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Great Irish Tales of Horror: A Treasury of Fear

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From legends retold around the peat fire to modern stories of psychological terror, the Irish have always had a fascination with fear. Drawn from 200 years of short story writing, this book includes 24 powerful Irish tales with more than enough material to set pulses racing: satanic figures, ghosts, and hapless victims fleeing from their inescapable dooms. Writers includes From legends retold around the peat fire to modern stories of psychological terror, the Irish have always had a fascination with fear. Drawn from 200 years of short story writing, this book includes 24 powerful Irish tales with more than enough material to set pulses racing: satanic figures, ghosts, and hapless victims fleeing from their inescapable dooms. Writers includes such giants of classic horror fiction as Bram Stoker, Sax Rohmer, and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu; masters like George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge, and Dorothy Macardle; and such modern exponents of the genre as Brian Cleeve, Jack Higgins, and Neil Jordan.


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From legends retold around the peat fire to modern stories of psychological terror, the Irish have always had a fascination with fear. Drawn from 200 years of short story writing, this book includes 24 powerful Irish tales with more than enough material to set pulses racing: satanic figures, ghosts, and hapless victims fleeing from their inescapable dooms. Writers includes From legends retold around the peat fire to modern stories of psychological terror, the Irish have always had a fascination with fear. Drawn from 200 years of short story writing, this book includes 24 powerful Irish tales with more than enough material to set pulses racing: satanic figures, ghosts, and hapless victims fleeing from their inescapable dooms. Writers includes such giants of classic horror fiction as Bram Stoker, Sax Rohmer, and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu; masters like George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge, and Dorothy Macardle; and such modern exponents of the genre as Brian Cleeve, Jack Higgins, and Neil Jordan.

30 review for Great Irish Tales of Horror: A Treasury of Fear

  1. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    Peter Haining was an indefatigable editor of both scary/weird and mystery fiction, though this is actually the only one of his collections I've read so far. Given that his scope here includes both naturalistic horror and the supernatural, I'd say his editorial judgment in this anthology is, for the most part, pretty good. (A couple of the stories are more whimsical and dryly humorous than horrific, but I don't consider that a defect.) "The Child Who Loved a Grave" is not O'Brien's best or most c Peter Haining was an indefatigable editor of both scary/weird and mystery fiction, though this is actually the only one of his collections I've read so far. Given that his scope here includes both naturalistic horror and the supernatural, I'd say his editorial judgment in this anthology is, for the most part, pretty good. (A couple of the stories are more whimsical and dryly humorous than horrific, but I don't consider that a defect.) "The Child Who Loved a Grave" is not O'Brien's best or most compelling work ("What Was It?" or "The Diamond Lens" would have been better selections), and I don't recommend Neil Jordan's "Last Rites," which is as much --or more-- disgusting, depressing and pathetic than scary; and the organizing ideas behind Haining's division of the stories into three sections are unclear. Apart from these considerations, though, the other tales here all make worthwhile reading for fans of this sort of fiction. And the background notes on the authors enhance one's appreciation. Of the purely natural stories, Jack Higgins' "The Morgan Score," which deals with Northern Ireland's bloody terrorism, is probably the best. Le Fanu is represented by "Footsteps in the Lobby" (which is abridged here), a Gothic tale dealing with a murder plot similar to the one he later presented at novel length in Uncle Silas. Probably the most chilling example of psychological horror in the book is Catherine Brophy's masterful "Arachnophobia." My favorites among the supernatural stories here are Rohmer's "A House Possessed," a neglected classic of the ghost story sub-genre which draws the theme of moral good and evil very sharply, and Tremayne's "The Samhain Feis," an outstanding contemporary supernatural work that draws eruditely on the ancient Celtic folklore of Ireland, to excellent effect. Such stories as "The Doomed Sisters," "The Unburied Legs," and "The Portrait of Roisin Dhu" also notably draw on Irish folklore. Ireland's traditional folk Catholicism is reflected in Shaw's "The Miraculous Revenge," and in Brian Cleeve's "Mr. Murphy and the Angel." Finally, it would be remiss to close this review without mentioning another stand- out ghost story, Shane Leslie's "The Diplomatist's Story."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}

