‘The Frenzy of Sweeney’


Sir, – In his interesting article on the various adaptations of the Middle-Irish Sweeney story (“An Irishman’s Diary”, March 15th), Frank McNally omitted to mention the edition of Buile Suibhne (The Frenzy of Sweeney), published with an English translation by the Irish Texts Society in 1913, from which these adaptations derived. A volume in the Society’s Subsidiary Series, containing six essays on “Perspectives and Reassessments” of the story was published in 2014 and was dedicated to the memory of Seamus Heaney. – Yours, etc,


Bishopstown, Cork.

Sir, – Frank McNally continues to enlighten and entertain, most recently with his piece on the Battle of Moira, Co Down, in 637 and the upcoming musical interpretation of the epic Buile Suibhne, Sweeney being one of the opposing kings in combat.

May I also reference the renowned poem on the same battle, Congal, by Sir Samuel Ferguson, equally epic and worthy of wider public attention? Frank McNally also makes reference to the building of the railway line which uncovered colossal bone remains from the battle; incidentally Moira railway station is the oldest in Ulster. Unmentioned by your Diarist was the largest funeral comprised of horse-drawn carriages ever seen in Ireland, well over 400 horse-drawn carriages attended the funeral of the Earl of Moira in 1762. Oh, and did I mention the first hot house in Europe, the first discovery of frogs in Ireland, the childhood home of Sir John Lavery, all in Moira? And there’s more. It is perhaps time to declare an interest. – Yours, etc,


Moira, Co Down.

Sir, – The story of Sweeney would make a smashing film. Perhaps it could even tempt Daniel Day-Lewis out of retirement. There’s no shortage of trees in Wicklow for him to hang out of naked if he wants to get into the part. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.