Irish Folklore Stories, Legends & Myths
Thankfully, Ireland has never suffered much from the interference of modern ways when it comes to traditional folklore.
Stories have been, and still are told around the fire, usually with the story teller enjoying a ‘wee drop o the black stuff to whet his whistle’. (Having a glass of Guinness to quench his thirst while he tells the story).
Family Stories that are passed down generation by generation
These tales take many forms and vary from family to family as each house will have their own personal tale to tell. Families all across Ireland will gather round an older family member and listen wide eyed as they are taken on an epic adventure full of danger and excitement.
Fantastic tales of magical faerie castles made of glass on top of beautiful lush green hills or fearsome hags or Pookas which are shape changing creatures usually seen in the form of a horse running wildly with flaming red eyes and breathing fire on top of rocky cliffs luring unwitting travellers to their death.
Every family will tell a nightmarish story of the dreaded Banshee and how she appeared to a family member on a dark, cold, lonely night and how when they heard the wailing sound of the Banshee crying they hoped beyond hope that it was just the wind or the mournful sound of a cat calling out to the dark night and not the keening of the Banshee, foretelling the news that a family member would soon be leaving this mortal realm in the ‘Coiste Bordhar’ or the ‘death coach’. I know my family is no different!
If a child has been bad or has misbehaved then a parent or grand-parent will chastise them by telling them if they are not good then the faeries or the Sidhe (pronounced shee) will come and spirit them away and leave a changeling in their place.
Many a time, I was told ‘Behave! The faeries are watching you!’ Even to-day, when I am walking in the countryside and see a ‘faerie ring’ or a ‘faerie tree’, I will always show respect and not walk through the ring or break a branch off the tree for fear of invoking the wrath of the ‘fey’.
To-day you only have to mention Ireland and some reference will be made to the ‘little people’, the Leprechauns. This little chap is a famous as ‘Guinness’. Many tales exist of how when a Leprechaun is caught they have to grant three wishes or part with their much cherished pot of gold but reader beware and use these wishes wisely as the Leprechaun does not like to part with either his gold or his wishes and will try his best to trick you.
We hope you will enjoy joining us in our journey as we explore the magical realm that is Ireland.
Stories, Legends & Myths of Ireland
Sidhe – Faerie folk – Find out what Sidhe means and the different beliefs that can be found in Ireland.
Irish Leprechauns Stories – Possibly the most famous legends to come from Ireland. Discover what a Leprechaun is and how it could be lucky to catch one.
Banshee – woman of the Faerie mound – When people think Banshee they may think of a ghost or death but there is more to a Banshee than most people know.
What is a Changeling? It is said that you can tell a changeling baby by its appearance and manner as it will be ill-tempered and wizened and will have very dark eyes that if you look into them you can see wisdom well beyond their age.
Pooka’s – The most feared Faerie in Ireland – A Pooka is a shape-shifter and can take any form it chooses. Traditionally seen as a dark, sleek horse with a long wild flowing mane and luminescent golden eyes.
Fionn mac Cumhal (Finn mac Cool) is a famous warrior from Ireland’s ancient legends who shaped had help shape various parts of Ireland as we see it today.