The Big Tree of Bunlahy
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By Padraic Colum
Donn Byrne’s description of Ireland as “the rock whence I was hewn” could very well have been Padraic Colum’s. Like Byrne, Colum was a “Child of the Celtic lands,” with a profound love for his homeland. That selfsame love shines through every word of The Big Tree of Bunlahy: Stories of My Own Countryside: “I remember coming into Bunlahy when I was as young as that little tree growing on the moss of the wall…” Expanding upon tales from his hometown in County Longford, Colum captures both imagination and sense of humor with the “Story of Usheen”; “The First Harp; “Our Hen; “The Father Under the Sea”; “The Wizard Earl”; “When the Luprachauns Came to Ireland”; “King Cormac’s Cup”; “The Spaeman”; and others.
Fame is not only for the big and stirring things of the world; things that aren’t big and aren’t stirring get a share of it too, just as the little pools in grassy borders of the road are lighted by the same sun as the great rivers going through the land. (Padraic Colum)
Recipient of a Newbery Honor in 1934 and illustrated by Jack Yeats (brother of William Butler Yeats), The Big Tree of Bunlahy is a winsome collection of yarns certain to enchant listeners both young and old in the shade of their poignancy and charm.
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972) was an Irish poet, novelist, and playwright. A leading figure in the Irish Literary revival, he wrote over sixty books and numerous plays and collections of poetry. In 1961, Colum received the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association, “awarded annually to a living exemplar of the words…only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.’”