Irish Fiction Friday: The Voyage of Máel Dúin’s Boat

The Voyage of Máel Dúin’s Boat takes Irish SF/F/H Fiction back into Irish folklore with this translation from the Old Irish by Whitley Stokes. The story is a fantastical Christian allegory in which the heroic Máel Dúin sails to avenge the death of his father after discovering that he was killed by Marauders from Leix (a county in Ireland). When he disobeys the instructions of a priest, and takes more men than advised into his boat, Máel Dúin begins a journey with many unforseen trials. The tale is similar to the voyages of Jason and Odysseus in this respect – although Máel Dúin encounters islands full of boat eating ants and angry Blacksmiths, neither of which we remember from Homer (!) – and is a typical example of the rich folklore and tales from Irish culture.

Irish is a complex language, and Old Irish even more so. Although we’ve linked to the translation here, we also thought this handy guide to pronunciation might be interesting.

Wikipedia also has a list of all the islands that Máel Dúin and his crew encounter – everything from the aforementioned ants and blacksmiths, to women pelting nuts and angry, necklace stealing cats. It sounds like quite the trip!

The image is Alan Lee’s wonderful imagining of one of the islands. Beautiful!