    I like it spooky! I tried to find the actual quote from the movie in gif form, but then I realized that is not exactly GR friendly! (Return of the Living Dead is amazeballs- highly recommended, etc). /lazy review I like it spooky! I tried to find the actual quote from the movie in gif form, but then I realized that is not exactly GR friendly! (Return of the Living Dead is amazeballs- highly recommended, etc). /lazy review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Great collection, but many of the older stories are slow and hard to follow. My three favorites were "The Unburied Legs," "The Child Who Loved A Grave" and "The Cedar Closet." "The Unburied Legs" is more surrealistic than terrifying. A pair of body-less legs go walking down the road, and a laughing crowd follows them, and then they disappear! I won't give away the horrible crime behind the apparition. But it's interesting how Ireland is a country cut off from its own past, its own identity. Even Great collection, but many of the older stories are slow and hard to follow. My three favorites were "The Unburied Legs," "The Child Who Loved A Grave" and "The Cedar Closet." "The Unburied Legs" is more surrealistic than terrifying. A pair of body-less legs go walking down the road, and a laughing crowd follows them, and then they disappear! I won't give away the horrible crime behind the apparition. But it's interesting how Ireland is a country cut off from its own past, its own identity. Even the ghosts are cut in half and have no house to haunt, so they wander the roads! "The Child Who Loved A Grave" is the same way. The story isn't that scary, but it makes you think about Irish history. A little child in poverty has no place to hang out but the grave of a little aristocrat who died centuries ago! But the only way to connect to the aristocratic past is to lie down and die. Ireland has no future, and even the little children know that the past is the place to be! "The Cedar Closet" was my favorite story of all, but it's not really an Irish story. Lafcadio Hearn writes a really good Victorian horror story, and it's all about conflicted Victorians who are in love with the idea of innocent girlhood, deeply committed to marriage and motherhood as the one goal in a woman's life, and yet completely horrified by sex. The young girl telling the story is genuinely appealing, so sweet and good, yet she reveals a lot more than she means to. "My girlhood was joyful and pure, and thanks to patient and gentle husband, my marriage has been nothing but bliss and contentment. Yet in between there was this horrible, nightmarish experience that I had, that's just too distasteful and gruesome to talk about. So I'm going to tell you a ghost story instead!" So how was the wedding night, honey?

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    If I rated this collection of stories solely on my emotional reaction to them, I would give it one star. If the title were "Anthology of Creepy Irish Tales" or the like, I would give it three stars. The problem was that the word "Horror" - especially in combination with "Great" - created an expectation which the stories fell far short of, leaving me quite disappointed. The inside of the dust jacket says, "... twenty-four of the most powerful examples of horror ever conceived." Well, some of the ta If I rated this collection of stories solely on my emotional reaction to them, I would give it one star. If the title were "Anthology of Creepy Irish Tales" or the like, I would give it three stars. The problem was that the word "Horror" - especially in combination with "Great" - created an expectation which the stories fell far short of, leaving me quite disappointed. The inside of the dust jacket says, "... twenty-four of the most powerful examples of horror ever conceived." Well, some of the tales I found mundane, some atmospheric, some mildly creepy, but only two managed to work me up into suspense. Had I been expecting something less than Horror, I'm certain I'd have enjoyed many of them. As it was, I finished story after story thinking only, "that wasn't horror." It doesn't help that a fair number of the tales are more like classic Grimm-style fairy tales; mostly description of what happens with sprinklings of actual dialogue. To me they are more like outlines for stories. And the last point of disappointment was the Bram Stoker story. I've never read anything of his beyond, of course, Dracula, but considering what an accomplishment that was, I expected a short story by him (again, in a collection of "Horror" stories) to be frightening to some degree. Instead, I found a humorous macabre story (which I could have enjoyed in a different context) with a distractingly written Irish brogue, as in: "But av any iv thim'd thry to git affectionate, as min do whin they've had all they can carry, well, thin she had a playful way iv dalin' wid thim what'd always turn the laugh agin' thim." All that said, some of the stories are well-written, well-plotted, and engaging. Some have good ideas that more could be done with. If you're into Irish lit, or enjoy exploring the fringes of spooky fiction, and your expectations aren't too high, you might find this book worthwhile.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    Absolute rubbish

