Bob Curran and Andrew Whitson: A Field Guide to Irish Fairies 

Marian McHugh wrote this review.

A Field Guide to Irish FairiesEver wondered what a Pooka was or wanted to know more about Leprechauns or the Banshee? Then this book is for you. In this little book (66 pages) you will find all the information you require on the Grogoch, the Grey Man, the Sheerie, Changelings, the Pooka, Merrows, the Banshee, the Leprechaun and the Dullahan. There is also an Appendix with a page devoted to each of the Butter Spirit, the Skeaghshee or Oakshee, the Far Darrig and the Watershee.

The introduction provides background theories on the origins of fairies in Ireland including that of their being “Fallen Angels.” The aim of the book is to “identify those fairies which the reader is most likely to encounter, to detail their origins and characteristics and where appropriate, to list some of the protections which may be taken against their spiteful ways.”

Included for each fairy is a map of Ireland detailing where each fairy is most likely to be found, variants on their names, description, detailed drawing (both pen and wash and pencil), history plus a little side section of extra information. I found the variant names of especial interest not realising that Merrows are also known as selkies or mermaids, though unlike the mermaids of fairy tales these have the ability to move on land.

Though not a very large book and by no means covering all the Fairies of the Emerald Isle this is still an informative little book. The book would have benefited greatly from page numbering and an index, but due to its small size, these appear to have been omitted.

The one major disadvantage to the book is the size of the text, which is extremely small. I am under the impression that the book was originally designed to be much larger in size and has just been reduced to the smaller size for publication. There is no evidence, however, of a larger sized version having been published.

(Appletree Press, 1997)

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