'Eachtra Ghiolla an Amaráin' is a remarkable and unique work, in which the narrator outlines the events of his journey by sea from Waterford to the New World. While on the ship, the goddess of Munster, Aoibheall na Carraige Léithe, appears to him and they travel to the underworld. The influence of Book VI of the Aeneid is vivid in this section of the poem but the poet has given it an Irish flavour and has left his own rebellious stamp on the events in Hades.
'Eachtra Ghiolla an Amaráin' is comparable to other haunting works from the 18th century, like Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire and Cúirt an mheon-oíche. The scope of the poet's imagination is illustrated through the narrative structure and with the range of his study and this gives an epic quality to the poem in its entirety. The richness of expression and the polish of the metre is particularly noticeable. This authoritative edition is based on the original manuscript sources and is accompanied by a foreword, explanatory notes, glossary and index.
Dr Pádraig Ó Liatháin
Dr Pádraig Ó Liatháin is a Lecturer in Irish in Fiontar and Scoil na Gaeilge in Dublin City University.