Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

The Legend of Tír na nÓg by Niamh Clune

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 had carried on sea-foam mist to enter her slumber? She would know his name.

Oisín, son of Fionn mac Cumhaill sat on rock gazing over sea. Young warrior bard took pause from 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 by it, dazzled by golden streams of sunlight. He looked upon the face of Niamh and knew his love.

On her horse, 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, and 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.


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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

11 comments on “The Legend of Tír na nÓg by Niamh Clune

  1. Shawn MacKENZIE
    March 17, 2012

    Before Patricius came along, Dragons could be seen dancing along the Giant’s Causeway. I have it on the best authority. 🙂

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      March 21, 2012

      Then it must be true. I am sure that they passed along the Giant’s Causeway, as it was an easy route to Scotland. I have heard it told that some Celtic dragons were not only greedy, but lazy.

      Like

      • Shawn MacKENZIE
        March 22, 2012

        Lazy Dragons? Hmmm…not so much lazy as taking a much needed respite between hard times flying for their lives.

        Like

      • ontheplumtree
        March 22, 2012

        Ah! of course. That is the reason. They do get bad press.

        Like

      • Shawn MacKENZIE
        March 23, 2012

        🙂

        Like

  2. DiAnne Ebejer
    March 17, 2012

    What a lovely and romantic story and very creative and imaginative.

    Like

  3. reagan1mc
    March 17, 2012

    I enjoyed the story and the deeper meaning it leads to. Time does change us all but something in us is ever unchanging.

    Like

  4. dougjohnson1950
    March 17, 2012

    I love Irish mythology! The legends are full of magic and Heroes. Thanks Niamh for taking us deep into that Irish world of fairies and fantasy on this St Patrick’s Day. Who better to write about that imaginative and mystical land.

    Like

  5. karenselliott
    March 17, 2012

    Love is found and lost…how tragic. A wonderful story, Niamh.

    Like

  6. J.P. Lane (@jpLANEauthor)
    March 18, 2012

    Niamh, what a rare treat – as Doug said, full of magic, and meaning. Love it.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Wearin’ o’ the green to honor St. Paddy | Heartspoken

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