Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
O'Shea, Pat

(1931-    ) Irish writer, resident in the UK since 1947, whose The Hounds of the Mórrígan (1985) is a successful Celtic Fantasy written ostensibly for children (see Children's Fantasy) but widely read by adults. The boy hero's discovery of the evil Serpent Olc-Glas from Irish myth, bound (see Bondage) by St Patrick into a picture in a Book, precipitates a prolonged, colourful and breathlessly inventive chase across Ireland with the Mórrígan, her two blackly comic Witch aspects (making Three; see Goddess) and her menacing but inept Hounds in pursuit. There is much Crosshatching between modern Ireland and mythic Tir-Nan-Og, and Timeslip detours through earlier (e.g., Victorian) times. Numerous and varied Talking Animals – including Cats, Birds and even insects, among them a Napoleonic earwig – assist the fleeing boy and his sister, as do Cuchulain, Queen Maeve, the druid Cathbad, and such Irish Gods as the Love god Angus Óg and the all-powerful Dagda. After dramatic obstacles, including a magic Labyrinth, all ends well with the destruction of Olc-Glas and the Mórrígan's discomfited return to her role as queen of Ghosts ... although the Dagda's reward of rainbows hardly compensates the children for their traditional Memory Wipe. Finn Mac Cool and the Small Men of Deeds (1987) is a Twice-Told fable (see Finn Mac Cool). [DRL]

Pat O'Shea


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.