Top 10 Irish Myths and Legends – Irish Folklore Creatures
The long history of Ireland is replete with ancient folklore and mythology. Ireland’s ancient societies, the Celtics, and the Druids believed in magical powers and these beliefs have been carried forward to this day. Stories of fairies playing pranks, warriors with ultimate knowledge and a lot other Irish myths and legends are strange, fascinating, and very popular, and we are presenting here about 10 such interesting myths and legends right now.
The Top 10 Irish Myths and Legends; Most Famous Irish Mythological Creatures.
Pookas are a kind of fairy who just is interested in creating chaos in the mortal world. The Pookas was seen at night across the seaboard and rural Ireland. On any good day, the Pooka would come and destroy a farm, causing harm to animals and tearing down fences. On bad days Pookas would stand outside a farmhouse and then call people by their name. If the person came out the Pooka would take them away.
9. The Banshee
The Banshee is believed to be a woman carrying with her the omen of death. At times, the Banshee appeared like an old woman clad in rags, sometimes like a beautiful and young girl, and at times like a wash woman ringing out clothes full of blood. Whenever one would see her she would cry in a strange way and that cry caused death to any family who heard it.
8. Dagda’s Harp
The Dagda, as per Irish mythology, was a priest who had a beautiful and big harp. In a war, the harp was stolen by a rival tribe and was taken to some abandoned castle. Dagda went there and called to his harp. The harp itself came to Dagda and he struck its chords. Music of Tears started playing and everyone present in the castle also started crying. Again Dagda struck its chords and this time Music of Mirth was played and everyone began laughing. The chords were struck for a final time and this time it played the Music of Sleep. Other than Dagda everyone fell asleep and this gave Dagda a chance to run away with his harp.
If legends are to be believed female fairies many a time gave birth to deformed babies. However, fairies love visually pleasing children and thus they would enter the mortal world and swap their babies with a human baby that was healthy and beautiful. Though the changeling looked just like human babies their emotional characteristics were quite different. They were happy only if some grief or misfortune occurred in the house.
6. St. Patrick
Most people believe that St. Patrick is the one because of who green beer was brought to pubs and he is the man who brought good days. The fact is St. Patrick turned into saint only centuries after he died and he was not even Irish. He was born to a rich family in Britain but was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Ireland. During his slavery days he converted to Christianity, and when he got free, he spent his life teaching about Christianity to the Irish. After his death, he was forgotten, but years later monks started telling tales of St. Patrick and said he had forced the snakes out of Ireland. However, he could never have done this as Ireland never had snakes.
5. The Children of Lir
This story rises from the Mythological Cycle of Ireland. Lir was the Sea Lord and had a wife and four kids. When his wife died he married Aoife, his wife’s sister. Aoife did not like Lir’s children and wanted to get rid of them. One day she took the kids to a lake, and when they were swimming she cast a spell on them which made them turn into swans. As per the spell, the children would have to remain that way until they heard a Christian bell. The swans kept swimming for years from a river to lake to stream waiting to hear a bell, but it was after 900 years that St. Patrick reached Ireland and freed these children of the curse.
4. Finn MacCool
Finn MacCool can be seen in many Irish legends and was a mythological warrior. As per one story, there was a salmon that had full knowledge of the world and Finn planned to eat this salmon to gain its knowledge. When he started cooking the fish some juice started coming out and it burned Finn’s thumb. Immediately Finn put his thumb in his mouth to relieve the pain and right then he gained the knowledge that the salmon had. Right from that time whenever Finn wanted to gain knowledge of something he just had to suck his thumb.
3. The Shamrock
The Shamrock has three green leaves and is Ireland’s unofficial symbol. The Druids considered Shamrock to be a sacred plant with the help of which evil could be warded off. According to the Celtics, the heart-shaped leaves of this plant bestowed it with mystical properties. There are three heart leaves and for the Celtic three is a sacred number. For some Christians too the three leaves of Shamrock had a special meaning – it represented the Holy Trinity.
See also; 10 Most Haunted Castles in Ireland.
A Leprechaun is perhaps the most popular type of fairy of Ireland. Traditionally, they are fairies and usually come in front of humans in the form of an old man, quite different from the modern view, where they appear as childlike small fairy wearing a green suit. Leprechauns, as the legends say, love collecting gold, store it in a pot, and keep them at the end of a rainbow. If a person is able to catch a leprechaun then they have to grant them three wishes before being released.
See also; 10 Hybridized Humanoids Types in Mythology.
Though faeries appear almost in all mythologies in some form, they are very important to the Irish. Ireland’s fairy society is believed to be quite alive and an Irish fairy can take a form she desires, but generally will opt for a human form. They are believed to be powerful, beautiful, and irresistible. This can be unfortunate as fairies in Ireland usually are known to bring bad luck to any mortals they get close to.
True or not these Irish myths and legends certainly are very interesting. The more you learn about them higher will be your interest to learn further, and further.