This forum has posts in multiple languages.

Translate everything to English

Close
Translate

Automated translation is being used to translate posts & replies into your language and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.



Irish Myths and Legends

Irish Myths and Legends

Author
Message
Profile Picture
Posted Thu 10 Sep 2020 10:36 AM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
Who like me, loves a good story? 

Ireland is the set of many great Myths, Legends, and stories, so we decided to share with you some of our favorites.

Every week, we will add a new story, and we invite you to jump in and share the one you love too.
They can be old ones, new ones, or even your creation until it's set in Ireland. ☘️

So see you back here tomorrow to read the first one! 😉
Profile Picture
Posted Fri 11 Sep 2020 8:01 AM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
The tale of the Children of Lir

Long ago in Ireland, there lived a magical race called the Tuatha Dé Danann. Their king’s name was Bodh Dearg, who was disliked immensely by one of his nobles, Lir. To keep the peace, Bodh Dearg gave Lir one of his daughters to be his wife.

Of the two daughters, Lir chose Aoibh, and though a marriage of convenience, the two fell in love and had four beautiful children: a daughter called Fionnghuala, and three sons named Aodh, Conn, and Fiachra.

Sadly, Aoibh fell ill and died. Bodh Dearg, saddened by the family's heartbreak, offered his second daughter, Aoife, to Lir. Lir hoped that Aoife would be as kind as Aoibh, but Aoife was not the same gentle soul as her sister. She was jealous of the love and attention Lir showered on his children – she wanted that love all for herself. So she decided that the children must go.

One day, she took the children to swim in Lough Derravaragh. When they were in the water, she cast a terrible spell on them. The children vanished, and in their place were four beautiful swans. One of the swans asked with Fionnghuala’s voice “What have you done to us?”

“I have put a spell on you. You will be swans for nine hundred years. You will spend three hundred years on this lake, three hundred on the Sea of Moyle, and three hundred on the waters of Inishglora. Only the sound of the Christian church bell can break the spell.”

When the children did not return home, Lir went looking for them beside the lake, but all he saw were four beautiful swans. Then one of the swans called out – it was Fionnghuala. She told him what Aoife had done to them. Lir pleaded with Aoife to reverse the spell, but she refused. Lir went to visit Bodh Dearg, to tell him of his daughter’s evil act. Bodh cursed her, saying her suffering would be greater than that of the children. He asked her what would be the worst form of being, and she replied “a demon of the air”. And so Bodh turned her into such a demon, banishing her from all mankind.

For 300 years, the four swans lived on the calm waters of Lough Derravaragh. Their father, whose love for them never waned, spent his time with them until it was his turn to leave this world, leaving the children heartbroken. The time then came for them to fly north to the stormy Sea of Moyle. Here they did not have their father to comfort them. When the time came to fly to Inishglora, the swans were old and tired. Life was easier there, with warmer weather and plenty of food.

Then one day, they heard the sound of a Christian church bell. They swam to shore, where a monk named Caomhóg met them. He was stunned to see the four swans turn into humans in front of him. Now 900 years old, the children were dying of old age, so Caomhóg baptised them before they died. Caomhóg dreamt that night that he saw them flying through the clouds, and knew they were now with their father and mother.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/11-09-2020/eb6c8abf-d4e9-4ba4-8154-05f4.jpg
Children of Lir sculpture, Ballycastle

Profile Picture
Posted Thu 17 Sep 2020 3:31 PM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
The Salmon of Knowledge

Long ago in the river Boyne, there was a magical fish called the Salmon of Knowledge. Having gained its knowledge from eating nuts from the surrounding trees, it was said to hold all the knowledge in the world and it was said that whoever could catch the salmon and eat it would become the wisest person in Ireland.

Finegas, a poet who was considered one of the wisest men in Ireland, lived near the river Boyne in hopes of catching the Salmon of Knowledge. A young warrior name Fionn came to live with him, and he was curious about why Finegas spent his days fishing. Finegas would smile at the question but give no answer. Then one day, Fionn heard a shout and a huge splash and saw that Finegas had caught a salmon. Finegas immediately knew he had caught the Salmon of Knowledge.

Finegas was tired after the struggle to catch the fish so he gave it to Fionn to cook, with strict instructions to not eat the fish, not even a mouthful. Fionn cooked the salmon very carefully and once it was almost ready, he called Finegas to come for his meal. However, some burning fat from the fish splashed Fionn’s thumb, burning him. Fionn stuck it into his mouth quickly to ease the pain. Finegas came out and immediately noticed something different about Fionn. He asked him “Did you eat the salmon?” Fionn denied it, but then remembered the burn he received. On hearing this, Finegas knew at once that Fionn had received the wisdom of the Salmon of Knowledge. Finegas was very sad, but happy for Fionn. He told him to go out into the world, for there was nothing else he could teach him.

