Blog by Gifts of Ireland

Five Irish Myths You Should Know About

Five Irish Myths You Should Know About

Hello everyone, Jenna here. Today I wanted to share what I think is a cool interest of mine. From a young age I have always loved folklore and mythology. Before coming to Ireland I knew that Irish Mythology and folklore was pretty interesting however  I felt compelled to learn even more than I knew and share the stories of prominent legends that emerged from Ireland.



Banshees have become a very popular myth known in pop culture. Even in pop culture they are accredited to having  origins in Ireland. Banshees are a female spirit who heralds the death of a family member in the form of wailing or a shrieking. The scream is the omen of someone’s death. There are many descriptions of what she looks like. Her main features are her constant bloodshot eyes and long hair. This description says she is an old woman who wears a green dress and is draped in a grey cloak. Other descriptions include: An old woman with a veil covering her face, dressed all in black with long grey hair. A beautiful woman wearing a shroud, A pale woman in a white dress with long red hair, A woman with a long silver dress and silver hair, A headless woman carrying a bowl of blood and is naked from the waist up.  

Traced back to the 8th century, the story of the Banshee comes from the tradition of women singing a sorrowful song as they wept at someone's death. They were labelled “Keeners” as well as sinners for they used alcohol as payment. Their punishment for their sins was to become  banshees. 

The Morrígan


The Morrígan is another Irish mythological figure that has been represented in pop culture. In old Irish Mór Ríoghain is the translation. The name has been interpreted to have the meaning “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen”. She is a figure associated with war, death and fate. Specifically, the foretelling of doom, death and or victory in battle. She is commonly associated with banshees, another figure in Irish folklore. She is said to have different forms. She is said to appear as a crow or as an individual.  She is most frequently seen as a goddess of battle and war and has also been seen as a manifestation of the  sovereignty-goddess, another figure in celtic mythology. She is also said to be a trio called, The​ Three Morrígna.

The Morrígan is said to be the envious wife of The Dagda, a very important god in Irish Mythology. Many believe Morrígan has connections to Morgan, the prominent figure in the Arthurian Legend, in means of being inspirations for the character. 



Leprechauns or in Irish Gaelic, Leipreacháns, are known in pop culture to be creatures in the form of short old men wearing all green including the top hat. In popular culture you might find a leprechaun on a cereal box. The real Leprechauns were not as nice as Lucky who adorns the boxes of Lucky Charms. Instead real Leprechauns are very mischievous creatures who make their living by  making shoes. They are said to hide coins in pots of gold at the end of rainbows. To those who are lucky to catch one can have their wishes granted. 

The Dadga and the Harp

dagda harp

This legend is not as well known as fairies or leprechauns however, it is a great legend and story.  The Dadga is a very important god in Irish mythology, he was the father figure in the Tuatha Dé Danann (Tribe of Gods). In Irish mythology  He is associated with fertility, agriculture, manliness and strength, as well as magic, druidry and wisdom. He had many treasures but his most important was his Harp. The same harp we see on the Irish coat of arms. 

The harp had a name, Uaithne. Also known as the Four Angled Music. It was made of oak and richly decorated, and only the Daghda could get music from its strings. He could make anyone who heard it feel any emotion. Dagda playing the harp made the seasons come in the correct order.


The Abhartach 


The Abhartach also known as The Irish Vampire. It is said that her terrorized the people of County Derry in the 5th century. Some say The Abhartach was a blood seeking dwarf while others pictured him in a different way, This would link him to what a modern day vampire would look like. He was also known as a skilled magician.

In the legend, The Abhartach rises from his grave to drink the blood of his subjects. Throughout the legend he is hunted and killed three times before he finally was killed and buried properly, not allowing him to rise from his grave again. 

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