Unreal Irish Folklore
Irish Werewolves and their Tales

Irish Werewolves and their Tales

May 17, 2020

Early Irish forests were thick with wolves. Fierce, fast and predatory, it’s no wonder these animals inspired so many myths and stories before their extinction. The legend of the werewolf - men and women who could walk through the world in the shape of wolves - has captured imaginations for centuries.

 

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Sources and Further Reading

 

 

Ossory Werewolves

 

St Ronan

 

The Wolf Women of Cruachan Cave

 

Lady Jane Wilde’s Wolf Stories – in Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms & Superstitions of Ireland

 

Fiachna

Fragmentary Annals” in Silva Gaedelica by Standish H. O’Grady

 

Cormac Mac Art

 

Music

 

Sound Effects

For Fear of Little Men

For Fear of Little Men

May 2, 2020

Down in the hollows, hiding just out of sight, the wee folk are watching our every move. And despite their size, these little beings can bring about an incredible amount of destruction.

But were the wee folk always thought of as so sinister? And do they think of humans as being just as magical as we think of them?

 

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Sources and Further Reading

Leprechauns

 

King Fergus and the Wee Folk

 

Music

 

Mermaids, Merrows and Selkies

Mermaids, Merrows and Selkies

April 19, 2020

Far below the ocean waves live the strange and mysterious people of the sea. From ancient times to the modern day we have been fascinated by stories of the sea folk – the way they look, the songs they sing, and the great hold they have on us. But the merfolk are very different to humans, and when human and sea person meet, things rarely go according to plan…

 

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Sources and Further Reading

Introductions

 

Stories

 

Essays

 

Music

The Old Cures

The Old Cures

March 29, 2020

When disease swept through a community, people would try anything that might help to save the ones they loved. In times before modern medicine, illnesses rarely seen today, like measles, pox and whooping cough, were killers, and traditions were passed down by families desperate for anything to give them the luck they needed to survive through the crisis.

But putting your trust in superstitious actions and legends of past cures could also lead to some very strange results...

With thanks to Con Ryan, my grandfather, for his unique and fascinating insight on these traditions.

 

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Sources And Further Reading

Thinking Critically About Coronavirus

 

Old Cures

 

Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney

 

Music

Did St Patrick Banish Snakes from Ireland?

Did St Patrick Banish Snakes from Ireland?

March 14, 2020

St Patrick banished snakes from Ireland forever, and none have since dared to touch the land he charmed. But is the story really as simple as that?

Or could the legends of snakes, saints and Ireland’s beginnings stretch much further, with many more twists and turns?

 

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SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

General Introductions to Serpent Symbolism and Folklore

 

St Brigid and Snakes: Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1, by Alexander Carmicheal

Gaedil Glas: Lebor Gabála Érenn, translated by R. A. B. MacAlister

Fionn and Snakes: The Ballad of Sliabh Truim from Duanaire Finn, translated by John Mac Neill

Cónán and the Caorannach

St Patrick

 

MUSIC

The Wren, The Wren, the King of the Birds

The Wren, The Wren, the King of the Birds

December 15, 2019

“The wren, the wren, the king of the birds,
On St Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze..."

Traditions surround this tiny bird in winter - but does the Wren Hunt have much more ancient roots?

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Who’s the Fastest of them All?

Who’s the Fastest of them All?

November 30, 2019

For the warriors of Ireland, speed was an important trait in a wife, tested in gruelling contests. But when you marry a fast, strong woman against her will, you can bet that the running she will do will be far and long away from you…

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Sheela na Guira, The Tyrant Queen

Sheela na Guira, The Tyrant Queen

November 10, 2019

Crumbled and overgrown, Cullohill Castle is no longer the seat of great deeds , But local legends tell of a tyrant queen who killed lovers nightly, and terrorized the area. The legend may now be almost forgotten – but people nearby still recall. For who could forget the rule of Sheela na Guira?

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Alice Kyteler: The First Witch Trial in Ireland

Alice Kyteler: The First Witch Trial in Ireland

October 27, 2019

In 1324, Dame Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny became the first woman tried for witchcraft in Ireland. But things did not go according to plan...

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Kidnapping at the Circus

Kidnapping at the Circus

October 13, 2019
In 1937, the kidnapping of a young German acrobat by an Irish circus hand led to a midnight car chase, and a court case that captivated the country.

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