The book comprises an ensemble of articles and essays offering its readers engagement from an ethnological perspective with significant facets of the domain of Irish Studies. It attempts, both in its organisation and intellectual orientation to be a contribution to the instruction and formation of a variety of readerships. Undergraduate students of the various Irish Studies disciplines, especially Folklore and Ethnology; graduate research students in the disciplines of Irish Studies; a general readership of people with an interest in Ireland; graduate and research students of Irish literature, culture, society and history apart from specialists in Folklore and Anthropology. Without requiring any competence in Irish language, it nevertheless encompasses materials giving insight and some access to the centrality of the Irish language and Irish language materials in vernacular native tradition and heritage.
The style encountered in the books parts ranges from the occasional and discursive to the sustained and scholarly. Keeping pedagogical considerations in mind, readers can encounter some degree of confirmatory overlapping and circularity that also reflects the authors own ongoing understanding and interpretation of the matters involved.
A distinguishing feature of the book is the manner in which descriptive and analytic treatments of fundamental aspects of vernacular worldview duality in cosmology, creative ethnopoetics in narrative tradition, the symbolic and socially functional significance of the conception of the otherworld feminine combine to bring readers to an appreciation of how vernacular worldview can be understood to continue to inform issues of gender, history and politics in the modern world. This follows on from the stance adopted in my earlier book, The Book of the Cailleach (Cork University Press, 2003).
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Date of Publication: 21/11/2022