This was the first map created for Púca Printhouse. In fact, we weren't Púca Printhouse back then in those cold autumn days of 2020 - you remember that fun time, right? It was just Neil looking for new hiking spots with a story behind them and getting carried away.
We were amazed at the response to the map, which changed several times collaboratively with a folklore group we are part of. The initial working title was "Mythical beasts of the British Isles".... Well, it turns out despite being the term that is most commonly used, it is indeed one of the quickest ways to make the average Irish person vibrate with rage. This is a fair and measured response considering the 8 centuries (yes 8 centuries!) of colonial presence, cultural obliteration, destruction of their environment, war, and famine. The list could go on and on, sadly. We won't delve into this as we to keep politics away from this joyous place of lovely beasties, there are also far more knowledgable people on the subject than us, who until very recently had thought the term "British Isles" was totally fine. It is however completely fair to say Ireland has suffered in no small way at the hands of the English, and for them to want no association with the notion of "Britain" is absolutely fair enough.
Talking with groups of people from the Republic of Ireland, it became clear that a preferred term has not really been discussed or made official. "British" has bad colonial connotations, "Great Britain" is the mainland, "The United Kingdom" doesn't include the Republic of Ireland or the islands - we even touched on the lesser-known term "These Islands", which is often used in parliamentary and legal proceedings as a catch-all term that couldn't possibly upset anyone, unless you are of course one of these people who objects do the daft vague naming of landmasses, we counted ourselves in those people.
Much discussion later we settled on the working title of "Mythical Beasts of the British and Irish Isles" I think it has a nice ring to it and everyone was pretty happy with it. The things we can achieve through civil discourse and collaboration.
It appears so far I have just talked about Ireland, but that was a really important learning curve and a lesson in how to turn something potentially contentious into a lovely collaborative community. We have tried to solidify this principle in the way we work on all things. We also adore Ireland, its history, people, and cultural output. We eagerly await the new Blindboy podcast every Wednesday (get on it!) and if I've had a terrible couple of days and need to decompress the first couple of notes of the Father Ted theme puts me into a gentle, warm, cake laden cocoon of loveliness. If Scotland votes to leave though, this title is going to become unwieldy.
This map was a pleasure to create, when researching mythical beasts of Britain and Ireland you will never be short of information. I'm not sure if anywhere has as many creatures as densely packed, but we look forward to finding out. The editing process was brutal, and the term "kill your darlings" never rang more true. So many Darlings though. Perhaps we will revisit the region for round 2?
The map is available for purchase from our Etsy store. Your support means everything to us and allows us to keep this project going.
- All the best from the Púca Printhouse.