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Marie

    There are some tales that are interesting, and some that bored me a lot. It's not a an actual horror set of stories. They're kinda more like stories you'd tell at a campfire. There are some tales that are interesting, and some that bored me a lot. It's not a an actual horror set of stories. They're kinda more like stories you'd tell at a campfire.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A nice little collection of short horror stories......some classic, some off the wall. Not bad for the occasional short burst of reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I did enjoy this book. However, they weren't very horrific overall. Most likely my desensitized 21st century existence diminished the scariness of the stories, since they were written awhile back (early 1900s if i'm not mistaken). Couldn't read one story since it was written in the old cockney accent! Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see a slightly modified version of one of my favorite horror stories which I remember reading from my childhood in "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"....all I hav I did enjoy this book. However, they weren't very horrific overall. Most likely my desensitized 21st century existence diminished the scariness of the stories, since they were written awhile back (early 1900s if i'm not mistaken). Couldn't read one story since it was written in the old cockney accent! Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see a slightly modified version of one of my favorite horror stories which I remember reading from my childhood in "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"....all I have to say is...."room for one more??" mwahahaha. Side note connected with "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"...that artwork really freaked me out as a kid....they're still kinda creepy actually.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Almost all of these stories were decently written and interesting to some degree, but the majority of them are not horror. There is some weirdness, some folklore and even some humor, but very little horror. To make things even more frustrating, the introduction to nearly every story mentions other works by each author that sound ten times more relevant than what is actually included. To be sure, this is an eclectic and even intriguing collection of Irish writers and their lesser-known short stori Almost all of these stories were decently written and interesting to some degree, but the majority of them are not horror. There is some weirdness, some folklore and even some humor, but very little horror. To make things even more frustrating, the introduction to nearly every story mentions other works by each author that sound ten times more relevant than what is actually included. To be sure, this is an eclectic and even intriguing collection of Irish writers and their lesser-known short stories, but the title is wildly misleading. There is something seriously flawed in your premise when a tale by George Bernard Shaw is more chilling, tense and horrific than one by Bram Stoker.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katy Downes

    The title is definitely a misnomer! I was expecting traditional old Irish folktales (which will curdle your blood they’re so frightening)—I got a collection of weird (albeit often fascinating) short stories. I had an easy time putting this down for long spells...which does not speak well of a book titled “Tales of Horror”!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian O'Connell

    An emphatically mixed bag, with some particularly odd choices, but certainly worth reading--especially in cases where the material is rare.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This book includes 24 stories by authors as great as George Bernard Shaw and Bram Stoker. It is an eclectic group of stories broken into three sections: Lurking Shadows, Wake Not the Dead, and To Make the Flesh Creep. None of these stories were what I call horror but it may just be me. A young boy is tempted and his soul taken by the devil, A man loves two sisters and plays them against each other, a young woman is obsessed with her fear of spiders. The list goes on and on. I was waiting to be s This book includes 24 stories by authors as great as George Bernard Shaw and Bram Stoker. It is an eclectic group of stories broken into three sections: Lurking Shadows, Wake Not the Dead, and To Make the Flesh Creep. None of these stories were what I call horror but it may just be me. A young boy is tempted and his soul taken by the devil, A man loves two sisters and plays them against each other, a young woman is obsessed with her fear of spiders. The list goes on and on. I was waiting to be scared, but it just didn't do it for me. Some of the stories came close but no cigar.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

