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Some of Ireland's favourite tales of myth and legend get new life this week as An Post launches a heroic four stamp set.
The new stamps, based on illustrations by Fergus Lyons and designed by Steve Simpson, feature The Children of Lir, Deirdre of the Sorrows, Fionn and the Salmon of Knowledge and the Naming of Cuchulainn. The stamp set was released by An Post today (Thursday). 

All four tales, while belonging to Ireland's rich story telling tradition, are widely known internationally. Sales of the new stamps will be brisk given the popularity of the subject matter. An Post has also produced a beautiful first day cover which includes a special 'Myths and Legends' graphic. 

The Children of Lir. Tells the story of the four children of the King Lir who were changed into swans by a vengeful stepmother. They were condemned to live as swans until the bell of a new God tolled.  A church bell broke the spell many, many years later and the children returned to human form aged quickly and died.
The Deirdre of the Sorrows stamp illustrates the legendary love between Naoise and Deirdre and the jealous rage of the King Conor McNessa.  The pair fled to Scotland, were tricked into returning to Ireland where Naoise was slain by Conor. Stricken with grief, Deirdre then killed herself.
The third stamp highlights the story of the hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Who accidentally tasted the Salmon of Knowledge and was blessed with great wisdom.
The fourth stamp illustrates the story of Setanta, the childhood name of Cúchulainn. Setanta, invited to a feast at the blacksmith Culann's house, used his hurley and sliotar to kill the Culann's vicious guard dog when it attacked him. Setanta then promised to guard Culann until a new guard dog could be found. This is how he took the name Cúchulainn – the hound of Culann.
These stamps and First Day Cover are available from selected post offices, at Dublin's GPO or at www.irishstamps.ie.


 
 

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