Since most of the Irish myths and folktales contain references to a number of characters, places, or events from other tales, it is easy to lose sight of who or what they all are, and how they are related. This is when a dictionary or encyclopedia comes in handy. Because the original stories were written in Irish and then translated into English, it is sometimes difficult to search for names of characters or events unless one knows the various original and anglicized spellings. The Davis Reference section has upwards of twenty dictionaries dealing with folklore and myth from specific countries and the world in general; these are the most useful:
Coghlan, Rowan. Pocket dictionary of Irish myth and legend. Belfast: Appletree Press, 1985.
DAVIS GR153.5 .C64 (4th floor stacks)
A good, concise reference source, and one which is very handy to use while reading due to its size and brevity. It has many entries, some have more detail than others, but each gives at least the most important point of a character or object from Irish mythology. Also contains a bibliography and easy-to-use quick pronunciation guide.
Ellis, Peter Berresford. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1992.
DAVIS REFERENCE BL900.E45 (wall to the left of Bay 1)
Covers Irish, English, Welsh, etc., mythology, but the country of origin is clearly indicated for each entry. The entries pertaining to Ireland are taken directly from Ellis' earlier and widely respected Dictionary of Irish Mythology, which the UNC-CH library system does not carry. Contains a thorough bibliography, and the entries are very detailed.
O hOgain, Daithi. Myth, legend, and romance: an encyclopaedia of the Irish folk tradition. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991.
DAVIS REFERENCE GR153.5 O16 (Row 21)
An extremely thorough and well-written reference. Entries are plentiful, detailed, and fun to read -- some are illustrated. There is a guide to Irish language and pronunciation, and an extensive bibliography. The work contains four separate indexes: entries can be found under characters, peoples/groups/families, places, or general subjects.
Smyth, Daragh. Guide to Irish Mythology. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1996.
DAVIS REFERENCE BL900.S495 (wall to the left of Bay 1)
Very complete entries on mythological characters and events. Longer entries are broken into subsections and often contain quoted passages from literature, timelines, or in one instance a genealogy chart for a character. Excellent index, source list, and glossary. This work contains only mythology; there are no entries for folklore or fairytale characters.