Ellen Ryan’s Girls Who Slay Monsters: Daring Tales of Ireland’s Forgotten Goddesses has been published by HarperCollins Ireland. Recently shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards, the book of goddess stories, which was illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald, is aimed at young readers and features inclusive characters and storylines. It is currently available to purchase from Waterstones and independent bookshops across Northern Ireland.

From mermaids and fashionistas to athletes and farmers, meet goddesses of all shapes and sizes from Ireland’s ancient myths. Stand by their sides as they wield magic, fight monsters, and protect the powerless. Have you heard of Eithne the supernatural scholar or Fand the shape-shifting eco-warrior? What about Bé Mannair, a gender-fluid spy who challenges an entire army, or Bé Binn, a giantess who overcomes the bullies who body shamed her?

In Girls Who Slay Monsters, powerful and vivid storytelling reveals an important part of Ireland’s cultural heritage – and a borderless feminist inheritance – with utterly breath-taking illustrations. These daring deeds of forgotten Irish goddesses will capture the hearts and imaginations of readers.

Ellen Ryan says: “This has been a passion project for me, which started when I took a trip to an Irish archaeological site and learned the land there was linked with goddesses. At school I was only taught about a few magical Irish women, often portrayed as villains, but never as gods. So, for many years after that trip, I dug through manuscripts and discovered a pantheon of goddesses whose stories could be shaped to offer new relevance today. I hope everyone enjoys these stories as much as I enjoyed crafting and bringing them to life. “

Catherine Gough, Commissioning editor at HarperCollins Ireland, says: “Working with Ellen on Girls Who Slay Monsters has been a dream – her exceptional writing skills combined with her careful research has produced a book that young goddesses are going to love! The stories are exciting, pacy and full of adventure, and it’s amazing to see that tales from ancient Ireland deal with such modern subjects. It’s unlike anything I’ve read in Irish mythology before. Paired with Shona Shirley Macdonald’s ornate and enchanting illustrations, this is a book that I know young readers will return to again and again.”


Notes to Editor


  • Girls Who Slay Monsters: Daring Tales of Ireland’s Forgotten Goddesses refers to ‘Ireland’ within an ancient context
  • HARPERCOLLINS IRELAND HarperCollins Ireland, established in 2020, is committed to deepening HarperCollins’ relationship with the island of Ireland, by continuing to promote and sell titles from across the HarperCollins Group, as well as publishing titles that reflect the full breadth and vibrancy of Irish society.
  • HARPERCOLLINS UK HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 17 countries. With over two hundred years of history and more than 120 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in 16 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins UK has offices in London, Glasgow, Honley and Manchester and can be found online at www.harpercollins.co.uk