Why the moon travels is a haunting collection of twenty tales rooted in the oral tradition of the Irish Traveller community. Brave vixens, prophetic owls and stalwart horses live alongside the human characters as guides, protectors, friends and foes while spirits, giants and fairies blur the lines between this world and the otherworld. Collected by Oein DeBhairduin throughout his childhood, retold in his lyrical style, and beautifully illustrated by Leanne McDonagh. Why the moon travels won both the Judges’ Special Award and the Eilís Dillon Award at the 2021 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards.
Oein DeBhairduin is a creative soul with a passion for poetry, folk herbalism and preserving the beauty of Traveller tales, sayings, retellings and historic exchanges. He is the manager of an education centre and a long-time board member of several Mincéirí community groups, including having had the honour of being vice-chair of the Irish Traveller Movement and a council member of Mincéir Whidden. He seeks to pair community activism with cultural celebration, recalling old tales with fresh modern connections and, most of all, he wishes to rekindle the hearth fires of a shared kinship.
The book is available in hardback, e-book and audiobook from the publisher Skein Press, which was established in June 2017 to foster and publish writers whose work is fresh and thought-provoking and features outlooks and experiences not often represented in Irish publishing. It also publishes Unsettled, essays by Rosaleen McDonagh, an Irish Traveller writing from a feminist perspective, which “explores racism, ableism, abuse and resistance as well as the bonds of community, family and friendship.”