chapter  3
41 Pages

This Monotony of Happiness: "The Wanderings of Oisin"

ByFrank Kinahan

"The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland" describes what happened to a mortal who never reached the islands of the blessed. Its complement is "The Wanderings of Oisin", which describes what happened to a man who did. The opening lines of the 1889 version of "The Wanderings of Oisin" describe the exhausted remnant of the Leinster leadership in unsuccessful pursuit of a deer in the hills above Lough Leane, largest of the lakes of Killarney. W. B. Yeats follows O'Looney's translation up to the point at which Oisin and Niamh depart for the islands of the sidhe; but from that point on, "The Wanderings of Oisin" and its original generally part company. The opening of "The Wanderings of Oisin" prescinds from O'Kearney's remarks on the battle of Gabhra as watershed, a debacle that marked the final breaking of Fenian power.