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Catalog Record: Irish fairy and folk tales | HathiTrust Digital Library

In the 17th-century text Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe, the Banshee is described as a woman in white with a ghastly pale complexion and white hair. She appears as a wailing spirit and sometimes wears the bloodstained clothing of the person about to die. It is important to note that the Banshee is seldom seen. One famous case involved King James I of Scotland who was visited by the wailing woman and told of his forthcoming death at the behest of the Earl of Atholl in While some legends say that if you hear her piercing shriek, you will die within 24 hours, there are cases when the soon to be deceased person is a relative of the individual that hear the cry.

The Leprechaun is arguably the most famous Irish Fairy of them all. They are Earth Fairies that specialise in shoemaking.

Leprechauns are known for being extremely small, wearing green clothes and hiding treasure. There is a suggestion that they appeared in The Adventure of Fergus mac Leti as early as the 7th or 8th century. In that text, Fergus, the King of Ulster, discovered three water sprites and asked them for the power to swim underwater. However, this luchorpain small water sprite bears little resemblance to the modern depiction of Leprechauns. According to W. Yeats in his book Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, leprechauns are small, withered old men.

The popular image of these little men also suggests they are ill-tempered and mischievous. Also spelled Puca, this Irish Fairy is one to fear because he appears after nightfall and can transform its shape into all manner of horrific forms. There are various tales of the Pooka which tell of its ability to change into bats, eagles, dogs, goats or black horses.

In the middle of the night, the Pooka may destroy crops and terrify livestock, but not all stories are negative. In Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, written by Lady Wilde in , she writes about how a Pooka helped a young man named Phadrig enjoy a life filled with joy and prosperity. He made friends with the spirit who in turn helped thresh the corn. Phadrig was so happy that he created a special suit of clothes for the Pooka. Phadrig guessed it was a gift from his old friend and drank it. He married his bride and enjoyed happiness and prosperity for the rest of his days.

A number of people claim to have seen the Dullahan as it rode past; it is depicted as a headless horseman who holds his head under the crook of his arm. The head apparently glows, so the Dullahan uses it as a lantern to help guide him during the night. According to legend, this fairy is capable of looking into its head and seeing the home of a dying person.

Catalog Record: Irish fairy and folk tales | HathiTrust Digital Library

In a rather macabre twist, the Dullahan uses a human spine as a whip! The legend of the Changelings is popular throughout Europe, especially in Ireland. These creatures are the deformed children of fairies who are abandoned. The parents tend to swap the Changeling with a human baby, and these creatures are described as sickly and abnormal.

They either fail to pick up language or else their language skills are remarkably advanced. Some Changelings are constantly hungry and always crying. The W. Yeats poem The Stolen Child was inspired by tales of fairies stealing human children and leaving Changelings in their place.

Irish Myths & Legends - Full Documentary

The tale of these unwanted fairy babies continues to inspire literature and even movies in the modern era. The famous movie The Labyrinth acknowledged the famous work of Maurice Sendak who wrote about Changelings in Outside over There in New Releases.


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Description These lrish tales all are reprinted from nineteenth-century sources, but they date back to a centuries-old oral tradition of storytelling that had yet to be committed to the printed page. They were passed down through the ages virtually unaltered and feature a wide variety of fantastic beings. This edition has an exquisitely designed bonded-leather binding, with distinctive gilt edging and a silk-ribbon bookmark.


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    Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X. Everyone spoke well of them and looked forward to The Pooka and the Piper In the olden days there was a man who played the pipes, but he was not famous for it, or if he was it was for the wrong reasons, since he had but the one tune, a jaunty jig called The Black Rogue. Now it happened one dark night that he was on his way home after entertaining the gentlemen, and with a few pence in his pocket and a few drinks under hi The Three Sons Times were hard in Ireland back years ago, and while some might say they've had it tough today, it was not a patch on the hardships people endured in times gone by.

    And so it was with Michael McGovern, a poor farmer with hardly an acre of stony soil to rent, who looked upon his three young sons with love for the life of them and fear for their A Promise There was a prince in Ireland a long, long time ago, back when Ireland still had princes, and O'Donall was his name.

    A brave fellow he was, and powerful, but given to risk and heedless thrills in his hunting and leaping and running and swimming, all the better to impress his friends. He was lord of a wide land, and he wasn't hard on the poo The Dark Valley A woman was out one day looking after her sheep in the valley, and coming by a little stream she sat down to rest, when suddenly she seemed to hear the sound of low music, and turning round, beheld at some distance a crowd of people dancing and making merry. And she grew afraid and turned her head away not to see them. Then close by her stood a you The Field of Ragweed They say that in Ireland you will enjoy all four seasons in a day, but on this day the four seasons were high and glorious summer, or so it seemed to Tom Fitzpatrick as he walked along a narrow road between two tall hedges in harvest time.

    As he walked, he chanced to hear a strange ringing like a tiny bell, and he paused, puzzled as to what it migh The Taking of Connla Connla of the Fiery Hair was one of the sons of Conn of the Hundred Battles, and his favourite son, a swift and agile warrior with a voice that could make the mountains tremble. Himself and his father climbed the heights of Usna on Samhain, when he saw coming towards them a slender maiden of great beauty, clad in strange clothes. The Horned Witches Strange are the ways of the Fairies of Ireland, and strange the look about them, but for all their wild and untamed manner they follow rules written in the ripples of willow-branches on still ponds, and laws murmured by the echo of birdsong in deep wells.

    Once there was a woman sitting in her cottage, a humble enough abode, and she was making wo Gan Ceanach There are many types of fairy in Ireland, some more risky than others, and some to be avoided due to their habits rather than out of any particular malevolence.

    Although you might think such a title would indicate a friendless creature of a lonely nature lacking in socia Fairy Forts There are a great many raths or fairy forts of old scattered throughout Ireland today, numbering in the tens of thousands, and it is here, the wise say, that the good people or fairy folk gather to hold their revels.

    Nobody would dare to cross, let alone build on a fairy dwelling in the past, marking as they did the boundary between our civilise The Tragedy of Cairn Thierna Near to the town of Fermoy in Ireland lies the great stack of Cairn Thierna, not as wide about nor as tall as some mountains perhaps but feared and respected by the local people nonetheless.

    For all around it and along its flanks are tall heaps of stones they say are the work of the fairy folk, or the old people who lived here long ago.

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    And you Stairs of the Giant On the road going down to Cork there's an old set of four walls that used to once be called Ronayne's Court. Although there's little enough to see of it nowadays still the stack of the chimneys stands proud, and on it can be seen the coat of arms of the family that built it and used to live there. They were a fine couple and had one John Fagan It was known in times past in Ireland that there were men and women who could talk to the fairies, ask favours from them, and even live among them, and some used this acquaintance to work their will on the world, for good or for ill.

    Most famous, perhaps, among these people were the fairy healers of old.