Preface by Shae Clancy
Francine Nicholson started this project about 10 years ago. Francine had a deep interest in all things Celtic and had an awesome knowledge of Celtic mythology and folklore. She dearly wanted to integrate genuine Celtic ideals and philosophies into her lifestyle and embarked on a voyage. She encountered many obstacles - counter-currents, contrary winds and conflicting tides - that impeded her journey and sometimes sent her off-course. She finally found her true bearings and, having arrived safely at her destination, vowed that she would do her best to help others avoid the obstacles that beset her.
She cajoled several people to contribute chapters to a book that would help to explain the difference between Celtic fact (what we actually know) from Celtic fiction (what we speculate). Several authors contributed and their chapters are gratefully acknowledged. We all hope that our efforts will be of benefit.
Francine and I had been communicating about this project for several months during 2002/2003. She was extremely enthusiastic about it and was determined it should see the light of day as a book. She asked me to help her see it through because she had a medical condition (diabetes) that might prevent her from dedicating all her time to it. Needless to say, I promised I would. Little did I know that Francine would leave us on 1st February 2003 (Lá 'le Bhríd)
I fulfilled my promise as best I could, although it took quite a while. I hear Francine asking: 'MISTER Clancy! What is your excuse?'
My excuse is that each chapter was written as a stand-alone essay and not as a book chapter. There were multiple repetitions when the chapters were all combined, with everybody using the same examples again and again. In one instance, two pages of text were copied from one chapter and pasted into another! So, I had to spend quite a while eliminating repetition and trying to make the text flow.
I submitted my final version of the text to Collins Press in 2005. They were quite interested and sent it to an external reader for evaluation. The reader's response was not enthusiastic and I requested a second opinion. The second reader was much more enthusiastic and made lots of excellent suggestions about improving the text. I incorporated those and re-submitted to Collins Press. Sadly, although very tempted, they felt that, as a small publisher, they couldn't take the chance.
I approached other publishers over the next few months, but to no avail. So, in order to please Francine and get her off my back, I decided to publish the book on-line. It would be an awful shame if all this information remained sitting in my computer.
Thanks to Hilaire, Kent, Kathryn and Alexei for giving me permission to publish their contributions. I haven't been able to contact Meredith Richards to ask her permission but there are links to her previously published chapters on the 'Contents' page.
Finally, I thank Con Collins of Collins Press for his encouragement and help (bet you're sorry now, Con!) and Claire Sexton for permission to use her photograph for the book cover.
Really finally, very special thanks to John Leyden without whose expertise and patience this whole project would never have appeared here.
©All text in this on-line book is copyright of the individual authors and may not be reproduced without permission. The cover photograph, 'Aran Islands from Doolin' is owned by Claire Sexton and may not be reproduced without permission.