Fionn MacCumhaill went on to become leader of the Fianna and one of the greatest men of Ireland. 

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/17-09-2020/2e5a2942-28bc-4f5d-8a31-de60.jpg
Boyne River
Profile Picture
Posted Fri 18 Sep 2020 11:21 AM
View Quick Profile
Industry Member
Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)Industry Member (28.2K reputation)
Gold Achievements 3 Silver Achievements 3 Bronze Achievements 19
Northern Ireland
Posts: 189
Group: Approved Community Member Last Active: Mon 18 Jan 2021 2:27 PM Visits: 2.1K
The Dark Hedges Legend

One of Northern Ireland's most noteable attractions is the Dark Hedges in the Causeway Coast and Glens.  It is a beautiful avenue of beech trees planted by the Stuart family in the 1700s.  Legend has it that on dark, misty nights people have reported seeing a ghostly spectre walking along the road among the ancient trees.  She is referred to as The Grey Lady.  Some say she is the ghost of a maid who died mysteriously in one of the nearby houses, others say she is a lost soul from the nearby graveyard.  It is said that at Halloween the graves open and the souls of the dead walk with her through these Dark, albeit beautiful Hedges!

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/18-09-2020/2954bc8a-041e-4ea4-b05f-ca11.png

If you are a fan of the HBO series The Game of Thrones, you may have spotted the Dark Hedges featured as "The King's Road".  I wonder where The Grey Lady was that night?

Profile Picture
Posted Thu 24 Sep 2020 7:55 AM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
The tale of Oisín in Tír na nÓg

Long, long ago in Ireland, there lived the great warriors of the Fianna. The leader of the Fianna was Fionn MacCumhail (pronounced: Fee-on McCool), and his son’s name was Oisín (Uh-sheen). One day, while exploring the land, Oisín and Fionn saw a beautiful white horse in the distance, coming across the sea. On its back was the most beautiful young woman they had ever seen – hair the colour of sun, a pale blue dress studded with stars, and surrounded by a golden light. As she drew nearer, the men stopped in their tracks.

“My name is Niamh Chinn Óir (Neeve Kin Oar). My father is king of Tír na nÓg (tear nah nohg) – a land that knows no sorrow and where no one ever ages. I have heard great things of a young warrior named Oisín, and have come to take him with me back to the land of eternal youth.”

Although sad to be leaving his father and the Fianna, Oisín had instantly fallen in love with Niamh, and so agreed to go with her to Tír na nÓg, promising Fionn that he would return to Ireland to see them again soon. The horse took them across silver seas into the magical land of Tír na nÓg. As Niamh had promised, no one here knew sadness, nor did they age. Niamh and Oisín were happy here together – however, there was a small part of Oisín’s heart that remained lonely for Ireland.

Oisín begged Niamh to let him return to Ireland, but each time he asked, she managed to distract him with something else. Eventually, Niamh realised how much Oisín missed his family. However, she was scared to let him return to Ireland – though Oisín thought only three years had passed in his absence, it had, in fact, been 300 years on the island of Ireland. Niamh let him return, on the condition that he remain on her magical horse.“Do not get off this horse, do not let your feet touch the ground, or you will never be able to return to Tír na nÓg again”.

When Oisín returned to Ireland, he could see things had changed. He could not see the Fianna hunting in the fields, and the castle that once housed his family was now crumbling. As he looked for the Fianna, he came across some old men who were having difficulty moving a rock. He leaned down from his horse to help them, and in doing so lost his balance. He fell to the ground, and instantly aged the 300 years that he had missed in Ireland.

Now old and frail, he asked the men about his father Fionn MacCumhail. They told him that he had died many years before, along with the rest of the Fianna. Broken-hearted and now dying of old age, Oisín used his last moments to share with the men the legendary stories of the Fianna, his father Fionn and the land of Tír na nÓg. And to this day, the legends live on!

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/24-09-2020/9c2c31b7-a357-4467-9d55-9e9a.jpg
The Fiouanna family were said to be from the area near Loch Léin known also as Lough Leane, Kerry.
Picture of Ross Castle on the Lough Leane, Killarney by Chris Hill Photographic

Profile Picture
Posted Fri 2 Oct 2020 10:57 AM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
How Setanta became Cú Chulainn

One of the most famous Irish mythological figures, Cú Chulainn (pronounced Coo Cullan) was said to be the son of Deichtine (dec-tin-ah) and the sun god Lugh (loo). His name at birth was Setanta, however he gained the name Cú Chulainn at an early age, through a tale that told how fierce a warrior he would become.

