Questions tagged [irish]

For questions on the mythology and folklore of Ireland.

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3 votes
1 answer
287 views

Is there any connection between Odin and the Irish Goddess Morrigan?

At first glance, these two gods seem to share just a single aspect - an association with war. But digging a little deeper there seems to be a similarity between the function of Odin's maiden, the ...
14 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why would turning clothes inside-out keep the Faerie away?

A recurring theme in Irish stories about the Faerie is that they can be kept away by clothing turned inside-out. This (according to this particular Wikipedia source about Spriggans) is "as effective ...
14 votes
2 answers
290 views

Why isn't Súaltam disabled by Macha's curse?

In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, the men of Ulster are disabled by a curse placed upon them by Macha to feel her labor pains in their hour of greatest need, thus disabling them when the army of Connacht ...
2 votes
1 answer
196 views

Why isn’t Lúgh Lámhfhada considered a sun-god?

A frequent talking point about Irish mythology that I see peddled in many neo-pagan and academic circles is the deity Lúgh Lámhfhada is no longer deemed a sun god but rather a light god or storm-god. ...
1 vote
0 answers
82 views

What is the Irish myth of the maiden seduced for one day by the foreign king?

There is an Irish quasi-historical myth in which a foreign king comes by the sea and lands in Ireland where he encounters a princess and they dally for one afternoon and he tells her, "You shall ...
4 votes
1 answer
355 views

The structure of the Fae courts

I'm looking for the structure of the Fairy (Fae) courts which are defined by Seelie or Unseelie alignments. There is a lot of fiction written but the problem is that they twist it to their own ...
14 votes
3 answers
49k views

What did Cuchulainn's warp spasm look like?

In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, the great Irish hero Cuchulainn is said to undergo a process which appears to be quite similar to "hulking out". The most colorful ...
3 votes
1 answer
695 views

Are there recommended collection/translations of Irish mythology/folklore?

I am interested in reading Irish mythology/folklore, especially the four major cycles: The Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle, and the Historical Cycle - but I want to make sure I ...
9 votes
1 answer
263 views

Is there any significance to Baile's Strand as the setting for Cúchulainn's duel with his son?

Particularly geographical, historical, folkloric or linguistic connections. I certainly can't find any such location on the map although there are a few coastal towns in Ulster that begin with "...
2 votes
0 answers
97 views

Is there a Celtic folklore or mythology story associated with the Hill of Mael in Ireland?

Does anyone have any record of a story associated with the trivallate settlement complex on the Hill of Mael in Co. Westmeath, Ireland? I am looking for earlier Celtic stories under Irish mythology.
5 votes
1 answer
56 views

Is it sound to academically analyze myth in translation?

I am working on my dissertation on An Táin Bó Culaigne. I (sadly) can't work from the Old Irish text but am relying on using translation to explore a point I am making about Early Irish society. Is ...
3 votes
1 answer
184 views

Was Nuada Airgetlám accompanied by dogs?

According to this passage from a website, it's stated that the Irish war-god and Tuatha Dé Danann's first ruler Nuada Airgetlám was sometimes accompanied by a pack of dogs whose licks are said to have ...
11 votes
2 answers
241 views

How Do The Fairies In Irish Mythology Spend Their Time

I have heard that they are "merrymaking and lovemaking" the entire time. But if there is someone more familiar with the lives of fairies, I would love to learn about their culture...at least some ...
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Whence comes the association of Leprechauns with rainbows?

In the modern day, leprechauns are usually associated with a highly rigid depiction: wearing green, hat, buckled shoes, red beard, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some parts of this may come ...
13 votes
1 answer
264 views

Why did the Lli and Archen rivers flood, separating Ireland and Britain?

In the second branch of the Mabinogion, King Bendigeidfran and his men travel from Britain ("the Island of the Mighty", or Ynys Y Kedeirn), intent on avenging the punishment of his sister, Branwen, at ...
7 votes
1 answer
193 views

Where do Leprechauns live?

Like, when they aren't dragging people into the sea or granting wishes. The wikipedia article doesn't describe in much detail about where they reside. Holes? Mountain Tops? Tiny Cottages?
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Who was Scathach and Aoife?

