KINSELLA, Thomas & Louis Le BROCQUY. The Tain. Translated by Thomas Kinsella from the Irish Táin Bó Cuailgne. Brush Drawings by Louis le Brocquy.


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Dublin: Dolmen, 1969. Imperial octavo. First edition. pp. vi, [2], 294, [2]. Black buckram with an illustration of a bull in white by Le Brocquy on upper cover, title in white on spine. Limited edition of 1750 of which 750 were for sale in the USA. A fine copy in near fine dust jacket in fine slipcase. The ‘Táin Bó Cuailgne’ – the Cattle Drive of Cooley – is the central story in the great old-Irish saga- cycle featuring the Sons of Usnech, Cuchulainn, Ferdia, Maeve and the rival bulls of Connaught and Ulster, culminating in the ‘battle of the bulls’. The distinguished poet Thomas Kinsella began translating parts of the Táin while still a young man; short sections were published by Liam Miller’s Dolmen Press in 1954 and 1960.
In 1969, when Kinsella completed the entire translation, Liam Miller was inspired to ask Ireland’s premier living artist Louis le Brocquy to illustrate the text. The result was a triumph, undoubtedly the finest Irish book of its time. “This is undoubtedly the most famous book issued by the Dolmen Press and has been widely acclaimed for Thomas Kinsella’s translation of the Irish epic tale, for Louis le Brocquy’s vigorous brush drawings, and for its general design” - Liam Miller.


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