It is said that at the age of five, Setanta heard exciting rumours about the Emain Macha (ah-men mock-ah) in County Armagh. He wanted to go join the warriors there, but his mother wouldn’t let him go until there were warriors to go with him. Determined, young Setanta set out on his own, with his hurley and sliotar (ball). When he arrived at the school, he saw a group of boys playing hurling in front of King Conchobar’s castle. Excited, Setanta ran to join in, not realising that he needed to obtain permission to cross the field. The boys took this as a challenge, and attacked Setanta.

This attack brought out Setanta’s “ríastrad” - a trait he carries that causes him to undergo a distortion, becoming an unrecognisable monster knowing no friend or foe. He made such an onslaught that King Conchobar (cr-oth-oar) himself had to leave his castle to put a stop to the fight. Having witnessed his strength and fiery will, King Conchobar offers Setanta a place in the school.

Setanta continued to make a big impression at Emain Macha. One day, he and his classmates were playing hurling, and Setanta was easliy defeating them with his superior skills. Conchobar was impressed, and invited Setanta to come with him to a feast for the most important warriors of Ulster, hosted by the blacksmith Culann. Setanta replied that he wished to finish his game, but that would we be along later.

However, Conchobar forgot that Setanta was attending. When Conchobar arrived at the feast, Culann asked him if anyone else to come after him. When Conchobar replied no, Culann let his ferocious hound loose to guard the premises.

Soon Setanta arrived, playing with his hurley and sliotar. On seeing him, the hound ran at Setanta, teeth bared. The men could see what was happening at this stage, but the dog was too fast to stop – they could only watch. They were sure it was the end for Setanta.

However, Setanta was as quick a flash. With his perfect aim, he struck his sliotar at the dog with great force – and killed it instantly. Culann was glad Setanta was ok, but was sad he had lost such a great guard dog. Setanta felt guilty for killing the hound, so he vowed to guard Culann’s land until a new dog was reared. So impressed were the warriors by his promise, that Setanta became forever more as Cú Chulainn – ‘Hound of Culann’.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/02-10-2020/1b437dc6-89e8-4f6f-a47b-d788.jpg
Picture from the Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh. It was believed that King Conchobar ruled over Emain Macha, know now as the Navan Fort.
Profile Picture
Posted Fri 9 Oct 2020 10:36 AM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
Cattle raid of Cooley (part 1 of 3): Jealousy and preparation for battle

Queen Medb was infamous as the warrior Queen of Connacht, and when Ailill married her, he became her king. One night, they sat in bed boasting of their riches. Ailill told Medb that she was better off since the day he married her. Offended that Ailill thought he was wealthier than her, Medb ordered their servants to bring forth all of their valuable goods. After a comparison, it was found that Ailill had one possession that Medb did not – a great white bull.

Filled with rage and jealousy that she did not have a bull like Ailill’s, Medb set her sights on acquiring the only bull in Ireland that could match it – the Brown Bull of Cooley. This bull belonged to Ulsterman Daire Cooley, so Medb sent a messenger to him asking Daire for a loan of the bull for one year, offering fifty cows and a large piece of land if he accepted.

Daire agreed to the offer, and held a feast in honour of Medb’s messenger and his men. However, at the feast Daire overheard one of the men say “Daire was a wise man for giving the bull to Medb, for if he hadn’t she would have taken it by force”. Daire was furious at this news, and sent the men back empty handed.

When Medb received the news, she was enraged, and immediately began to gather her men for war. She was going to take the bull by force – and so began the Cattle Raid of Cooley.

Having gathered some of the greatest warriors in the land, and with many of Ulster’s best warriors suffering from the ‘pangs of Ulster’ at the time (a curse put on them), Medb felt confident she would succeed. However, before her army set off for Ulster, a fortune teller named Fedelm came to see her. Little did Medb know how accurate Fedelm’s prophecy would prove to be…

“I see him moving to the fray:
take warning, watch him well,
Cúchulainn, Sualdam's son!
Now I see him in pursuit.

Whole hosts he will destroy,
making dense massacre.
In thousands you will yield your heads.
I am Fedelm. I hide nothing.”


https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/09-10-2020/9fbea354-6e6b-4c59-bb31-81e2.png
View of the Cooley's mountain from Warrenpoint
Profile Picture
Posted Fri 16 Oct 2020 1:16 PM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)
Gold Achievements 6 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 31
Island of Ireland
Posts: 690
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: 1 hour ago Visits: 8.9K
Cattle Raid of Cooley (part 2 of 3): Cúchulainn and Ferdia

As Medb’s army marched towards Connacht, the Red Branch Knights set out to meet them. However, on the way they were struck down by the ‘pangs of Ulster’, a strange sickness brought on by a curse. The only one who was not affected by this was the hero Cú Chulainn. So when Medb’s army arrived they met only one 17-year-old man to defend the province.

