Multi-award winning, Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon’s innovative and stunningly beautiful IRISH FOLKORE TRILOGY blends magic, fantasy and Celtic mythology in three captivating tales – all presented in in an exclusive and sumptuous 4- disc Blu-ray set with an abundance of bonus material.

Directors Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey plus producer Paul Young humbly began their unique style of animation in the small Irish town of Kilkenny and have since carved out a name for themselves on the international stage, leading to several Oscar-nominations plus a huge billboard display in New York for ‘Wolf Walkers’.
The films presented in this set form a two-decade narrative arc encompassing three tales celebrating Irish national identity, myth and folklore as well as the natural landscape which provides such a huge map for narrative and visual opportunities.

In ‘THE SECRET OF KELLS’ (2009) we follow Brendan, a lively and curious boy living in the Abbey of Kells under the protective wing of Abbot Cellach, his strict uncle whose sole obsession seems to revolve around building a wall to protect the monks from Viking attacks (the story takes place in 9th century Ireland). Working and learning as an apprentice in the monastery’s scriptorium, Brendan overhears a conversation in which several monks mention Brother Aidan, a mysterious illuminator and the creator of the Book of Iona, and his latest work: a book that can turn darkness into light but is as yet unfinished. When the monastery of Iona is destroyed following a Viking raid, Brother Aidan, accompanied by his white cat Pangur Bán, arrives in Kells where Brendan soon learns more about the book which has yet to be completed. Confessing to the boy that he needs certain plants from the nearby woods in order to make ink for his illustrations he bemoans the fact that he is getting too old… his hands too shaky and his eyesight failing. Thus he entrusts Brendan with the illustrations for the precious project but first the excited boy needs to venture into the woods to obtain gallnuts, used for making green ink. Easier said than done because his uncle Cellach forbids him to leave the monastery, as it’s too dangerous in the outside world. Adamant to finish the Book of Kells (as it is known worldwide), Brendan needs to have his wits about him and secretly sneaks out of the abbey with only Pangur Bán for company. In the woods he nearly falls victim to a pack of hungry wolves but is saved by Aisling, a white fairy who henceforth becomes his guide with whom he and the cat share adventures comprised of supernatural wonders. He does find the gallnuts but then the trio come under threat from the fearsome Crom Cruach, a pagan deity that brings with him death and destruction. Can Brendan, Aisling and Pangur Bán escape to safety? Many more obstacles are laid in their way, concluding several years later and with Brendan now a young adult… Irish actor and director Brendan Gleeson voices Brendan’s strict uncle Abbot Cellach while American actor Michael McGrath voices the adult Brendan.

In 2014 Cartoon Saloon released the more complex ‘SONG OF THE SEA’ to critical acclaim. Set in an Irish lighthouse in the 1980s we meet lighthouse keeper Conor, his pregnant wife Bronagh, their son Ben plus their dog Cú. One night, Bronagh disappears without a trace although the baby, named Saoirse, is found. The story then continues six year later with Conor a broken man, his little daughter mute and son Ben hating his sister, blaming her for the unexplained disappearance of their mother. On Saoirses’ birthday the family receive a visit from their grandmother who decides the children should be raised in the city. During the night, Ben, as hostile as ever, takes great pleasure in scaring his sister with the tale of the supernatural Irish warrior king Mac Lir and his mother, the owl witch Macha, who stole his son’s feelings and turned him into stone. Unable to sleep, Saoirse plays a seashell horn initially given to her brother by missing mother Bronagh and the magical tune leads her to the discovery of a white sealskin coat hidden away in her father’s closet. Dressed in the coat she walks to the sea in which a group of seals are swimming, revealing herself to be a selkie – a supernatural shape-shifter. When father Conor hears of his daughter’s outing into the sea he angrily locks the coat away. Halloween nears and Saoirse once again plays the sea shell, this time alerting some fairies and when she, together with Ben, make their way home from their Halloween outing they encounter the fairies who see in Saoirse the key person who will grant their return to the Celtic Otherworld of Tir na nOg. Unfortunately the fairies don’t get very far as they find themselves attacked by witch Macha’s owls who turns them into stone while the siblings flee… though this is only the beginning of a wondrous adventure in which reality and the supernatural go hand in hand, leading us to the revelation as to what really became of their mother Bronagh… Brendan Gleeson returns as a voiceover artist, this time lending his voice to family father Conor while Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan voices Grandma plus witch Macha.

The third film, namely the multi-award winning ‘Wolfwalkers’ (2020) is, although still supernatural in tone, considerably darker and also very political. Set in Ireland in 1650 during the Cromwellian invasion the residents of Kilkenny are completely at the mercy of the authoritarian Lord Protector who demands that all wolves who inhabit the surrounding forests must be destroyed – this doesn’t go down too well with the locals who, on the one hand, fear the animals while on the other respect them as shapeshifting creatures with healing powers. Not that the Lord Protector is interested in ‘old wives tales’… far from it, he entrusts English hunter Bill Goodfellowe with the extermination of the wolves. When his young and free-spirited daughter Robyn follows her father into the forest, her pet falcon Merlyn on her shoulder, she pays a heavy price for her curiosity when Bill accidentally shoots the bird with his crossbow instead of a wolf. Just as the devastated Robyn tries to tend to the badly wounded bird a mysterious girl with crazy, flame-red hair snatches it and vanishes into a cave, with Robyn following her. A short time later she finds the bird miraculously healed while the wolf, who has set a trap for Robyn, turns back into human form, to be precise into Mebh, the girl who had snatched the falcon. Mebh explains to the startled Robyn that she is a ‘wolfwalker’ – a creature whose spirit leaves her human body at nighttime and changes into a wolf during sleep. Little does Robyn know that soon, she herself will become a wolfwalker and finds herself drawn into a conflict: nature versus civilization, English oppression versus Irish freedom, father versus daughter and supernatural versus rational and narrow-minded beliefs… Sean Bean voices hunter Bill Goodfellowe.

The sheer imagination and work which went into the three films is simply mindboggling and the IRISH FOLKORE TRILOGY will delight youngsters and adults alike. This luxury edition furthermore includes a bonus disc chock full of insightful Extras, poster, a set of illustrated A-5 cards and a 50-page illustrated info booklet.