A Magical Irish Faerie's Tale, By Magical Irish Poet William Allingham

JPK Huson 1863

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#1
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We lovedddd our faeries. It may be why when Irish poet William Allingham penned these words, they carried themselves on Irish wings all the way across the Pond, finding such a receptive audience you couldn't find a child or its mother who couldn't recite the poem.

Irish Poet William Allingham may not have thought " The Fairies " his most important work but it became one of his best loved almost as soon as publication around 1850. You don't come across it as much a century and half later but our ancestors would instantly recognize the words and been able to recite them, too. Immersed in war, maybe a little magic was awfully welcome.

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" Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together, green jacket, red cap ", Allingham doen't use the term ' leprechaun ', he says they're fairies. Isn't everyone Irish a little magical? So what's in a name?

" The Fairies " is included not only in poetical works of the era but in books on folklore so it's possible Allingham refers to some ancient tale of the ancient isle where faeries lurk and magic works.

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It's the ancient names you should take note of, and if you have time look up. Slieveleague and Columbkill, makes you believe in a lot.

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John Hartwell

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#3
Delightful, though a rather a romanticized, "child-safe" look at the the sidhe (pron. 'shee'). The Irish faeries (of which the leprechaun is but one variety) are not cute Disneyfied pixies; they can be greedy, nasty, capricious creatures whose magic might delight you one day and kill you the next if you displeased them.

I heard all about them as a child from my great uncle Pat Joyce. Uncle Pat was a grim, grouchy, sour old man; had little to say that wasn't "unfit for delicate ears." Unless, that is, he was 'in his cups' (i.e., most Friday nights and all-day Saturday -- he was stone cold sober for Mass on Sunday morning, though). At such times he was a different man altogether, positively jolly, everybody's friend, he regaled us kids with stories of what happened "late one night on my way home from the pub," when he "fell into the bog," and had wonderful, often terrifying adventures with the Wee-folk. I so wish I could remember his stories in detail, or begin to match his storytelling abilities (he acted out the role of each character, imitating different voices & screwing his face into frightful shapes). I was still very young, and he was very, very old when he went back to Ireland (sometime around 1956, I think), and died not long after -- carried off off to the secret world under the faerie-mound, no doubt.
 



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