Back in September, I was reading a series called, "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel," by Michael Scott. One of the main characters was The Warrior Maiden, Scathach. In this series, she had ...
8 votes
1 answer
788 views

Aoife and Cu Chulainn

In the Irish legend, did Aoife ultimately win or lose the duel with Cu Chulainn? Is it true that Cu Chualainn fell in love with Aoife?
2 votes
2 answers
158 views

What is conveyed or connoted in the story that St Patrick banished snakes from Ireland, when in his time Ireland had no snakes?

According to tradition, St Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland. But it is thought that at least since the end of the last glacial period in about 9700 BCE, Ireland had no snakes. What is being ...
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

What happened to the Fir Bolg after Ireland was conquered by the Tuatha Dé Danann?

In Irish mythology, Ireland was once inhabited by the Fir Bolg, who were descended from the earlier Muintir Nemid. The Fir Bolg were later defeated by another group of Nemed's descendants known as the ...
5 votes
0 answers
450 views

Is "The Secret of Roan Inish" derived from a specific myth?

In the wonderful John Sayles film The Secret of Roan Inish (1994), the director presents a touching tale of a family with selkie connections. The film was based on the the novel Secret of the Ron Mor ...
5 votes
0 answers
156 views

Who was the swift woman from from Irish Mythology described as having backward knees?

This question got me thinking about the Irish depiction of legs in mythology. I remember one woman, in particular, from (I believe) the Ulster Cycle, described as having backward legs, similar to a ...
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are all Celtic Gods (Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and British) considered part of the same pantheon?

The term 'Celtic' means mythology from the British Isles, so are the gods from Irish, Welsh, and Scottish mythology all considered part of the same pantheon? For example, did people who believe in the ...
5 votes
1 answer
204 views

Cows as symbols of Wisdom

I just finished a very interesting article "Boand" river-goddess and rebel" that talks about the bovine origin of her name, and makes a good case for cows as a symbol of wisdom in Irish lore. The ...
5 votes
0 answers
316 views

Are there any good Jungian studies of Irish myth ( not generic 'Celtic')?

This kind of stuff is what I am interested in: Myths of Irishness: The Fomorian Connection. Articles would be ideally the best.
9 votes
1 answer
167 views

Why is it believed that characters from the Irish myth cycles were once gods?

I have a passing familiarity with some of the stories from Irish myth, at least in their translated form. One thing that has always puzzled me about these tales is the presumption among scholars that ...
10 votes
1 answer
166 views

What reason, if any, is there for the exact number of men and women who went with Cesair to Ireland in the Lebor Gabála Érenn?

In the Book of Invasions Cesair flees Noah's flood to Ireland as a kind of matriarch of her fleet. The sources all agree there was an incredible sexual imbalance between men and women, with a total of ...
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Symbolism of Irish characters with multiple pupils in each eye

Multiple translations of the Táin Bó Cúalnge describe Fedelm as having three pupils in each eye: She had a blue-grey and laughing eye; each eye had three pupils. (Dunn) Each of her two eyes had ...
9 votes
1 answer
167 views

Where are the three Maels of Meath?

The Tain fairly often specifies specific geographical locations as the settings for its events. In the final battle of the Tain, Fergus is convinced to turn from the battle and expend his anger on ...
9 votes
1 answer
491 views

How could Cuchulainn yield to Fergus?

This is closely related to a previous question: Why couldn't Cuchulainn yield to Ferdiad (or vice versa)? It seems clear from the answer there that Cuchulainn would be bound to fight to defend ...
6 votes
1 answer
535 views

Why couldn't Cuchulainn yield to Ferdiad (or vice versa)?

Earlier in the Tain Bo Cuailnge, Fergus Mac Roich and Cuchulainn meet for single combat. At this time, Fergus makes an arrangement with Cuchulainn, that if Cuchulainn yeilds to him in their single ...
13 votes
1 answer
402 views

Why isn't Loeg disabled by Macha's curse?

In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, the men of Ulster are disabled by a curse placed upon them by Macha to feel her labor pains in their hour of greatest need, thus disabling them when the army of Connacht ...