So, today I have a post that’s a little different from normal. Some of you may know that today is the release of Annie Cosby’s new book The Daughters of Morrigan, which has been published by Snowy Wings Publishing; as I’ve drowning in ARCs at the moment I didn’t request a copy of the book, but after seeing the cover I just knew I had to reach out to Annie Cosby about her doing a guest post for my blog on the day of the release.
Annie has been incredibly kind to put together a post for me, & you, that discusses the Irish legend/s that inspired this incredible YA fantasy series.
Irish legend is fairly well-known the world over: leprechauns, fairies, good luck, finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… We’ve all heard it. But it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland, that I learned the true, darker nature of these Celtic legends and myths.
For a girl from a large Irish-Catholic family in the landlocked midwestern United States, living in Galway was a life-changing experience. (And not just because of the accents and proximity to the ocean, though both probably contributed to my falling in love with an Irish guy.)
I was a literature major, so a lot of my classes in Galway were about classic Irish literature and poetry, in addition to the requisite Irish history and culture classes all foreign students had to take. It’s a pretty big understatement to say the history of this little island is tragic, and their stories and legends reflect that. The sanitized versions we saw in U.S. media (and the cereal aisle) weren’t the same that Yeats incorporated into his writing.
And so my fascination with Celtic myth began. My first love were selkies, mythological beings that could transform from seals to humans, which formed the basis for my first trilogy of YA novels, Hearts Out of Water. Then there’s the death-heralding banshee and water monster kelpie, which feature in my Celtic lore short story anthology, Fadó, Fadó (which means “long, long ago” in Irish), along with other strange creatures.
Now there is the Morrigan. The Morrigan is a Celtic warrior goddess who appears in several different sagas of myth (scholars call these different bodies of myth “cycles”). She is said to have predicted the deaths of warriors and been able to transform into various animals. And, best of all, she was considered a sovereignty goddess with the power to topple kings and defeat armies. Her presence in lore is huge and powerful, which made it overwhelming for me to consider writing about her.
However, one of the consistencies of Irish legend is just how inconsistent it is. The Morrigan is sometimes depicted as a single being, and sometimes as three sisters. Sometimes she’s a young woman, sometimes an old woman. Her parentage changes — heck, even her name changes! Because of this, I could only take the original myth as inspiration, or a starting point, and let my imagination run wild from there.
Of course, being a descendant of Irish immigrants, one of the facets of Ireland I find most fascinating is its history with emigration. The island’s generations of mass emigration are the reason so many Americans call themselves “Irish.” It’s why the classic Irish pub is ubiquitous on every continent. It’s why people of Irish descent live all over the globe. I knew I wanted to adapt the legend of the Morrigan to a modern setting, keeping in mind the Irish diaspora, and use it to explore the power of young women.
Another aspect of Irish history that fascinated me is how blurred the line between history and lore tends to be. There are so many fascinating historical figures that modern scholars aren’t entirely sure existed outside of legend. And that’s where I drew one of the story’s main antagonists. With that, I had nearly all the pieces of my story.
Oh, and by the way, I did end up marrying that boy I fell in love with during my semester in Ireland. We live in the U.S. now, but we returned to Ireland this past summer to celebrate our marriage with his family and our Irish friends.
My mom and I found the cheapest castle in Ireland for our Irish wedding celebration. This charming 16th century tower house with its rundown rooms, dusty tapestries and massive walls provided the setting for my version of the Morrigan myth. And that was the last piece to my story:
Three sisters. A magical castle. And a legend as old as Ireland.
About The Daughters of Morrigan
The day the Doyle sisters are attacked by a monster on the foggy shores of the Atlantic, they’re saved by a mysterious boy who stumbles out of the waves. That’s the first sign that nothing in their small world will ever be the same again.
Striking, vain Bríd, caring but brusque Moira, and sweet, silent Ríona invite their injured savior into the crumbling castle they call home, only to find he’s prepared to challenge everything they think they know …
About themselves. About their family. About their upbringing here on the edge of the world. And about the magic that permeates the castle. For the girls are keeping secrets of their own.
When a second attack takes them all by surprise, they’ll have to decide what to believe, what to reveal, and just how to stay alive.
Will the old walls of the castle be enough to keep the Doyle sisters safe, or will they be forced to flee?
The Daughters of Morrigan is the first in a contemporary YA fantasy series steeped in Irish legend. If you like a wild and sweeping setting and characters to fall for, you’ll love the first installment in Annie Cosby’s haunting new series, Souls Out of Ireland.
The Daughters of Morrigan is available now on Amazon! READ IT TODAY!
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