Irish Folklore, Myths and Legends

kings, warriors, fairy queens, elves and  magical creatures are the main characters in Irish Myths and Legends. Real people, Spirits. A mixture of Pagan and Christian symbols make an interesting reading that I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, as described by  Ann Carroll on her wonderful Irish Legend series. On a Good Friday on thousand years ago, Brian Boru led his soldiers to victory against an invading army of Vikings. And though he lost his life that day, his fame has lasted a millennium. This is the tale of how the second son of a minor king of Munster became High King of Ireland and such a great leader of men that his names live forever in song and story.

Daghda, the father of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was the god of fertility and agriculture. He owned a magical “Harp, or uaithne“, which was made of oak and encrusted with jewels, and which called the seasons to change. The “Harp'” played music to laugh with joy, cry with sorrow or fall into a deep, soothing sleep. The harp was a powerful musical instrument of the gods as it could control the emotions of humanity.

So, there was a great battle in Heaven between the Devil and Michael the Archangel, we all know the Archangel won; the Devil was sent down to the fiery pits of Hell. But, there was a group of tiny folks that hid and did not side with the Devil, or the Archangel, and it was their indecisiveness to side with the good against evil that got them thrown out of heaven, and as they fell, they shrunk, and they landed in Ireland, where they live in the forests.They became the shoemakers of the fairies. [This reminds me that in the Catholic church “omission” is a sin, as bad as doing something bad.]

The “Death Coach or the Cóiste Bodhar (pronounced coach-a-bower) is a silent death coach that makes its appearance in the event of someone’s death. It’s driven by the Dullahan, the headless horseman and pulled by four black horses. It is summoned by the wails of the Irish “Banshee the Cóiste Bodhar .” The coach must return with at least one soul on-board, and that soul cannot escape its final destination. There was an old Gaelic custom to show grief by paying women to weep in funerals, and that’s probably the origin of the Banshee.

During the first few years of the 20th century, Herminie T. Kavanagh wrote down many Irish folk tales, which she published in magazines and in two books. Twenty-six years after her death, the tales from her two books, Darby O’Gill and the Good People and Ashes of Old Wishes, were made into the film Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Noted Irish playwright Lady Gregory also collected folk stories to preserve Irish history. The Irish Folklore Commission gathered folk tales from the general Irish populace from 1935 onward.[}

Books on Irish Folklore, Myths & Legends to read or gift

From Sawyer's The Way of the Storyteller
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