If there’s anything I love as much as reading, it’s coffee. It’s a recent addiction but oh my gosh has it taken over. After having a terrible anxiety day yesterday I was determined to take control of today and enjoy the hell out of it. So I got up, got dressed and got out. I ignored every hint of panic with a stubbornness only an intense need for caffeine can inspire, plopped myself in a corner seat across from my (equally caffeine deprived) girlfriend and we read. And it was great.
While she read Clean Room (which I mentioned here and here, you should read it its so gross) and freaked out a little over the icky-ness of it all I read a beautiful book she gifted me recently, Irish Tales of Mystery and Magic.
As a kid I loved the Irish stories we heard daily at primary school and believed every word of every single one. The Salmon of Knowledge? Yep, makes sense. The Children of Lir? Perfectly plausible. But at some point I lost love for them and replaced it with eye-rolls and dramatic sighs. Since moving to Donegal my love has made a great big sparkly comeback and I’m so, so happy to be reunited with those weird old stories that made me so happy (and confused) as a kid.
The book itself is written by Eddie Lenihan and illustrated by Alan Clarke and is total eye-candy. Every single page is beautiful, full of incredible illustrations and tiny touches. The stories are well told despite not all of them exactly aging very well (we have a way with words, us Irish). It has stories like The Strange Case of Sean na Sul and Taoscán Mac Liath and the Magic Bees and a veritable butt-load of Fionn Mac Cumhaill. I do wish it had more of the stories about badass Irish women, because trust me they exist and they’re the best, but its hard not to enjoy our magical little tales. Especially when they make up such a stunning book.
I got home exhausted but proud of myself, ridiculously happy and so grateful for my cute-as-a-bean girlfriend who held my hand all day and only stole one sip of my mocha latte. Now I’m going to get cracking on the next book while she (finally) starts Nimona and our puppy snores between us. He’s a total cuddle block but too damn sweet to move.
Are you taking part in TBR Takedown? Let me know how you’re getting on. Or if you’ve read any old Irish stories please tell me your favourites!