Category: Irish Folktales

Lough Neagh

The freshwater Lough Neagh covers an area of 151 square miles and is Northern Ireland’s largest lake. There are a few legends associated with Lough Neagh and its formation. The following account entitled ‘This is the Death of Eochaidh son of Mairid’ is from the Book of the Dun Cow, Translated by Standish Hayes O’Grad (1892).

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Oilliphéist

In ‘Irish Myths and Legends’ by Ronan Coghlan, we are told that Oilliphéist, is an Irish word meaning ‘dragon’ or ‘great worm’, and that ‘a creature of this sort, hearing that Saint Patrick was coming to drive out its kind, cuts its way through the land, thus forming the River Shannon.’ The Shannon is 224 miles long and the is Ireland’s longe

The Midwife Of Listowel

"Why do you call the fairies ‘good people?’" asked I.
"I don’t call them the good people myself," answered Duvane, "but that is what the man called them who told me the story. Some call them the good people to avoid vexing them. I think they are called the good people mostly by pious men and women, who say that they are some of the fallen angels."

Fairy Nurse

There lived a woman in Innish Shark — one of the group of islands on the eastern coast — named Biddy Mannion, as handsome and likely a fisherman’s wife as you would meet in a day’s walk. She was tall, and fair in the face, with skin like an egg, and hair that might vie with the gloss of the raven’s wing.

Jamie Freel and the Young Lady

The following story from’ Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry’ by William Butler Yeats (1888) takes place in Fannet, which is now known as Fanad, a peninsular by Lough Swilly. Although the tale includes a trip across the length of Ireland, according to the story the hero states he is nearly home when approaching Tamney, so I have used this village for my map reference below.

The Recovered Bride

The following tale taken from ‘Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celt’s, by Patrick Kennedy (1866). It also appears in ‘Beltane: Springtime Rituals, Lore & Celebration’ by Raven Grimassi (2001).

Eo Rossa

The Eo Rossa or Eó Ruis (Yew of Ross) was one of the five sacred trees of Ireland (the Bile* Trees or the Bileda) and said to grow by the River Barrow at Leighlinbridge. It grew from three natured berries from a branch born by the Irish God, Trefuilngid Tre-ochair (Triple Bearer of the Triple Key, Master of All Wisdom and consort of Macha, the triple goddess).