A very timely reminder as we come up to Valentine’s Day and the great romance binge, of exactly how to crush the romance out of the loveliest story.
There is an ancient myth in Irish lore called “The Pursuit of Diarmaid and Gráinne” (or Tóraigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne, if you’re being scholarly about it). The vast majority of Irish children become familiar with the myth when they are very young. Some even study the 16th century Irish language text as teenagers for their final school exams. But it comes from the even older oral tradition, when stories were told around the fireside. Either way, it’s a great story: with love, deceit, betrayal, a big chase, and magic galore. It was a particular favourite of mine.
The story I know goes that Gráinne, the beautiful and spirited daughter of the powerful Irish High King, was to be married off in a political alliance to Fionn MacCumhaill, who although a great and famous warrior, was a ridiculously old widower by the time he felt like nuptialising Gráinne (the dirty old man)…
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