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Meeting the Other Crowd Paperback – January 29, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* During folklore's first and greatest period, the end of the nineteenth century, such gifted writers as Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats wandered the Irish countryside, gathering the oral vestiges of a great tradition. Publishing their gleanings later, sometimes altered in transcription, they garnered an audience eager for tales of heroes, fairies, and gods. Such compilations as theirs remain major sources of Irish mythology. One of the best-known seanachies, or traditional tale spinners, in Ireland today, Lenihan is an Irish-speaking schoolmaster in the very area where Gregory and Yeats gathered their tales. He discloses that, despite the arrival of fax, Internet, and cell phone, the old tales persist. His fresh collection includes some famous motifs, such as the "fairy blast" that steals away people and things, but also such regionally specific figures as Biddy Early, the White Witch of Clare--a historical figure around whom myths have accrued. Lenihan focuses on the "other crowd" of the title: the fairy people, who are the diminished remnants of old gods, still able to affect the world of humankind. This is not quaint fluff but the powerful, sometimes disturbing lore of a world parallel to and occasionally intersecting ours. A major contribution to its field, the book is also compulsively readable, not least because Green, an audio producer, has helped capture the torque of Irish speech in Lenihan's storytelling. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"… powerful, sometimes disturbing lore … A major contribution to its field, the book is also compulsively readable …" -- Booklist (starred review)

"…rich and absorbing narratives … free of the New Age cant that has infected so many contemporary accounts of traditional folklore." -- Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (February 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A wonderful, potent, enspirited, and true-to-essence treatment of an often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misrepresented subject: the faery folk. Lenihan is an authentic seanachai (storyteller) in the Irish traditions, but even more he is one who undoubtedly has a profound relationship with the life-affirming powers known as faery. Thanks to Carolyn Eve Green's mastery of the written (and spoken) word, we are invited into the world of Irish story, not as mere tales, but as maps into the Otherworld. In Ireland sacredness is inseparable from story, and story is inseparable from place--both the places named and seen in ordinary reality, and those places that border our world, that are inhabited by intelligent and powerful beings. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the Gaelic visionary traditions and the "co-present dimension of faery" this book will serve as an ample introduction to these enlivened cosmologies. For others who think the faery people are little gossamer-winged sprites, think again. Meeting the Other Crowd takes us into the faery world. Ultimately, this book is a profound contribution to understanding the transpersonal realities of the primal Irish and primal Celtic traditions in general. Where the classic work by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, was essentially an outsider cataloguing an ethnological record of belief, Meeting the Other Crowd offers us the perspective and perceptions of an insider--a living practitioner who knows quite well that the realm of faery is real, and alive, and capable of initiating the human being into a profound reality of spirit and connection to earth.--...
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book straight through, because I couldn't bear to put it down! Mr. Lenihan has a great talent for capturing the ideas and "brogue" of the people he hears stories from, and his reviews of each story really make you think. I found this book to be fascinating, informative, and yet at times chilling. (I certainly wouldn't want to read these stories to my children at bedtime!) It offers a great deal of insight to the lives of the Good People, as well as into the lives of the past Irish, may their knowledge and stories ever be preserved.
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Format: Hardcover
Eddie Lenihan is a national treasure of Ireland.
The folklorist is obsessed with the collection and sharing of Ireland's old stories. Realizing that the old ways -- sharing stories over a peat fire or a pint -- are in danger of extinction in modern Ireland, Lenihan moves mountains to find tales before they're lost and forgotten in the wake of television and technology. Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland is Lenihan's latest effort to share and preserve those tales.
Worth the cover price alone is Lenihan's lengthy introduction, which discusses Ireland's vanishing oral tradition, as well as ancient and modern perceptions of fairy stories. Ireland may be a player in the international field of the 21st century, but that doesn't mean the people there -- even the younger generation -- discount entirely the lore that forms the bedrock of their society. And maybe, just maybe, there is still good reason to believe....
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you think fairies are little winged creatures to amuse children, think again. Lenihan has collected Irish folk tales that show the serious and often the dangerous side of the world of fairy -- a world very much alive in the traditions of Ireland. Not all encounters with the world of fairy lead humans to disaster, but be warned that some of these stories are NOT bedtime reading if you want to sleep well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lenihan's prefatory remarks deserve a quote:

Yet I am not so sentimental as to imagine that people can be other than creatures of their time and place. And our time and place is a world, a society that emphasizes the technological rather than the personal (despite what advertisers might have us believe), the superficial and fleeting rather than the profound, the commercial at the expense of the communal. All these changes have their price, and the casualties we can see all around us. (12)

Here, Lenihan speaks for all of us who witness the recent decades that have transformed the physical and spiritual Irish landscapes irrevocably. Lenihan's compilation of oral testimony, mainly gathered from the region, witnesses a less manicured environment. There, ringforts survive as fairy redoubts, lights dance and dust puffs as evidence of fairy activity, and those of us who dare to cross to their side live shortly or longer afterwards, seemingly at the whim of beings diminished in size but not in power. Speaking Irish, hurling, dancing, they represent the survival of a "hidden Ireland" refusing to capitulate to the modern age, just as Daniel Corkery wrote, perhaps romantically I admit, of the 18c bards clinging to the their remnants of an indigenous Munster mentality. Lenihan's collected accounts of rural informants tell us of an era that may, I hazard, hearken back to a "race memory" of the Iron Age, as the indigenous people retreated before the triumph of the unbending ax and the steely blade, so that their descendants the Tuatha de Danaan cringe before the mower's scythe or the spalpeen's knife, while we flee from their nocturnal hegemony across flowing water to at least temporary refuge.
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