In the Mythological Cycle of Irish mythology, during the time of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Ireland was invaded by a Celtic Witch by the name of Carman. A witch of evil magic she was a Greek warrior from Athens who invaded Ireland with her three sons, Dub (darkness), Dothur (evil) and Dian (violence).
Attacking the Tuatha Dé Danann, the people of goddess Danu, she used magical powers to destroy all the crops in Ireland causing a major blight. Her sons destroyed everything that stood in their path.
Carman & Tuatha Dé Danann
The Tuatha Dé Danann thought the attacks on Ireland were evil so called upon four members to challenge Carman and her sons. The four members included, the god of poetry (Ai Mac Ollamain), a white sorceress (Bé Chuille), a satirist (Cridhinbheal), and a magician (Lugh Laebach). Using their magical powers against the three evil sons they banished each of them from Ireland for as long as the land was surrounded by water.
Carman proved to be more difficult to defeat but a magical spell cast by Bé Chuille was able to subdue her magic. Chained up and imprisoned, Carman died of grief in 600 BCE. Before her death she request that a fair be held in her honour at her burial place.
The Óenach Carman, a fair, was held during the harvest festival Lughnasadh held on August 1st. The Óenach Carman would be held every 3 years taking 2 years to prepare. For holding the fair the Leinstermen, who were leaders, were promised full harvests, freedom from being controlled, and there would be cheer in every household. If they failed to hold the Óenach Carman, Ireland would face major famine.
The fair for Carman fair was a gathering and involved a mixture of tribal business, horse-racing, cattle shows, sporting contests, and rituals to ensure good fortune.
Óenach Carman was not the only fair to be held in Ireland. Tailten , Tlachtga, Uisnech, and Raigne were also similar gatherings.
First published on October 10, 2016 and last modified on June 17, 2017.