The Saint Patrick’s Day Post: Celtic Pocket Guides Review

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always enchanted with the content that WordPress pushes at me. Not just what it pushes at me, but what I actively seek out is sometimes predictable and uninspiring. I attribute this to WordPress’s unhelpful search engine, the unintuitive way following tags works, and probably my own ineptitude with navigating what I think should be a simple system.

The only assurance of content is actually following specific blogs–and if you like enough of their output, this is far and away the best method to ensure good stuff. I appreciate all the blogs I follow, and I don’t take for granted those that follow me. But even of those I do follow sometimes I’m just interested in a particular type of post a blogger does, or a particular topic they sometimes talk about, and don’t make time to read everything they ever post, which is okay (and I’m sure this is the same for most of those who follow me).

So it’s extra special when I come across bloggers that are consistent enough in their content and I like their style enough that I will almost invariably, no matter the topic, read the post. Because I know from experience that it will be worth it and I will learn something, or be led to think in a new way. One such blog is Irish Myths, helmed by I.E. Kneverday.

I stumbled across this blog way back in the day when there were still theories to be made about Thor: Love & Thunder. (I say “back in the day” like it wasn’t less than a year ago.) The first post I ever read on Irish Myths was a great theory about the inclusion of the Celtic pantheon in the MCU, citing instances of their appearances throughout the comics, and even putting together a fan cast for who he would like to see appear as the different gods. It is super fun and actually the perfect introduction to the Celtic gods for me, who had next to no knowledge of them beyond vague awareness of the Morrígan.

Not only is the blog full of interesting topics and informative tidbits, Kneverday is also the author of the Celtic Pocket Guides series which I’ve really enjoyed reading through. I nabbed the last few volumes on Kindle while they were free for promotion and really enjoyed them, but never posted my reviews here. So I thought I would remedy that and give them a topical shoutout for St. Patrick’s Day.

Samhain in Your Pocket: A Tiny Little Book About the Celtic Origins of Halloween by I. E. Kneverday

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With verbal aplomb and hilarious repartee, Kneverday breaks down the Irish origins of Halloween, from the correct pronunciation of Samhain to the various Irish mythological figures key to its significance and lore. This little book packs an incredible amount of information, distilled into digestible bites that include citations from historians and researchers, presented with the style and finesse of Kneverday’s tongue-in-cheek humour. It’s a quick, fun read that just draws you in and I will definitely be checking out other works by this author.

If you are intrigued by Halloween, Irish folklore and traditions, or if you just want to be lightly entertained while learning something, this is the book for it.

Irish Monsters in Your Pocket: A Tiny Little Book About Irish Dragons, Werewolves, Vampires, Banshees, Headless Horsemen, & Other Beastly Beings by I. E. Kneverday

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After Kneverday so recently released “Samhain in Your Pocket” I couldn’t believe my luck when the notification for this latest tome in the pocket series came out. Just when I was looking for a book to read on my phone while on a trip, too.

Still fitting with the Halloween theme, this pocket guide is a handy reference to identify all the supernaturals you might encounter while travelling Ireland with your aunt. Of course there are dragons, water horses, giants, werewolves, three headed beasts, and beasts with no heads at all. And we all know by now that Bram Stoker was Irish, right? I found the chapter/s on the vampiric legends of Ireland to be particularly enthralling, not to sound like Renfield or anything.

Again, I can’t oversell Kneverday’s charismatic presentation of his topics with an effortless storytelling style that nevertheless contains sharp critical observations. We may think we know about monsters/spirits such as the banshee, but Kneverday outlines how even these seemingly straightforward spectres consist of a surprisingly fluid set of legends, origins, and purposes. With tongue-in-cheek humour and engaging language, Kneverday unravels all the threads of mythology and legend, unmasking the monsters, so to speak.

Basically, I’m already at the point where I think I might just have to read this one again to thoroughly take in the catalogue of beasties and enjoy Kneverday’s version of the story of the Daughters of Airitech, who are Ireland’s most infamous werewolves… except they are daughters, so does that make them wifwolves? Maybe I’m getting Old English/Germanic languages too mixed up in this. Nevermind me, except to go and get this book.

If you ever had the impression that the scariest monster Ireland boasted was an evil leprechaun or two, this book will broaden your mind… and perhaps plant a few new fears in there as well.

View all my reviews

Most recently, Kneverday released the fourth book in the Pocket Guides series, the timely Saint Patrick in Your Pocket, which I devoured one night this week when I couldn’t sleep. Despite it not being the cure for my insomnia (which is a good indicator of its interest-factor), I won’t say I didn’t rest my head more easily afterward with the confidence gained in my understanding of Saint Patrick, the man, the myth, the legend. I haven’t written a review for it yet, but why don’t you check it out and form your own thoughts on it in the meantime?

Before the next time you have occasion to be asked, “What has it got in its pocketses, precious?” by a subterranean-dwelling creature, collecting a few of these Celtic Pocket Guides would ensure you have a good answer.

1 thought on “The Saint Patrick’s Day Post: Celtic Pocket Guides Review”

  1. This looks like a great collection of books. I think it’s great that you have an interest in this kind of stuff. I too enjoy all things Celtic and I love Irish lore. Learning more about lore and gods is always a good time. 🙂 Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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