While we're well used to seeing various interpretations of Irish mythos and pre-history in our pop-cultural diet, from music to film and television, it can all sometimes feel a little clichéd or watered-down for some.
One such person is New Zealand-based author Brian O'Sullivan. Originally hailing from Cork, he's tackled the Fenian Cycle of mythological stories with his Fionn MacCumhaill series of books, rooted in his own knowledge and passion for the area.
The next challenge for his Irish Imbas publishing company, however, lies in reaching people through other media - including the medium of videogames, arguably long-overdue an infusion of Irish legend.
The first step for O'Sullivan is 'Dark Dawn', an 'experimental online literary game' released on Tuesday - a bilingual, browser-based, branching-story affair set before the age of his series' protagonist.
The FREE Literary Game is now live.— Irish Imbas Books (@ImbasInfo) May 10, 2021
Ireland: 1st Century A.D.
A dying warrior defends the isolated settlement of Ráth Bládhma from an incursion of enemy scouts.
This FREE experimental format story can be accessed here: https://t.co/Pyg1CiC4gk pic.twitter.com/l72t7y3U27
"Essentially, it’s the story of a sick warrior who’s convinced – against his better judgement – to try and save a tiny settlement," says O'Sullivan.
"During the game, that warrior must make decisions – influenced by events in his own life – that can change the outcome. It’s a very simple story. A very human story."
While the medium of videogames has been very slowly embracing the Irish language, including Dublin company Dreamfeel's LGBT* visual novel 'If Found', it's still a relatively new phenomenon to take in a familar medium in a familiar language.
O'Sullivan speaks about making the game available as Gaeilge.
"The western publishing market is very much dictated by English-speaking audiences so veering too far outside the established norms can certainly cost you.
"That said, if you use the language with respect and not as a branding tool, á la ‘Celtic Fantasy’, you can give the reader an authentic cultural experience while keeping it accessible and fun."
- An Caomhaoir Fuilsmeartha/Dark Dawn is available from the Irish Imbas website.