~ Illumination Tales ~

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Illumination Tales by Dalrymple MacAlpin is a triptych of stories based on the mythical motif of the thumb of knowledge. Its conception occurs in Irish, Welsh and Norse myths wherein a hero unwittingly acquires the universal wisdom of enlightenment and poetic inspiration and is thus elevated from the mundane level of society into the liminal, numinous realm of the Gods. In reaching back to the roots of these myths, MacAlpin has suddenly opened his audience up to a landscape shrouded in what he terms, the terrific and terrifying mysteries. 


In the case of Finn mac Cumhaill, by far the oldest source of the thumb of knowledge motif, the stories are found surviving in a scant few precious lines of text which only offer a tantalizing glimmer of what the 'whole' must of contained. In MacAlpin's rendering of these stories, he has endeavored to find that missing 'whole' and breathe new life into the dusty vellum of antiquity. 


The first offering of Illumination Tales will focus upon the Irish lore concerning the quasi divine, historical, mythical, warrior, hunter and poet seer Finn mac Cumahill. 

It features several original compositions using early Irish lyrics from the Bodleian MS Laud 610. The recording of Illumination Tales will take place at three sacred sites in Ireland, the hill of Almu in county KIldare, the bend in the Boyne near Brú na Bóinne in county Meath and sid ar femin atop Slievenamon in county Tipperary. 


Illumination Tales is expected to be released in the Spring of 2021.

ILLUMINATION TALES Selected Bibliography

Arbuthnot, S. J., and Parsons, G., (eds) The Gaelic Finn tradition. Four Courts Press, (Dublin, 2012).


Boyle, E., Allegory, The áes dána and the liberal arts in medieval Irish literature. D. Hayden and 


P. Russell (eds) Grammatica, gramadach and gramadeg. Vernacular grammar and grammarians in 


medieval Ireland and Wales (Amsterdam, 2016), pp 11-34.

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