    Filled with some absolutely, wonderfully, dark stories (The Miraculous Revenge by George Bernard Shaw, Will by Vincent O’Sullivan) and some classically familiar in form to anyone who’s ever heard or told a story around the campfire ( The Diplomatist’s Story by Shane Leslie, Danse Macabre by L.A.G. Strong). That said, those gems are very poorly balanced with some utter slogs and weirdly tone-deaf stories that are barely horror, even in the loosest sense. Uneven, but worth it for at least some of th Filled with some absolutely, wonderfully, dark stories (The Miraculous Revenge by George Bernard Shaw, Will by Vincent O’Sullivan) and some classically familiar in form to anyone who’s ever heard or told a story around the campfire ( The Diplomatist’s Story by Shane Leslie, Danse Macabre by L.A.G. Strong). That said, those gems are very poorly balanced with some utter slogs and weirdly tone-deaf stories that are barely horror, even in the loosest sense. Uneven, but worth it for at least some of those pieces that, at the time of the book’s publication, weren’t anthologized anywhere else.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Albert

    I am amazed with your storytelling, great job! If you allow, may I share your book to facebook in order to reach more readers? And by the way, NovelStar is currently conducting a writing competition - You have a great potential. If you wish to join, link is attached herein. https://author.starlight.ink/essay/in... (PC) http://app.novelstar.top/index/index/... (APP) you wish to join. I am amazed with your storytelling, great job! If you allow, may I share your book to facebook in order to reach more readers? And by the way, NovelStar is currently conducting a writing competition - You have a great potential. If you wish to join, link is attached herein. https://author.starlight.ink/essay/in... (PC) http://app.novelstar.top/index/index/... (APP) you wish to join.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jill Davis

    Not really horrifying. Some stories I would have to go back some pages and re-read. But for some reason, I ended up liking this book. I had gone to a furniture store and instead of buying furniture, I asked the manager if I could buy the book. He gave it to me free. Poor book was just sitting there. It did take me a while to read. Worth it if you like folklore.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Moira Zamora

    Great tales, some do invoke a spirit of horror, most are just slightly spooky or disturbing. If you want skin crawling horror this is not the book for you. Spooky well written stories, yes, that they are

  17. 5 out of 5

    Isabella

    I am fascinated with fear, and horror novels and stories. And out of all the books of horror I read, I find these short stories a little difficult to follow. They do have some cultural value and old Irish myths mentioned, but I jut found this book a struggle to understand.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    The title calls it a "treasury of fear," but after delving into the book, I realized that not all of these stories really should have been put in here. Don't get me wrong; they're very well written and each author gets a little write up prior to his or her story explaining background and what other works for which the author may have been famous. The book is actually divided into three parts. Part I is "Lurking Shadows: Stories of Fear," and features such authors as Jack Higgins, Dorothy Mcardle The title calls it a "treasury of fear," but after delving into the book, I realized that not all of these stories really should have been put in here. Don't get me wrong; they're very well written and each author gets a little write up prior to his or her story explaining background and what other works for which the author may have been famous. The book is actually divided into three parts. Part I is "Lurking Shadows: Stories of Fear," and features such authors as Jack Higgins, Dorothy Mcardle and Elizabeth Bowen. In this group, I particularly liked "The Portrait of Roisin Dru," (Macardle); although I did enjoy "The Doomed Sisters" (Maturin) and "The Child Who Loved a Grave," by Fitz-James O'Brien. Part II, "Wake Not the Dead: Traditional Terror," features a wonderful story by Sax Roehmer (I didn't know he was Irish until I read this) entitled "A House Possessed," and second to that one, "The Samhain Feis," by author Peter Tremayne, known for his Dracula stories. Part III, "To Make The Flesh Creep: Chilling Tales," features my favorite Irish author of all time, Sheridan LeFanu (writer of Carmilla, The Rose and the Key, and Uncle Silas) with a small vignette entitled "Footsteps in the Lobby." While it is true that not all of the stories in here bring on bone-chilling terror, the stories are interesting in that the reader gets a feel for Irish folk belief & history within the context of these little stories. I would recommend it if you don't mind picking through the non-scary stuff to get the hackles raised on your neck a bit.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gonzalo

