Ireland has one of the finest cultural heritages and a standard reference book combining the related subjects of folklore, myth, legend and romance is long overdue. There are 350 substantial entries, in alphabetical order from Aban, a 6th-century saint, to Weather, all with full references to sources, a synopsis of relevant stories, and discussion of their origin, nature and development. These are complimented by a genre-list of material under various headings, such as Mythical Lore, Fianna Cycle, Ulster Cycle, King Cycles, Peoples and Traditions, Religious Lore, and Folk Custom and Belief. There is also a wealth of genealogical detail, indicating how historical and social circumstances have influenced the growth and spread of Irish lore.
DAITHI O HOGAIN, Associate Professor of Irish Folklore at University College Dublin, is an international authority on folklore and traditional literature.