What I set out to do was to create a book that would have the same energy and impact as my live performances. And what shapes my telling of stories is my belief that stories should never be passive – they must excite emotions, debate, disagreements and moments of breath taking wonder.
The reason that Irish stories survived for centuries and millennia is that they ignited such a spark in people that they felt compelled to pass those stories on and on down the generations. It was not enough then for me to simply retell stories from the west. I needed to step into them and make them as real and vivid as possible.
I also had to respect the fact that Galway and its people have never existed in isolation – events further afield have impacted on the lives and the tales of people here. So the focus of the stories is Galway Bay, but the stories move back and forth across Connaught and Munster, and even further away to exotic locations like Malaga in Spain and Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn.
As well as local folk tales, myths and urban legends I wove in history, archaeology, theories on early settlements in Ireland, as well as philosophy, astro-physics and my own imagination. The book is also filled with wonderful illustrations by the artist Marina Wild. The result is a fast paced book filled with magic and adventures that covers a period of time from the birth of the universe right up to post Celtic Tiger Ireland. My hope is that the book will prove that the stories of the west are as relevant, inspiring and powerful today as they were when first told.
Extracts from the book that can be read online include:
Saint Patrick and the Island of Strangers
Fighting the Tuatha de Danann