Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ella Young and Lugh

I recently posted on my Facebook author's page about how I turned Ella Young into a major character in my Celtic fiction novel  Bell Branch: Book One of The Éire Chronicles.  I'd like to expand on that now. 

In my novel, the great Celtic god Lugh is also a major character and he and Ella are joined together in an ancient quest to save the soul of  Ireland - or, more precisely, the ancient sacred land known as Éire.

Ella Young often visited the remote parts of the West of Ireland, finding inspiration to bring to life the old stories through her retelling of the tales and through her poetry.
Image by Denise Sallee
© Denise Sallee 2009

Since writing the novel I often find it hard to separate the historical Ella Young from the Ella Young who came alive through the weaving of my own words.

Here is a brief passage from her autobiography that is featured in the anthology of her work I co-edited with John Matthews. 


A country of stone, with colours no grassland can take: purples that lightened to amethyst, pale reaches of silver, blue that rivalled lapis lazuli, faint fugitive touches of rose. The lakes it had did not give greenness. Their waters were still and black. What did that country remember? Something too old for man. He had no part in the fantasy of its rocks, in the dark steely glitter of its waters. Hawks could live there. Hawks and the Gods of Dana. Like jewels, like the colours of dawn and sunset, like unearthly flowers, the Gods of Dana moved in the desert of stone, showed themselves in the haunted knolls. White horses, a flaunt of many-colored mantles, strange headdresses they had. Like a hound before them and following them went the wind. Music swirled and sounded about them. It was good for a man to veil his eyes as they passed. They were out of the old, old life of the earth—before the glaciers had ribbed these rocks and scooped these hollows—they would be there when ice again gave quietness to the world.
The country-folk had stories of giants and dwarfs, of kings whose burial mounds made the only hills in the landscape. A great battle between gods and demons had raged once from horizon to horizon.
"Do you see yon tall standing stone?" said the son of the house as the jaunting car rattled past it. "A great king lies under it. His name was Lugh Lamh-fada."
How well I knew that name! Lugh the Long-handed, the Sun God, Lugh Ildana, the Master of every Craft, the Champion of the Gods — Lugh, under that stone, dead! But his great white Hound still coursed the heavens, and dying folk yet prayed for dawn.

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