Supernatural Ireland

The landscape of Ireland is rich with signs of its Celtic past - from burial sites of ancient kings to mystical stone circles, folklore and history intermingle in its land and in its culture.


Discover the folklore of the Emerald Isle


The landscape of Ireland is rich with signs of its Celtic past - from burial sites of ancient kings to mystical stone circles, folklore and history intermingle in its land and in its culture. The tradition of telling mythological stories is very strong on the Emerald Isle, with the poetry of bards preserving legends that would have otherwise been lost in the mists of time. Tales of magical fairy folk, beautiful and terrible enchantresses, and super-human warriors have filtered down the centuries to entertain, astound and teach generations of people.



Far from the cute winged cherubs of modern fairy depictions, the 'good people', as fairies were respectfully known, had the power to destroy or bless human lives. This supernatural race of miniature beings are nature spirits who have the power to effect - for good or for bad - the harvest, the weather and the survival of humans. So the existence of these beings were entwined with the lives of the country dwellers around them. For those reasons fairies were both feared and respected centuries ago, when belief in their existence was at its peak. Often, enchantingly beautiful in appearance, fairies are said to inhabit hills, cairns and burial mounds of the Irish countryside. Frighteningly, fairies might steal a mortal baby away to fairyland - or even take a young human who'd caught their eye. Demonised by the Christian church, belief in the fey folk lingers on in parts of rural Ireland.




A Celtic fire goddess, this Earth Mother wields a powerful influence on Irish folk culture. First, she was an important Pagan goddess charged with healing, fertility, safe childbirth, and harmony in the home. Daughter of the great Irish Father god Dagda, Brigid lent her fire of inspiration not only to the home but also to essential crafts, such as weaving, embroidery, and metalwork. She was also concerned with justice and the law, as well as creative pursuits, such as poetry. Quite a repertoire! Later, the Church tried and fail to squash her cult. She was simply too far ingrained in Irish culture to be erased. So the Church simply transformed the Pagan deity into a Christian: Saint Brigid, meaning the worship of this goddess continues into modern times in a altered guise.




A eerie lady whom you certainly don't want to meet - or rather, hear. The Banshee is a ghostly woman with long, dishevelled hair who shrieks and keens - and hearing her cry spells death. Traditionally, the Banshee would keen to herald a death of one of Ireland's leading families. But now, inter-marriage means that many people are related to those families! She is said to be the spirit of a murdered woman or a mother who died in childbirth - forever linking this wailing spirit to sadness and tragedy. The Banshee can appear as an ugly old hag or she can take the form of a beautiful maiden - either way she's simply terrifying.





This little creature is known worldwide for his association with the Emerald Isle. A small elf wearing the green colours of the landscape into which he blends, the Leprechaun has a fondness for smoking a pipe and usually sports a bushy beard. Living alongside other fairy folk in burial mounds and cairns, he is a craftsman by trade, making magical shoes, belts and jackets. But his main pastime is hording pots of gold. If you capture a Leprechaun, he's supposed to tell you where to find the gold. But his fortune is carefully hidden away and he will try any trick to avoid revealing where it's located. However, the story goes, if you manage to make it to the end of a rainbow it's a Leprechaun's pot of gold you'll find there.




Unlike its humanoid counterparts, this fairy takes the shape of a sleek, black horse. But don't let its elegant appearance fool you because the Pooka is the most fearsome fairy of them all. It loves to cause dangerous mischief and mayhem for humans and will try to steal people away. The Pooka can make possessions vanish and it demands a share of the harvest every season - or else there will be trouble ahead.



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