythology.

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Works
  • The Hero in Irish Folk History (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1985), 354pp. [extracts; and see also under Redmond O’Hanlon, supra];
  • Fionn mac Cumhaill: Images of the Gaelic Hero (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan [1988]), 361pp.;
  • Myth, Legend & Romance: An Encyclopaedia of the Irish Folk Tradition (London: Ryan 1990, 1991), 453pp.;
  • Sacred Isle: Belief and Religion in Pre-christian Ireland (Cork: Collins Press 1999), 267pp.;
  • Historic Ireland: 5,000 years of Ireland’s Heritage (London: Salamander 2001), 144pp., ill. [col.];
  • The Celts: A History (Rochester, NY; Woodbridge: Boydell Press 2002), 297pp., ill. [8pp. of pls.], and Do. (Cork: Collins Press 2006), 325pp.;
  • Ireland: People and Places: A Celebration of Ireland’s Cultural Heritage (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan [2003]), 144pp., ill., 28cm.
 
Miscellaneous
  • ‘The Visionary Voice’, in Anglo-Irish Literature and Its Contexts (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1979), p.57.;
  • Ed., 1-8 Binneas thar Meon, iml. 1: Cnuasach d’Amhráin agus de Cheolta a dhein Liam de Noraidh in Oirthear Mumhan (BAC: Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann 1994), 275pp.;
  • ed., Cultúr agus an Duine (BAC: Coiscéim 1994), 91pp.;
  • with Máire Comer Bruen, ed., Mangaire Súgach (Aindrias Mac Craith): Beatha agus Saothar (BAC: Coiscéim 1997), 268pp.
 
Also numerous issued of the Salamander/Gill & Macmillan family names series [e.g., Murphy, Kennedy, O’Sullivan, O’Brien, Kelly, Walsh, &c.] (2003), typically 64pp.
 
Pamphlets
  • Animals of Ireland in Myth and Legend (Bray: Real Ireland Design [1991]), [32]pp., col. ills.;
  • Heroes of Ireland in Myth and Legend (Bray: Real Ireland Design [1991]), [32]pp., col. ills. [both 16cm.]

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Quotations
The Hero in Irish Folk History (1985), Introduction: ‘[...] Legendary history, then, crystallising around the names of extraordinary people, is what we are concerned with. The lore which is cited is in no way claimed to reflect either the attitudes of the subject-personages themselves or the details of any particular historical situation or event. Some such data is referred to, but only to shed light on how the legends developed. In many cases, the historical reality can be shown to have been very different from what folklore suggests. It will, however, be noticed that there is often some parallel, and always some connection, between the lore and the actual history. For legends which purport to tell of real events and real people are themselves a product [2] of historical circumstances, and are worthy of notice on this account as well as for their own intrinsic value as stories.’ (pp.2-3.) [Cont.]

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The Hero in Irish Folk History (1985), Conclusion: ‘The true nature of the folk legend lies in its continually being retold - in a thousand ordinary mouths rather than in the one great mouth of the literary genius - and this militates against the selection of one particular version for deliberate artistic purposes. If a version were so selected and developed it would itself become a literary work - a not unprecedented phenomenon, of course, but one which would usually require a writer himself steeped in the oral tradition. Perhaps the best qualified of all Irish writers in English in this regard would have been William Carleton. But, although the folk situation is competently described by Carleton in his work, when it came to popular aspirations he tended to be rather derisive and to adopt an external tone. When he made Redmond O’Hanlon the hero of a novel, he only did so by divorcing him totally from the real outlaw context, and the result was a romanticism very different from the folk sense. / There was, indeed, no lack of romantic and sentimental novels in nineteenth-century Ireland, but the writers on the whole showed little creative talent - opting for either close historical fact or events entirely of their own imagination. The folk image of the hero does intrude with beneficial effect in some cases, however. The hunted priest appears in Matthew Archdeacon’s Shawn na Soggarth, braving his bloodthirsty pursuers and suffering martyrdom for his readiness to administer the sacraments. Canon Sheehan in Glenanaar describes how Daniel O’Connell made a heroic defence of the men charged with the Doneraile Conspiracy, giving good insights into popular psychology in the process. Athletic heroism is featured in the same novel, as it is in Charles Kickham’s Knocknagow. [...]’ (p.315; for full text chapter, see RICORSO Library, “Critical Classics > Celtiana” [infra].)

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