Tales,Visions and Beliefs

County Mayo in the West of Ireland

Famous Irish writers and poets had particular interest in Irish folklore and fairy tales that they collected from common people and peasants.

Lady Wilde, Oscar Wild's mother, William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory made a strong contribution to the Irish folklore preserving tales, charms, superstitions and beliefs.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet and Nobel Prize in Literature, in his work "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry", 1888, transferred a tale collected from Samuel Lover and told by old women in Cong's area.

Lady Jane Francesca Agnes Wilde (1821-1896), Irish writer, in her work "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions", London, 1887, told tales collected with a feminine sensibility. Her tales are populated by faeries, goblins and magical spells. For instance, the tale, "The bride's death-song" is a good example of her work.

Lady Augusta Gregory (1852-1932), Irish dramatist and folklorist, in her book "Visions and beliefs in the West of Ireland" 1920, recorded all visions and beliefs she had gathered from the local inhabitants.

These two folk tales from County Mayo were published first time in Folk-lore, a quarterly review, vol. XXVI, 1915, London. The stories were told by Una Canavan, a sixty years old woman and recorded by L. McManus partly in Irish and partly in English. Una had heard these stories from her aunt, but they came from an old book written in Irish that belonged to his great-grandfather called Bartholemew Conlon from Woodfield, Kilkelly, Country Mayo.

A more recent book, Tales from the West of Ireland by Sean Henry (1904-1986), is a collection of folk tales from County Mayo based on historical events and they differ from others stories because here the reader can get a real glimpse of the customs and traditions of this corner of Ireland.