Liam Mac Uistin

Liam Mac Uistin was a well-known author and playwright. His versions of ancient Irish stories and legends have been published in the Irish language by An Gúm. His plays for stage, television and radio have been produced in many European countries and in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. His television play The Glory and the Dream won the Radio Telefís Éireann award.

His stage plays have been produced at the Abbey and Peacock theatres in Dublin. His stories and plays have received many literary awards.

Liam Mac Uistin is the author of The Táin, (O'Brien Press) a hugely popular book for the young reader on this great Celtic epic.

He died in 2018.

  • The Hunt for Diarmaid and Gráinne - Classic Celtic Tales
  • Fionn Mac Cumhaill was not happy. He stood at the window in the great hall of his fort on the Hill of Allen and stared down discontentedly at the River Liffey as it rolled across the plain of Kildare and on towards the sea.

    Two swans came into view, their necks touching. A pang of loneliness gripped him. Unlike the swans he had no partner to bring love and warmth into his life. Since the death of his second wife, Manissa, he had had no woman at his side.

    He turned away from the window and caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror of burnished brass that hung upon the wall. The furrow of discontent on his brow grew deeper. He was growing old. The fair hair which gave him his name was turning grey and his tall sturdy frame was becoming stooped. He sighed. Soon he would be seventy.

    The door of the great hall swung open and his son Oisín, with Dering, one of his bodyguards, hurried into the room.

    'Let's go hunting, Father,' Oisín said. 'There are deer in the Wood of -' Oisín stopped suddenly. 'Is there something wrong? Are you ill, Father?'

    'I am low in spirit,' his father replied. 'Since my beloved Manissa died I have been alone. I long for a wife and companion.'

    Oisín nodded sympathetically. He missed Manissa too, although he was the son of Fionn's first wife, Saba.

    'You should marry again,' he advised.

    'Yes,' said Dering, 'and I know the woman best fitted to be the wife of the great leader of the Fianna.'

    Fionn's eyes lit up. 'Who is she?' he asked.

    'Gr 'Of course!' said Oisín. 'I saw her in Tara at the great feast Cormac Mac Airt gave for her twentieth birthday. She is without question the most beautiful woman in Ireland B with long golden hair that falls to her waist, and eyes the colour of the sea under a summer sky. She is the most enchanting woman I know B and the most intelligent. Gr Fionn shook his head dubiously. 'Cormac and I have not been friends since I won his best chariot horse in a game of chess. He would undoubtedly refuse me permission to marry his daughter.'

    'Let me go to Tara and ask the High King on your behalf,' Oisín said.

    'Very well,' said Fionn. 'And as a token of my goodwill, you may take him back his chariot horse.'

    Fionn watched from the window as Oisín ordered one of the horse boys to make his chariot ready. He saw Oisín set off, urging his horses on till they outpaced the wind, on the forty-eight kilometre journey to the High King's palace on the Hill of Tara in Meath. Cormac's beautiful chariot horse ran alongside him. When his son's chariot disappeared from sight Fionn turned away from the window and sighed. He knew Oisín was a diplomat as well as a warrior, but Fionn doubted that the mission would be a success.<