Tir Na Nog: Niamh Of The Golden Hair
Oil on primed illustration board.
Original artwork for sale.
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Oisin, an Irish mythic hero, and Niamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden hair) fall in love. She persuades him to travel with her to Tir Na Nog (Land of the Young), where she is Queen and daughter to Manannán Mac Lir (god of the sea). To get to this ‘Otherworld’ they must travel over the sea on her magical horse Embarr.
In my painting I wanted to exaggerate the magical elements of the tale. Tir Na Nog is spotlighted on the horizon by the rays of the setting sun, the light of which is echoed in Niamh’s hair. Embarr is giant and magical, his mane and tail made of foamy sea; he carries our lovers across the cold Atlantic Ocean to the supernatural realm of the Faerie.
For three years they live happily in Tir Na Nog, having two children, before Oisin feels homesick and wishes to return to see his family. Despite cautioning him against this Niamh relents and lends him Embarr, pledging him not to touch the soil of Ireland.
He finds that three years has been three hundred in his homeland, and distressed he turns back for sea, but he falls from his steed and instantly ages by that same amount, thus dying.
The white-water-mane looks really good!