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The myth of Oisín and the land of eternal youth - Iseult Gillespie

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In a typical hero’s journey, the protagonist sets out on an adventure, undergoes great change and returns in triumph to their point of origin. But in the Irish genre of myth known as echtraí, the journey to the otherworld ends in a point of no return. Iseult Gillespie shares the myth of Oisín and the land of eternal youth.

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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Carol Freeman
  • Animator Katie Sherlock
  • Designer Carol Freeman, Katie Sherlock
  • Storyboard Artist Katie Sherlock
  • Composer Chris McLoughlin
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Conor Murray

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
The myth of Oisín in Tír na nÓg is from the Fenian cycle of Irish mythology, which focuses on Oisín’s father Fionn mac Cumhaill and his band of warriors, the Fenians. You can learn more about the four cycles of Irish mythology here. One of the most memorable myths is that of Oisín’s birth. According to the tale, Oisín’s mother Sadb was captured in the form of a deer by Fionn while he was out hunting (the name Oisín means “young deer”). Read more here. You can also learn about the ancient people of Ireland, the Tuath Dé Danann, by visiting this page.

Oisín is regarded not only as a skilled hero and warrior but as a great poet and is thought of as the bard who passed down the tales of the Fianna to younger generations. These stories are frequently told today at the Irish folklore museum, or the Leprechaun Museum! His time in Tír na nÓg has, in turn, inspired several important works of art. William Butler Yeats wrote a version of Irish mythology called Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry in which the story of Oisín is included. But he explores this character in greater detail in his epic poem "The Wanderings of Oisin." Read the full text here. Like his brother, Jack Butler Yeats was also inspired by the story and produced the painting A blackbird bathing in Tír na nÓg.

Need some insight on the hero’s journey? Watch this TED-Ed lesson: What makes a hero?

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Carol Freeman
  • Animator Katie Sherlock
  • Designer Carol Freeman, Katie Sherlock
  • Storyboard Artist Katie Sherlock
  • Composer Chris McLoughlin
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Conor Murray

Share

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