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March 12, 2021


#ReadingIrelandMonth21 Why the Moon Travels

by NancyElin

  • Author: Oein DeBhairduin
  • Title: When The Moon Travels
  • Published: 2020  (pg 120)
  • Genre:  Traveller  folktales
  • Travellers: Ireland’s indigenous nomadic people and an ethnic minority
  • Trivia:  Shortlist for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2021
  • List of Challenges 2021
  • Monthly plan
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth21 @cathy746books
  • #DiversityInIreland



  1. Why the Moon Travels contains twenty folktales
  2. …from the Mincéirí or Traveller community.
  3. It is the first known collection of Traveller folktales
  4. …that has been written by a Traveller.
  5. In these tales  separation  between
  6. …the human and natural worlds does not exist.
  7. This is an example of  an oral culture.
  8. This oral culture has a deep understanding of how
  9. nature can speak to us and offer healing.


What are the primary aspects of telling tales?

  • put into context and space in which they are shared
  • as entertainment
  • are always truthful and real



  1. First impression: the introduction is a work of art.
  2. Breathtaking in its lyrical beauty…and provides a sudden
  3. enlightenment about the Travellers, their language, Gammon, and core values.
  4. The author hopes “…this book be another crack in the
  5. …wall that all to often divides us.”
  6. These are tales about the ancient world, the otherworld
  7. …some speak of the dead and others name the living.


Strong point:

The Yew Tree

  1. This is a story of grief that resonates so profoundly in this pandemic.
  2. The author uses the setting of a graveyard…a sacred place
  3. where a wall marks the boundary line between the living and the dead.
  4. Word choices establish the tone:
  5. brambles of ancestry
  6. trees beaten by age and waves of grief
  7. solitary and bewildered figure, his bright future in ashes
  8. grief that binds us into a rigid loss
  9. I was speechless after reading the very short tale.
  10. The author introduces the story  and bookends it
  11. with his thoughts…about the Travellers rituals to celebrate the ancestors.
  12. #AbsolutelyStunning


Strong point:

  1. Oein DeBhairduin addresses the reader directly.
  2. He  draws the reader into the tale with a personal revelations:
  3. He spends time in graveyards (“The Yew Tree”)
  4. The simple things of his youth…the joy of his mother’s garden (“Why dandelions Grow”)
  5. He lived beside the Seuleen river a place of connection (“The Birth of Rivers”)
  6. Stargazing brings great joy to his heart (“Where the Stars Come From”)
  7. Debhairduin extends the world of the story
  8. …to provide us a the illusion
  9. …that the reader is included in it.


Strong Point:   so many quotes that linger…so beautiful

  1. My mother always said there were
  2. three things that men NEVER understand:
  • the sharp edges of a broken heart
  • the mind of a woman
  • the value of the dandelion.


Who is Oein DeBhairduin?

  1. Date/place of birth: Near Tuam, County Galway/1985.
  2. Education: St Jarlath’s College, in Tuam; NUI Galway, Psychology.
  3. Home: Clondalkin.
  4. The day job: Manager, Education Centre in Clover Hill, Clondalkin.

Read more from Ireland
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 12 2021

    So glad your enjoyed this one Nancy!

    • Mar 12 2021

      Diversity can be found in Ireland….you just have to look for it!
      Thanks so much for hosting this challenge each year, well appreciated!


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