Éilís Ní Dhuibhne is an acclaimed writer in both Irish and English. She often references folklore and folktales in her work of contemporary fiction and she is deeply immersed in both Irish and Icelandic folktales through both her own extensive academic research and also through that of her late husband the Swedish folklorist Bo Almqvist.
Éilís first visited Iceland in the late 1970s, a time when few Irish people had the opportunity to go there, and when Iceland was quite a remote and isolated country. She returns often and has many Icelandic friends and colleagues including Professor Gísli Sigurðsson (who we talked to in an earlier episode).
Gísli was a student of Bo Almqvist at University College Dublin and it was during his time studying under Almqvist that he wrote his master thesis on the gaelic influences in the Icelandic Sagas. At the time his mentor and friend thought Gísli was overstating the Irish influences in both the settlement of Iceland and its literature but as Gísli himself told us the genetic research from DeCode Genetics, showing that over 65% of the women in the first generation of Iceland were gaelic, has proven his theory.