Stories of the Sea: Maritime Memorates of Ireland and Scotland

Maxim Fomin, Séamus Mac Mathúna, Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, John Shaw

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The publication presents the preliminary findings of the research project ‘Stories of the Sea: A Typological Study of Maritime Memorates in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic Folklore Traditions’, based at the Research Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies at the Ulster University, and carried out in partnership with staff of Scottish and Celtic Studies, University of Edinburgh, and the National Folklore Collection, School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics, University College Dublin (UCD). The project was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) between September 2010 – February 2013, and we are grateful to the AHRC for their generous support and co-operation. The aim of the book is to present accounts of extraordinary maritime personal experiences from Ireland and Scotland which occur in liminal spatiotemporal contexts. Characteristically, these experiences involve encounters with ghosts, water creatures as well as other beings and objects. The stories include personal recollections (‘memorates’), accounts retold on the basis of someone else’s experience (‘fabulates’) and legends associated with particular events (‘folk legends’) or specific location (‘local legends’). The material selected for the present work ranges from the late nineteenth century stories of the MacLagan collection (Edinburgh) down to contemporarylegends from Dublin of the 1980s. The stories were collected from the following areas in Ireland – Antrim (Rathlin), Donegal (Teelin, Tory), Galway (Ballinakill), Mayo (Kilgalligan, Portacloy), Kerry (Great Blasket, Dingle, Curraghatoosane), Wexford (Duncormick), Waterford (Ardmore) – and in Scotland: Western Isles of Grimsay, Eriskay, Lewis (Stornoway), Berneray, Barra, Vatersay, Isle of Skye (Glendale), and Islay.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherCurach Bhán Publications
Number of pages96
ISBN (Print)978-3-942002-16-5
Publication statusPublished online - 15 Jun 2015


  • maritime tradition
  • memorates
  • Irish folklore
  • coastal communities of North Atlantic
  • Celtic Studies
  • Scottish Gaelic folklore
  • supernatural
  • seascapes
  • fishing
  • mermaids
  • storm apparitions
  • drownings
  • sea-wrecks
  • sea travel
  • navigation
  • folklore classification


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