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Carnaun School, Ireland

Irish Legends

One morning the fianna were going hunting. They were standing on the shores of Loch Lein waiting for the hunt to begin when they saw the most beautiful woman they had ever seen coming towards them. She had golden hair which almost reached her toes, and her eyes were as blue as the sky. Her dress was brown and there were stairs around the neck and hem. She was riding a strong white horse.
"Who are you, and why have you come to Ireland"? Fionn called to her as soon as she was near. "I am Niamh the daughter of the King of Tir na nOg" she said "I have come to find your son, Oisin I have heard of his courage and of his poems and songs and I want to marry him and bring him back with me to Tir na nOg". Then she turned to Oisin. "Tir na nOg is a happy country" she said "There is hunting there and fishing, and everyone is young. If you come with me, you will have everything you could wish for, and you will never grow old".
'I will come with you", said Oisin, and got up behind her on the white horse. The Fianna were very sad when they saw him going. Oisin was one of there greatest heroes and he was their poet and storyteller. "I will come back soon",' he promised, and then he and Niamh set off.
They travelled quickly. The horse galloped over land and sea. At last they arrived at a country where the grass was greener and the sky was bluer than Oisin had ever seen. This is Tir na nOg said Niamh. They were met by the king and queen who welcomed Oisin. Then they feasted for seven days and seven nights and on the last night Niamh and Oisin got married.
Oisin was happy in Tir Na nOg. He hunted and feasted, as Niamh had promised, and he told stories about Fionn and the Fianna. Time passed quickly and Oisin felt he had only been there three years but in fact he had been there far, far longer. One day he began to feel homesick. "Niamh" he said "I want to go back to Ireland to visit the Fianna". Niamh looked sad but she gave Oisin her white horse. "Be careful" she warned him. "Whatever happens do not get off the horse if you do, you will never come back to Tir na nOg". Oisin promised to do as she said and he set off. Ireland seemed to have changed when Oisin arrived, but he pressed on to look for the Fianna. As he was riding through Gleann na Smol, he saw some men pushing a big stone. The men looked very small to Oisin and they were having a lot of trouble with the stone.
Oisin rode over to them. "I will move that stone for you" he said. He was so big that he terrified the men. Oisin bent down, leaning over the horses back. He picked up the stone and flung it away but he was too heavy for the girth of the saddle. It broke and Oisin fell on to the ground. As soon as he touched the ground, he changed from a handsome young soldier into a wrinkly old man. The men he had helped picked him up and carried him to a house nearby. There they told their story to a holy man. Oisin told them who he was and what had happened him.
"Where are Fionn and the Fianna"? He asked. "It is three hundred years since the Fionn lived in Ireland", the holy man told him. Oisin lived there until he died, but before he died, he told many stories about Fionn and the Fianna, and that way he made sure that they would never be forgotten in Ireland.
Barry. 5th. Class