Niamh Chinn Óir mounted her white stallion to ride the warm, west wind. Her golden hair, wild and free as horse’s mane danced in gay abandon. This journey, fit for none other than she of the faery folk had not been made for centuries. Leaving Tír na nÓg far behind, she crossed the perilous ocean.
What lover’s call had summoned her?
What sweet voice, carried on sea mist had entered her slumber? She would know his name.
Oisín, son of Fionn mac Cumhaill sat on a rock gazing over the crashing sea. The young warrior-bard paused from his labour, disturbed as he was by unquenched longing. His father, fierce and wise chieftain of the Fianna had conquered the Scottish giant Cú Chulainn. Oisin was tasked to write the victory for posterity making it known to all those who were destined to belong to the future.
A wind stirred his hair, just a whisper that carried sweet, unfathomable promise. He was lifted up into the air, dazzled by golden streams of sunlight. He looked upon the face of Niamh and knew the one for whom he had longed.
She carried him across the sea to Tír na nÓg, the land of Eternal Youth. The journey was the passing of a second. No mortal had ever crossed the perilous ocean to the edge of time, to the furthest, western-most reaches of the world where faery and mortal knew no distance or fear between them.
She was his arbour; him, the conqueror of all he surveyed ~ prince of timelessness.
But mortality is ruled by time. And soon the restless spirit summoned him to his father’s purpose. In his deepest heart he was of the blood-line race of Fianna and must return to Ireland to attend his kin.
Niamh warned him of succumbing to his mortal destiny. “If you set foot on Irish soil, it will be your end.” Echoes of her warning called after him on the high-pitched voice of the ill wind that carried him home.
Oisín was shocked at how his land and people had changed. He was a giant among men. Fields were cleared, forests cut down. Hunting had given way to farming. He sighted a group of workers as they struggled to lift a boulder and clear a new tillage. The boulder was of no consequence to Oisín. He leant from his horse to toss it aside. As he did so, his stirrup broke and he fell to the ground. Ageing in an instant, the three hundred years that had passed claimed him and returned him to the soil from whence he had come,
In Oisín’s passing, contact with faery was lost forever. Niamh came no more to the Emerald Isle. Although I hear it told that her name lives still in some of Erin’s daughters.
© 2013, story Niamh Clune, All rights reserved
DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE. Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.
10 thoughts on “The Legend of Tír na nÓg by Niamh Clune”
I would love to hear this read aloud….to know how those names sound!
Tír na nÓg = Tear Na Noge. Niamh = Nee-av, Cú Chulainn = Koo Cullen, Oisin = Oh-sheen, Fionn mac Cumhaill = Finn Mac Cool…I hope that helps, scillagrace! But you are right, reading out loud lends the lilt and the rhythm!
A fairy story at bedtime … wonderful. As much of a fantasy as it sounds, there is always going to be a reference to real stories and real characters in there somewhere, I feel, Niamh :). And yes, regardless of of how the names are pronounced, I would also like to hear you read it … #laydownthechallenge 😉
I believe that myths are maps of the unconscious, John. They map where we have come from in romantic terms, yes, but I believe that they speak of underlying archetypes that shape Psyche’s history. Myths speak of the soul’s journey. And the soul speaks in tongues of innate, inborn wisdom.
And lovely story and the name does indeed live on as we can see. Bravo, Niamh. A lovely faerie tale. (Borrowing Spencer’s spelling of fairy seems somehow right here.)
Enjoyed much. Thank you!
This is the spelling I would use too, as I love ancient spellings. Thank you Jamie.
All I can say is wow! So beautiful and … I was sad.
Oh! Raven Spirit. Irish legends are nearly always sad.
But now I am smiling! 😉
fabulous story – and wonderfully told…