The Hound of Ulster: A Bloomsbury Reader

The Hound of Ulster: A Bloomsbury Reader

By Author / Illustrator

Malachy Doyle, Erin Brown


Myths & Legends

Age range(s)



Bloomsbury Publishing PLC




Paperback / softback




A thrilling retelling of the traditional Irish legend of Cuchulainn written by Malachy Doyle.  Young Setanta, the son of poor shepherds, is determined to impress the mighty king of Ulster with his strength and bravery and to join the Red Branch Knights. He could easily beat the other warriors at hurling. He could even triumph over them in a fight. But can he defeat the ferocious hound of Ulster, the smith Culann's menacing guard dog, and prove his worth?

This page-turning story from Malachy Doyle, based on the traditional Irish folk tale, has exciting black-and-white illustrations by Erin Brown and is perfect for children who are developing as readers.

The Bloomsbury Readers series is packed with brilliant books to get children reading independently in Key Stage 2, with book-banded stories by award-winning authors like double Carnegie Medal winner Geraldine McCaughrean and Waterstones Prize winner Patrice Lawrence, covering a wide range of genres and topics.

Visit   Book Band: Grey (ideal for ages 8+)



Setanta dreams of becoming a champion warrior, but his parents think he is too young and too small - and not born to the nobility. Undeterred, Setanta is determined to join the king's young warriors, but they are equally determined to keep this shepherd's son in his place. But although he might be a match for them, can Setanta defeat the ferocious hound of Ulster, the smith Culann's menacing guard dog, and prove his worth?

Malachy Doyle has done a wonderful job of bringing this Irish folk tale to life. Perfectly pitched to support children on banded books, it also offers an exciting story told with a rich vocabulary. Short, achievable chapters make it great for building confidence in independent reading, but also a satisfying choice for a guided reading text.

Setanta's determination to achieve and to achieve his dreams in the face of his parent's warnings and the attitude of the other young warriors offers much to discuss. His bravery is recognised by the king, resulting in the title of Cuchulainn, the Hound of Ulster, and he achieves his dreams, becoming a great champion.

The book includes reading notes and ideas at the end and there are atmospheric black and white illustrations throughout the story which add to its appeal.

64 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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