Birds have been part of our culture for thousands of years. They have inspired poets and painters, and feature in many legends and place names. Here Niall Mac Coitir provides a comprehensive look at the mythology, legends and folklore of Irish birds, both wild and domestic. He presents various aspects of bird folklore, such as fairy birds, birds of notable song or beauty, birds in the Brehon Laws and in early Irish poetry, and legends, such as the Children of Lir being turned into swans and how the banshee often appeared in the form of a crow, are featured. The birds are presented in seasonal order based either on their migratory habits, for example the cuckoo in summer, or on their cultural associations, such as the robin at Christmas. Also explored is how birds are often powerful symbols of various virtues and qualities, such as the goose, which is a symbol of watchfulness and bravery.Written with imagination and enthusiasm, this mix of natural history, mythology and folklore will entertain and enlighten all interested in the birds of Ireland.
Niall Mac Coitir grew up in a bilingual environment in Dublin with a love of Irish history, culture and nature instilled into him. An active member of the Irish Wildlife Trust, he works for Fingal County Council. His other books are Ireland's Wild Plants: Myths, Legends & Folklore, Ireland's Animals: Myths, Legends & Folklore, and Ireland's Trees: Myths, Legends & Folklore.