This came out of a query over on Tumblr, and it occurred that it might be useful to post it here as well for anyone who's interested.
Hey! I'm a big fan of the Young Wizards series, and was thinking about the mythology included in A Wizard Abroad. You seem to know it very well, and I was wondering if you could recommend any reading for someone who'd like to learn about it? Thanks!
I know it well since I started studying it (along with other mythologies from all over) when I was ten. But here’s what our present Irish-myths-&-legends shelf looks like:
— This is quite basic stuff. If I needed anything really complex, rare or obscure, I’d check the online catalog for the library at Trinity College (which is one of Ireland’s legal deposit / depository libraries and has copies of every important book published here in the last couple of centuries, along with many much older ones), or the National Library of Ireland (ditto).
The listing of the above: (NB: I’m excluding the relatively modern fiction [the Stephens] and the Welsh, Scots and Orkney material from the list to keep things clear.)
LEGENDS AND TALES OF IRELAND, Samuel Lover and Thomas Crofton Croker
MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE CELTIC RACE, T. W. Rolleston
OXFORD COMPANION TO IRISH HISTORY, S. J. Connolly (not a book on legends, but provides context)
THE IRISH FAIRY BOOK, Alfred Percival Graves
CELTIC FAIRY TALES, Joseph Jacobs
GODS AND FIGHTING MEN, Lady Gregory*
VISIONS AND BELIEFS IN THE WEST OF IRELAND, Lady Gregory*
CUCHULAIN OF MUIRTHEMNE, Lady Gregory*
IRISH SAGAS AND FOLK TALES, Eileen O’Faolain
…As I said, this is a goodish basic library. There are of course hundreds if not thousands of books on Irish folklore out there, some of them excellent and some of them pretty worthless. The only way to find out which is which is to get a basic grounding in the subject and then start feeling your way forward.
*These three were published by Colin Smythe, who besides being Terry Pratchett’s publisher and agent, is also an Irish scholar of considerable repute.