    "Great Irish Tales of Horror: A treasury of Fear" is a book that is interesting but gets boring easily. It has many "great" stories of horro that aren't that scary but are still entertaining to read when you're bored. its actually pretty great to read certain stories during the night like at 1 am when everything is dead quiet, if you read it during the night it will bring fun times. The book is divided into three parts, my favorite part was the last one which was Part III, "To Make The Flesh Cre "Great Irish Tales of Horror: A treasury of Fear" is a book that is interesting but gets boring easily. It has many "great" stories of horro that aren't that scary but are still entertaining to read when you're bored. its actually pretty great to read certain stories during the night like at 1 am when everything is dead quiet, if you read it during the night it will bring fun times. The book is divided into three parts, my favorite part was the last one which was Part III, "To Make The Flesh Creep: Chilling Tales" because in my opinion had the most realistic and creepiest stories of the book. Overall, the book is interesting and well-written but sometimes the book gets boring and is not scary at all. I recommend this book to people who will finish a book when they start it because this book can get boring at times.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    This book was amazing. Every story in this collection is a varying degree of creepy, by all different types of Irish authors. Some of my favorite horror writers have short stories in this collection which I never expected, including Bram Stoker. I really enjoyed every single story in this collection. If you are a horror fan, even just a little, there is something in this book for you. Some of the stories have gore, some are creepy, some are terrifying and some are just scary. No matter what you This book was amazing. Every story in this collection is a varying degree of creepy, by all different types of Irish authors. Some of my favorite horror writers have short stories in this collection which I never expected, including Bram Stoker. I really enjoyed every single story in this collection. If you are a horror fan, even just a little, there is something in this book for you. Some of the stories have gore, some are creepy, some are terrifying and some are just scary. No matter what you like this is a wonderful horror book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This is the second time I've read the book and I have to say that if it wasn't for three stories ("The Samhain Feis", "Arachnophobia", and "Last Rites") I would have given the book a lower score. Basically, 3 stars for three awesome stories out of the entire collection. Now if the book was about the three stories mentioned and that was all, then I'd give it a 4 because I wouldn't have had to wade through so many stories that didn't do much for me. This is the second time I've read the book and I have to say that if it wasn't for three stories ("The Samhain Feis", "Arachnophobia", and "Last Rites") I would have given the book a lower score. Basically, 3 stars for three awesome stories out of the entire collection. Now if the book was about the three stories mentioned and that was all, then I'd give it a 4 because I wouldn't have had to wade through so many stories that didn't do much for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Great tales of horror, may try to check this out from the library again one day. Had to return it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    On hold, maybe indefinitely. This one's a snoozer. On hold, maybe indefinitely. This one's a snoozer.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alvin Rc

    Among the stories, my favorite is The Morgan Score by Jack Higgins. Haven't read all the contents though. Among the stories, my favorite is The Morgan Score by Jack Higgins. Haven't read all the contents though.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Spike

    A few good ones in here, and the "name" authors have penned most of those; William Trevor, George Bernard Shaw, and Bram Stoker. A lot of filler though, thus only 2 stars. A few good ones in here, and the "name" authors have penned most of those; William Trevor, George Bernard Shaw, and Bram Stoker. A lot of filler though, thus only 2 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Anthology,Horror

  27. 5 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    3 1/2 stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pangs

    Great tales. The form of the language might throw some folks, but if you enjoy good old world tales of ghostly horror give it a shot.

  29. 4 out of 5

    brainsqueeze

  30. 5 out of 5

    Giada

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