The Celtic Goddess, Boann

BOANN (Boínd, Boínn) is the Goddess of water, fertility, inspiration and knowledge. Her name is interpreted as ‘white cow’ (bó fhionn) in the Dindsenchas. According to the Lebor Gabála Érenn she was the daughter of Delbáeth, of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Her husband is variously Nechtan, Elcmar or Nuada Airgetlám. Her lover is the Dagda, […]

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History of Irish Dance

The history of Irish dance started when the Celts arrived in Ireland from central Europe over 2,000 years ago. They brought with them their individual styles of dances and music. There are vague references to the early history of Irish dancing but evidence shows that its first participants were the Gaels. They danced in religious […]

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Mystic Symbols

From the motion-within-stillness of the endless knot, constructed on principles of cosmic geometry, to the stark simplicity of the cup or cauldron, the Celts wove a web of symbols which remind us that there is a deep and sometimes hidden meaning in the everyday. Whether you wear a triskele around your neck, recite stories to […]

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The Ghost of George ‘Bloody’ Hutchinson

George Hutchinson is commonly remembered for his role in crushing the local United Irishmen during the 1798 Rebellion. In 1798, magistrates were encouraged to deal harshly with offenders. Those found guilty of insurrection risked being given a public lashing, transportation to the penal colonies or execution by hanging. Hutchinson is alleged to have ordered the […]

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Samhain and Irish Mythology

Irish mythology was originally a spoken tradition, but much of it was eventually written down in the Middle Ages by Christian monks, who Christianised it to some extent. Nevertheless, these tales may shed some light on what Samhain meant and how it was marked in ancient Ireland. Irish mythology tells us that Samhain was one […]

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Áine, Celtic Goddess

Water had a special magic for the Celts as a symbol of vitality and inspiration. The fact that it could capture lights (for example, a reflection of the setting sun) could not be rationally explained and was taken as proof of supernatural properties. Wells and springs were charged with magic powers. Lakes and rivers were […]

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Legend of Úna Bhán

McDermott was the Chieftain of Moylurg, a Celtic Kingdom in North Roscommon. He had a beautiful daughter, Úna Bhán, – so named because of her long blonde hair. His neighbour was Tomás Láidir Costello, a good and sincere man, handsome and strong. Úna Bhán and Tomás Láidir fell in love and wished to marry but […]

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Lia Fáil and Cú Chulainn

The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) is a stone at the Inauguration Mound (an Forrad) on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath, which served as the coronation stone for the High Kings of Ireland. It is also known as the Coronation Stone of Tara. In legend, all of the kings of Ireland were crowned […]

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Kathleen Ní Houlihan – Ireland Personified and Irish Nationalism

Kathleen Ni Houlihan (Caitlín Ní Uallacháin, literally, “Kathleen, daughter of Houlihan”) is a mythical symbol and emblem of Irish nationalism found in literature and art, sometimes representing Ireland as a personified woman. The figure of Kathleen Ni Houlihan has also been invoked in nationalist Irish politics. Kathleen Ni Houlihan is sometimes spelled as Cathleen Ni […]

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Hy Brasil – The Lost Legendary Island of Ireland

Hy-Brasil was an island which appeared on ancient maps as early as 1325 and into the 1800s. On most maps, it was located roughly 321km (200 miles) off the west coast of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its name is derived from Old Irish hy, a variation of í, meaning ‘island’, and brasil, from […]

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