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Diarmuid Johnson


136 pp; hardback; ISBN 978-1-909907-68-3

The story of Éadaoin is our finest Old Irish love story, a story that survived in fragments found in The Book of the Dun Cow and in The Yellow Book of Leacan. Diarmuid Johnson has combined all these various fragments and knitted them into a whole — filling the gaps and adding meat to the bones — to create a new old epic comparable to Helen of Troy or the story of Tristan and Isold.

Éadaoin is a bird-woman of the Fairy People, spending time here amongst mortals, spending time amongst the immortals in the fairy palace of Brí Léith. She was the wife of Eochaidh King of Tara, but Midhir was her true love, Midhir of the Sí, Midhir of Brí Léith, the handsome and sweet-spoken Midhir.

Spite and Jealousy

Éadaoin had a rival, Fuamnach, Midhir's first wife. Fuamnach the sorceress, Fuamnach the jealous rival: with three strokes of her hazel rod, she turned Éadaoin into a butterfly and banished her over land and sea for many a long year.

This is a story about the loneliness of women. A woman left without either husband or lover. And as she was of the race of immortals, her loneliness is everlasting. An old tale under a new guise, a contemporary old theme, a great tragedy about the seven binding knots of love.

The Origin Tales of Ireland

This fine tale comes hot on the heels of the first two installments in the trilogy. In 2017 Conaire Mór was published, a retelling of the Old Irish tale Togail Bruidne Da Derga (The Burning of Da Derga's hostel). In 2018 came Tuatha Dé Danann, a book that recounts the conquests of Ireland before the arrival of the Gael.

With the publication of Éadaoin the ring is completed and we have cause for celebration: three fine books to recount the origin tales of Ireland.

'The Tara Trilogy' is a recasting by Diarmuid Johnson of a lost medieval literary cycle. Gleaned from the manuscript tradition, the cycle tells the tale of the Tuatha Dé Danann and Gaelic sovereignty in Ireland, of the dark fate of a young king called Conaire Mór, and in Éadaoin of the tragedy woven of love's intricate web. In 'The Tara Trilogy', Gaelic mythology emerges from a distant past to haunt us with its unique beauty, and to enthrall us with its timeless and universal poignancy.