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Irish Fairies


Aughisky

Water Horses

These are the water horses of Ireland and are similar to the Each Uisge and Cabyll-Ushtey. They gallop out of the crashing waves up onto the shore, venturing inland. They are supposed to make excellent mounts for whoever can catch one but riding a Aughisky is not without risk. Read More »

Banshee

Banshee (Andy)

The Banshee is most commonly visualised as a female spirit who wails in the night to foretell disaster, either to an individual family or more generally. The tradition is the strongest in Ireland but many places with Celtic survivals have a variant of the Banshee. Read More »

Beast of Lettir Dallan

The Triads of Ireland or the Trecheng Breth Féne describe the Beast of Lettir Dallan as one of the three wonders of Glenn Dallan in Tirowen. Read More »

Ben Bulben

Ben Bulben

Legendary home of the Irish third century warriors known as the Fianna, Ben Bulben (or Benbulben, Benbulbin, Binn Ghulbain) is a large glacial rock formation in the Darty Mountains. Read More »

Changelings

Changelings are part of Western Folklore, a child of a fairy type (Elf, Troll etc) which has been secretly swapped for a human baby and left in its place. George Waldron gave the following description of one he saw in the Isle of Man and it was subsequently reprinted in ‘The Science of Fairy Tales’ (1891) by Edwin Sidney Hartland. Read More »

The Dobhar-chu

The Dobhar-chu or water hound is a lake dwelling creature of Irish Folklore. It is covered in short white fur with a dark cross on it’s back and described as being like a dog or a large sea otter. Read More »

Fachan

fachan

The Fachan (Fechan or Fachin or Peg Leg Jack) is a found in Scots-Irish Folklore. A Fachan's appearance is so terrible it was known to cause heart attacks. It has one eye, one leg, one withered arm coming out of it's chest and a mane of black feathers. Read More »

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. Read More »

Frustrating the Fairies Day

4 May - Irish day for confusing the fairies so that they could not create any havoc.

IRISH FOLKLORE COMMISSION 1935-1970 : History, Ideology, Methodology

Irish Folklore Commission

IRISH FOLKLORE COMMISSION 1935-1970 : History, Ideology, Methodology [Micheal Briody] Between 1935 and 1970 the Irish Folklore Commission (Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann), under-funded and at great personal cost to its staff, assembled one of the world's largest folklore collections. Read More »

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. Read More »

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). Read More »

Mermaids

Mermaid

Tales of mermaids have been around for centuries, and form a large part of seafaring lore, especially round the coastal areas of Britain such as Cornwall, and the Northern Isles of Scotland. Their sighting was thought to be a bad omen, foretelling storms and rough seas. There are numerous folk tales describing their interaction with humans. Read More »

Newgrange

Newgrange Entrance

If we were making a list of the top 100 ancient sites in Britain and Ireland (as is the current vogue) Newgrange would undoubtedly be in the hallowed top 10. Its great age, size, astronomical features and location in the beautiful Boyne Valley, mark it as one of the most important ‘mystery' sites in Europe. Read More »

Ox of Dile (Dil)

The third wonder of Glenn Dallan in Tirowen mentioned in the The Triads of Ireland or the Trecheng Breth Féne is the Ox of Dil. Following the mention of the The Beast of Lettir Dallan which is centred around a lake by the church, of Ox of Dile it is said: Read More »

Sheebeg Cairn

Sheebeg Cairn (Sí Beag) is traditionally considered to be the burial site of Gráinne, (daughter of Cormac mac Airt, High King of Ireland ) and the giant hero of Irish legend, Fionn Mac Cumhaill (or Finn McCool), leader of the Fianna warriors of Ben Bulben. Read More »

Strange Lands By Andrew L Paciorek

Strange Lands

Andy Paciorek is one of Mysterious Britain & Irelands favourite contributors and his amazing artwork can be found illustrating articles throughout this site. Read More »

The Cailleach

From high mountain pass, exhaling ice breath, (2).
Comes Cailleach clothed in summers death.
Cold fingers search under starlight’s lantern
Staff cracks dew to frosted mantle, (3).
In the stags hoary frosted bark,
Riding with wolves on the cloak of the dark. (4).
From mountain, hillock, stone and spring (5). Read More »

The Fairy Nurse

There was once a little farmer and his wife living near Coolgarrow. They had three children, and my story happened while the youngest was on the breast. Read More »

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." Read More »

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). Read More »

The Undreamed Region: Barrows In Folklore & Archaeology

Hills, mounds and burial sites. Places which have a timeless allure. Such places can be seen and regarded as mythically liminal, a place that it is not a place. A place outside of time. A place where the living freely walk with the dead. Barrows are just such places. Read More »

Twenty Years With The Good People

I had a gran'uncle, he was a shoemaker; he was only about 3 or 4 months married. I'm up to fourscore now. Well, God rest all their souls, for they are all gone, I hope to a better world! Read More »

When Witches Communed With Fairies

Magic Cirle

Our modern conventions tend to view the realms of fairies and witches separately. Witches have been viewed as evil, while fairies are seen as benevolent, cute, and kind. As scholars reevaluate witch trials and the confessions of those accused, we are coming to new conclusions on accused witches. Read More »

Whistling Dobhar-chú of Lough Glenade

Dobhar-chu

In Conbnaíl (Conwell) Cemetery, Drummans, there is a tombstone depicting a carved Dobhar-chú .The grave is that of Grace Connolly (Grainne Ni Conalai), who apparently was killed by a Dobhar-chú from Lough Glenade on 24th September 1722. Read More »



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