Óisín agus Niamh i dTír na n-Óg

We are very busy celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge in NETNS this week.

In Junior Infants we worked on Irish Legends in our History lesson. We read the story of “Óisín agus Niamh i dTír na n-Óg”. This is the story:

Long ago in Ireland lived a man called Óisín. He was the handsome son of Finn and was the poet of the Fianna. (The Fianna were soldiers who were also storytellers and singers.) Óisín had silky red hair and sky-blue eyes. He was tall and strong. Finn was proud of Óisín because he could tell the history of the Fianna with exciting stories and poems.

One summer day, Finn, Óisín, and the Fianna were cooking fish on the beach and singing songs. Then the singing stopped in the middle of a word. They saw a lady riding a white horse over the water. As the horse splashed toward shore, Óisín saw that the rider was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The blue-eyed lady rode toward Finn. Her blonde hair flowed around her face. Her cloak sparkled like jewels in the sun.

“I am Niamh,” she explained. “I have come to Ireland from Tír na n-Óg, the Land of the Young. I once saw Óisín while he was out hunting.

Turning to look at Óisín, she continued. “Tír na n-Óg is a land where the sun always shines. No one is ever sick or old. Everyone eats his favorite foods and plays games. There are storytellers and music. The houses are made of gold and jewels. Birds sing. Colorful flowers grow. People wear soft, glittering clothes. Óisín, please come to Tír Na n-Óg with me!”

By this time, Óisín had decided that he would like to go to Tír na n-Óg. He turned and hugged Finn and said good-bye to his Fianna friends. He jumped up onto the horse and off they rode over the water. Finn had tears sliding down his face. He knew he would never see his son again. Niamh and Óisín travelled for hours over the waves. The horse galloped over the water as if it was dry land.

When they reached Tír na n-Óg, Óisín could hardly believe his eyes! The houses looked like castles shining in the light. The trees were full of ripe fruit. The fruit tasted sweeter and juicier than any Óisín had ever eaten. In the air were sounds of singing and smells of roasting meat and fresh bread. On Óisín’s skin, the breeze felt soft and warm.

Óisín was happy for many years. But one day, about ten years later,Óisín began to miss Ireland. He missed his father Finn and the Fianna. He even missed the Irish rain! He asked to borrow the magic horse to visit Ireland once more.

Niamh agreed, but she told Óisín that many things had changed in Ireland. She also warned him that if his feet touched the ground, he could never return to Tír na n-Óg.

Óisín rode to Ireland as fast as he could. When he arrived, he scratched his head in puzzlement. The men of Ireland seemed much smaller and weaker than those he had known before. Worse yet, Finn and the Fianna were no longer alive! A few people had heard of the Fianna, but thought they were only an old myth. Óisín cried. He discovered that what had seemed like ten years in Tír na n-Óg had really been three hundred years in Ireland.

As he rode along thinking sad thoughts, he saw fifteen men trying to move a rock. They pushed and pulled. They could not move it! Óisín reached down and easily lifted the rock. But as he did, he lost his balance and fell off the magic horse. The horse ran off to the sea.

The fifteen men watched in fear. Óisín, a young, strong man, was changing into a very, very old man. His hair turned white. He stooped with age. He spoke in a creaky voice as he told the men about his stay in Tír na n-Óg. He told of his friends the Fianna.

Óisín died of old age in front of the men. The men buried Óisín in the soil of Ireland, the land he loved.

Junior Infants drew a picture of what they thought “Tír na n-Óg” looked like and they were all fantastic! Well done Junior Infants!!