Saints and Gore and Fairy Lore
Saints and Gore and Fairy Lore: Stories of Irish and Basque Myth and Legend. Richard Marsh (audiocassette) Self-produced, 1997. approx. 55 mins.. Now available as CD €12.5 and MP3 download €5
The title of Marsh's tape is dead on. There are saints, and fairy lore, and, yes, gore. Heads sown like seeds and soil fertilized with blood, a son slain by his father, and a father's head thrown on the bed of a faithless queen...Irish tales do have their share of gore. But they have their share of humour, however wry, as in the case of St. Kevin who disliked people, especially women, but loved animals. And there is love - great love - and loss, and faithful hounds and true friends. All of this told by Richard Marsh, an American who conducts Legendary Tours combining visits to ancient sites with the stories that happened there. Marsh' s voice is wonderful, deep and rich, and reminiscent of the actors down the road from me at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival.
His delivery is quick, slick, and almost methodical at times. I can imagine myself on one of the "Legendary Tours". Then I hear these stories because of the amount of background information that is given and the way Marsh delivers the tales. The exposition was confusing only in the first story, and then, probably, because of the number of Irish place and character names which the teller introduces in short order. Still, hearing the pronunciation of these names was one of the things that made me enjoy the tape.
In the end, if we cannot live in Tír na NÓg, then we could do worse than live by the same three truths as the men of the Fianna: truth in our hearts, strength in our hands, and fulfilment in our tongues.
15 Fontenoy Street
Dublin 7, Ireland
The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 2, June 1998