Cartoon Saloon as Mythopoeic: Reimagining Irish Mythology through Animation

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Virginia Tech


Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation studio based in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, explores themes of liminality, urbanization, and coming of age in its trio of Irish folklore-themed films. Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, and Wolfwalkers each explore Irish identity, folklore, and community through different time periods and spaces to create truly Irish animated films. Each film explores the tension between folklore and Christianity, urban and rural community, and the challenges of coming of age in various ways through the lens of Irish folklore. By communicating these themes in animated films, Cartoon Saloon centers indigenous animation work in a country that has lacked an indigenous industry and uses the flexibility of animation as an art form to address Ireland's history and mythology through the writing, music score, and animation style of the three films. Cartoon Saloon stands at the forefront of a new revitalization of Irish culture reminiscent of the Gaelic and Celtic revivals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through their dedication to preserving and exploring Irish mythology, art, history, and language via an emergence of an indigenous Irish animation industry.



Liminality, Irish, Ireland, Cartoon Saloon, Animation, Mythology, Folklore, Christianity, Coming of Age, Urbanization