Independent Irish Narratives

So-called because the following stories are long works unconnected to any of the four accepted Irish cycles, the "Independent Narratives" are unconnected stories of madness ("The Frenzy of Suibhne", which prefigures the story of the Madness of Merlin), battles between druids ("The Colloquy of the Two Sages"), adventures at sea (the voyages of Bran and of Maildun), and an early version of the grail myth ("The Adventures of the Great Fool"). They even include the mock epic "Vision of Mac Con Glinne" a satire on the heroic tales of Irish myth, and the first satire in the vulgar tongue.

Despite what at first glance might seem a secondary status, these stories have had as much an impact as the Tain Bo Cuailnge or Book of Invasions. Tennyson wrote his own version of "The Voyage of Maeldun" while "The Frenzy of Suibhne" has been recalled in the poetry of T.S. Eliot ("Sweeney Erect" and "Sweeney Among the Nightingales"), Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds, and has been translated by Seamus Heaney.

The Stories:

The Frenzy of Suibhne
The Voyage of Bran mac Febral
The Voyage of Maildun
The Tales of Mongan
The Colloquy of the Two Sages
The Adventures of the Great Fool
The King of Ireland's Son
The Voyage of Snedgusa and Mac Riagla
The Voyage of Curaig Ui Corra
The Vision of Mac Con Glinne

Most of these tales are available on the internet; otherwise, they can be found in Ancient Irish Tales, translated by Cross & Slover, Barnes and Noble, 1996.

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Mary Jones 2004