The island of Ireland is a popular destination for the modern traveler. Its history, however, still poses many mysteries. Unlike its neighboring nations of England, Wales, and Scotland, Ireland’s extensive history is not celebrated as much in fiction or film. Ireland’s lore, however, remains a delightful realm of study for historical researchers.

 

  • Colloquy of the Ancients– A collection of Ossianic [relating to Irish legend Ossian, hero and bard of the 3rd Century A.D.] legends.
  • Fey: A person who felt unnaturally happy, without reason, in Celtic lore. This person was also destined to have bad luck.
  • Fragarach– A magical sword, also known as “Answerer,” used by Irish god Lir.
  • Onbarr– The magical horse belonging to Manaanan, son of the sea-god Lir. It could travel on land or sea.
  • Asi– King of the Golden Pillars.
  • Balor– King of the Formorians, often called “Balor of the Evil Eye.” Legend said he could destroy with just an evil look. When Balor grew old, he rigged a system of ropes and pulleys to keep the eye functional. His grandson Lugh, who was also the Sun god, caught him when his eye had drooped and killed him.
  • O’Donoghue– A spirit who lives beneath the lake waters. He rides a steed as white as the foam on the water. He gives treasures to the good, but counterfeit goods to the undeserving.
  • Aonbarr– a horse that belonged to Manaanan, son of Lir. It could gallop over land or sea, among other magical abilities.
  • Asal– The King of the Golden Pillars. He owned seven swine that could be killed and eaten, but reappear the next morning.
  • Bave– daughter of Catalin the wizard.
  • Birog– a mythical druidess of Irish legend. She used magic to unite Kian and Ethlinn.
  • Briccriu– an Ulster chieftain from the myth of Cuchulain. His surname was, “of the Poisoned Tongue.”
  • Caer– daughter of Ethal Anubal, the Prince of Danaans of Connaught. She comes from Irish myth. She lived a year in the form of a maiden, and another in the form of a swan. Angus Og fell in love with her, and as a result, transformed into a swan himself. Any who heard their love song fell into a sleep that lasted three days and nights.
  • Calatin Clan– a monster in Irish myth. The monster was created from a father and his twenty-seven sons. If grouped together, they could simply touch a mortal and he would die within nine days. Cuchulain caught 100 of the monster’s spears on his shield. The monster then threw him down. The son of an Ulster exile saved the day, and cut off the creature’s head, as Cuchulain chopped its body up.

 

 

Proverbs, History, and Sayings:

 

  • It is extremely unlucky for a woman to cross paths with a “love talker.” This is actually Gancanagh, a male fairy who seduces women.
  • Bury a murdered man’s boots and he will haunt the vicinity.
  • Saint’s Island, on the western side of Lough Ree, has an old Augustinian Priory with an ancient cemetery. This contained an ancient black flagstone called the, “Revealer of Truth.” Anyone suspected of wrongdoing was brought here to stand trial. If the suspect lied, the stone would mark him and his kin for seven generations. If no mark appeared, he was innocent.
  • Caius Julius Solinus stated there were no bees in Ireland. That if soil was taken from Ireland and strewn around hives elsewhere, the bees would abandon the hive.
  • The Monastery of St. Gall had an ancient manuscript, from the eighth or ninth century, listing the magical formula for healing some diseases and preserving butter, in the name of the Irish god Diancecht.
  • Earl Gerald Desmond- Earl of Desmond. Desmond is often called the” 16th” however there is no such generation for that earldom. Earl Desmond was the 15th, and had a peculiar life. He was called the, “Great Earl,” because many believed he was a magician. His castle was on Lough Gur, in the county of Limerick. He adored his bride, and couldn’t deny her anything. One day, she demanded to know the mystical secret known as Black Cat. He tried to dissuade her, and said she would have to witness many terrible things. She wouldn’t change her mind. She swore to be silent during the ritual, or may her beautiful castle sink to the bottom of Lough Gur. Her husband was correct. She was steadfast, but not as brave as she thought. She eventually screamed, and the castle plummeted to the bottom of the lake, where it remains today.

 

 

 

 

Other Irish Curiosities:

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