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The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel

By Stokes, Whitely

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Book Id: WPLBN0003467062
Format Type: PDF eBook :
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Reproduction Date: 2014

Title: The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel  
Author: Stokes, Whitely
Language: English
Subject: Sacred Texts, Legends and Sagas, Celtic Folklore
Collections: Sacred Texts
Publication Date:
Publisher: New York, P. F. Collier & son


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Whitely, S. (1910). The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel. Retrieved from

Description: The vast and interesting epic literature of Ireland has remained, for the most part, inaccessible to English readers until these last sixty years. In 1853, Nicholas O'Kearney published the Irish text and an English translation of The Battle of Gabra, and since that date the volume of printed texts and English versions has steadily increased. Now there lies open to the ordinary reader a considerable mass of material illustrating the imaginative life of medieval Ireland. Of these Irish epic tales, The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel is a specimen of remarkable beauty and power. The primitive aspects of the story are made evident in the way that the plot turns upon the disasters that follow on the violation of taboos, by the monstrous nature of many of the warriors, and by the absence of any attempt to explain the beliefs implied or the marvels related in it. The powers and achievements of the heroes are fantastic and extraordinary beyond description. The natural and extra-natural constantly mingle, yet nowhere does the narrator express surprise. The technical method of the tale, too, is curiously and almost mechanically symmetrical, after the manner of savage art. Both description and narration are marked by a high degree of freshness and vividness. The following translation is, with slight modification, that of Dr. Whitley Stokes, from a text constructed by him on the basis of eight manuscripts, the oldest going back to about 1100 A.D. The story itself is, without doubt, from several centuries earlier and belongs to the oldest group of extant Irish sagas.


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