The Book of 50 Irish Writers
They were rogues, adventurers, idealists, romantics, shrinking violets, ego maniacs and all the other wonders and failures of human nature besides. The men and women of established Irish Literature were once living, breathing people – ‘The Book of Irish Writers' releases them from their dust jackets and brings them to life!
Through this chronological series of easily digestible short programmes, the listener will be led in a clear and entertaining way through what might be considered by some as a stuffy and academic subject – Irish Literature! By illuminating the lives of our famous and forgotten writers – with all their foibles, weaknesses, triumphs and tragedies unveiled – the series will be a gripping listen for all those who enjoy social history, great characters and a good story!
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From Monday the 6th April on BBC Radio Ulster, the Arts Extra programme have been airing a series of fifty programmes taking you through a journey of the Irish Writing, direct from the Mythological Age right through til the Present Day.
Each week the Get Writing team will make these programmes available for you to sit back, listen and enjoy all over again.
Chapter 01 - Invasions & The Mythological Cycle
‘The Book of Invasions' contains tall tales of the first settlers in Ireland – these include the followers of one of Noah's granddaughters, a tribe of monstrous sea pirates and the fore-runners of our fairy folk!
Chapter 02- Ulster Cycle: Cúchulainn and the Táin Bó Cuailnge
‘The Ulster Cycle' features many stories about an Iron Age society in Ireland . One tale, the ‘Táin Bó Cuailnge' (the ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley') recounts the epic story of that flawed hero of Ulster , Cúchulainn, and his battle with the Connaught armies.
Chapter 03 - Ulster Cycle: Deirdre and the Exile of the Sons of Uisnech
The beautiful Deirdre elopes with her true love, Naoise. The couple are pursued relentlessly by the jealous King of Ulster, who had harboured plans to marry Deirdre himself. The story of these star crossed lovers has echoed down the years – from the tale of ‘Tristran and Isolde' in the legends of King Arthur to plays by W.B. Yeats and J.M. Synge.
Chapter 04 - Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fenian Cycle
There are many myths about the towering figure of Fionn Mac Cumhaill. In some he's noble and heroic, in others he's a champion womaniser – or a complete buffoon! This colourful character has lived on down the centuries in the mouths of countless storytellers – he is eventually adopted by a giant of Irish literature, James Joyce.
Chapter 05 - Cycles of Kings: Sweeney's Frenzy
The conflict between Christianity and Paganism in Ireland provides the spark for some of the greatest Irish stories – ‘Sweeney's Frenzy' is one. Sweeney, a king in an area which would now straddle the border of counties Down and Antrim, is driven to madness by the curses of St. Rónan. His manic wanderings across Ireland have inspired contemporary Irish writers – including Seamus Heaney.