The Importance Of The Oral Irish Storytelling Tradition In Short Stories

1252 Words6 Pages
Oral literature is one the main component of folklore. Indeed, the oral Irish storytelling tradition is very ancient. According to Seán Ó Súilleabháin 's definition in Storytelling in Irish Tradition, tales have several functions such as entertainment. Indeed, before the invention of the television and all the modern means of amusement, storytelling was vey valuable to spend the long, dark, winter nights. It was very important for the social cohesion of the community, it gathered people together. It also allowed to transmit information about the community, the individual, the landscape, the history, the past. Storytelling also has some cathartic functions, indeed, an identification with the hero is possible. But the storytelling tradition is the reflect of a fundamental need for self-expression. As a result, the tales also allow the listener to learn something about his commnity, his culture... In this essay, the focus will be on the Fenian cycle and why those stories are important in the Irish storytelling tradition. The main features of this cycle will first be examined with some examples of stories. And this will lead the essay towards the comparison of two stories from the cycle.

The Fenian cycle belongs to the folkltale tradition. According to Seán Ó Súilleabháin, “a folktale may be described as a narrative which is traditional in the sense that it is usually handed down orally from one person to another. (…) A tale may have been written down in manuscript from
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