Cú Chulainn was no ordinary man, though, and every day he killed hundreds of Medb’s soldiers single-handedly. Medb became very anxious at this and offered him money, land and women to convince him to change sides, but he refused.

Soon Medb found herself running out of men who would fight him – so she was forced to ask Cú Chulainn’s own stepfather, Fergus, to fight. But when Fergus arrived at the battlefield, he could not fight his own stepson. Cú Chulainn agreed to yield, on condition that Fergus agrees to return the favour at another time in the future.

Finally, there was just one warrior left who could stand a chance against Cú Chulainn – his foster brother, Ferdia. However, Ferdia did not wish to fight, so Medb lied to him, saying Cú Chulainn had said that Ferdia was hiding because he was afraid of him. At this, he agreed to fight his stepbrother.

Matched in skill and bravery, Ferdia and Cú Chulainn fought for three whole days with neither gaining advantage. Though Cú Chulainn had a magic spear, Ferdia wore magic armour that no ordinary weapon could pierce.

Finally, Ferdia gained an advantage and put his sword into Cú Chulainn’s chest. However, the fight wasn’t over – with only one option left, Cú Chulainn grabbed his magic spear and put it through Ferdia’s heart. As Ferdia died in his arms, Cú Chulainn felt only sadness over the death of his friend.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/16-10-2020/9f2a3813-5a70-4426-8d87-1160.jpg
Narrow Water Castle Warrenpoint
Profile Picture
Posted Thu 22 Oct 2020 2:49 PM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)Community Expert (37.3K reputation)
Gold Achievements 5 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 28
Island of Ireland
Posts: 321
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: Fri 23 Oct 2020 2:10 PM Visits: 5.5K
Cattle Raid of Cooley (part 3 of 3): The retreat and the battle of the bulls

After his defeat of Ferdia, Cú Chulainn was too spent to continue fighting. He had done a great job of defending Ulster. Though Medb had managed to find the Brown Bull of Cooley, she was still trapped in Ulster. At this same time, the Ulster warriors began to recover from their sickness.

The final battle began to see who would win back the bull. This battle involved the most accomplished warriors in Ireland, including King Conchobar of Ulster, Fergus, Medb, and Ailill. As he could not fight, Cú Chulainn could only listen to the sounds of his two stepfathers, Fergus and Conchobar, fight each other on the battlefield.

As the battle raged on, Cú Chulainn found he could no longer rest – he threw off his bandages and ran to the battlefield. He approached his stepfather Fergus and demanded he yields, as Fergus had promised when Cú Chulainn had yielded before.

So Fergus yielded, and deserted the battlefield with his troops, leaving Medb and Ailill to fight alone. Knowing now that she could not win the fight, Medb sent the Bull of Cooley back to her kingdom with her messengers. Though she had lost many soldiers, Medb believed she had secured the bull.

On the journey back to Connacht, the brown bull met Ailill’s famous white bull. The two bulls engaged in a fierce fight, which lasted all day and night. Finally, the brown bull pierced the white bull with its horns, killing it instantly. The brown bull made its way home to Ulster, where it collapsed and died. So in the end, peace was made between the two provinces, and neither Medb nor Ailill were richer than the other.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/22-10-2020/eb972749-c2f6-40b7-8a7c-aca2.jpg

Profile Picture
Posted Thu 29 Oct 2020 8:35 AM
View Quick Profile
Community Expert
Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)Community Expert (51.8K reputation)
Gold Achievements 6 Silver Achievements 7 Bronze Achievements 31
Island of Ireland
Posts: 690
Group: Community Administrator Last Active: 1 hour ago Visits: 8.9K
The Púca

In Irish mythology and folklore, there are many different creatures great and small, one of which is the Púca. The Púca is a shapeshifter that can take any form it chooses, be that a horse, rabbit, goblin, or even a human. It’s a creature that is known to emerge at night and is associated with mischief – similar to the mythical Norse god known as Loki.

The Púca has appeared in many tales throughout the generations. One such story involves the Púca in horse form, inviting people to ride on his back. The Púca would then take the poor soul on a wild trip leaping over hedges and rocks eventually bucking the rider off his back (though leaving them unharmed).

This mischievous character is also associated with the period of Samhain. At Halloween, a supernatural celebration of this creature and its legends is celebrated in the Boyne valley, County Meath.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/29-10-2020/84c5e35c-e4eb-45e2-a8d4-d1b3.jpg


Similar Topics