Miraculous plenty

Irish religious folktales and legends


Seán Ó Súilleabháin editor

Paperback €17.45
Catalogue Price: €19.95
ISBN: 978-0-9565628-2-1
February 2012. 308pp.

Miraculous Plenty is the first full English translation of Sean Ó Súilleabháin’s Scéalta Cráibhtheacha (Religious Tales) … in terms of both breadth and depth, the collection surpasses any of the studies in this area that preceded it; Ó Súilleabháin includes narratives by storytellers from across the island of Ireland … the contents are remarkably diverse … for the scholar of folklore this wealth of information is invaluable. It is as a consequence of this rigour that the collection continues to hold its own in Irish folklore studies of the present day, and, in my view, to lay down a standard for the collation and annotation of religious tales … the present volume is overwhelmingly successful in preserving the spirit of the original work … In spite of the weight of his scholarship, Ó Súilleabháin articulates his guidance to the reader with characteristic charm, and the occasional burst of gentle humour, and often succeeds in transforming what could be a dry explication of motifs into an enticing invitation to lose oneself in the often dreamlike and fantastical world of these stories … [this edition] has made a treasure trove of Irish lore available to an English-speaking audience for the first time … Despite the volume’s scholarly trappings, Scéalta Cráibhtheacha, both in its original form and in this translation, achieves the rare feat of being at once an erudite scholarly work, and a simple, enchanting storybook', Chrissie Van Mierlo, Folklore (November 2013).

‘Every so often we genealogists and local historians are blessed with a publication that illuminates aspects of the past that are not readily accessible or understood by reference to our day-to-day research … one such publication, Miraculous Plenty, aims to bring an enormously rich body of archival material to the attention of researchers, educators and writers in many disciplines … the stories contained in the book were collected from “scores of storytellers from different parts of Ireland” and are basically “narratives relating to the religious beliefs and phenomena as they were understood by the ordinary people in all areas of Gaelic Ireland” … [these are] Wonderful stories with themes stretching back millennia … this is “a unique work of the greatest importance to anyone who wishes to acquire an understanding of the way country people in Ireland and, for that matter, elsewhere in pre-industrial Europe, thought and felt about moral and religious issues of central importance in their lives”’, Michael Merrigan, Ireland’s Genealogical Gazette (February 2012).

‘This Miraculous Plenty is a beautiful translation by William Caulfield of Scéalta Cráibhtheacha … a unique work of the greatest importance to anyone who wishes to acquire an understanding of the way country people in Ireland and, for that mater, elsewhere in pre-industrial Europe, thought and felt about moral and religious issues of central importance in their lives', Réamonn Ó Muirí, Seanchas Ard Mhacha (2012).

‘In an important way this book is both a monument to a moment in Irish history and to a very great Irish scholar', Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic (August 2012).