How and When the 32 Counties of Ireland Formed

The division of Ireland into shires or counties is of Anglo-Norman and English origin. The counties generally represent the older native territories and sub-kingdoms. King John formed twelve counties in 1210. Those parts of Ireland which were under English jurisdiction he parcelled out into twelve shires or counties: namely, Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Uriel (or Louth), […]

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The Travelling People

“When I was a child we were hunted from place to place and we could never have friends to be always going to school with. The little settled children would run past our camps – they were afeard of the travellers. Other people had a sort of romantic idea about us, because of the horses […]

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Giant’s Grave

Moytura is where the Tuatha Dé Danann began their invasion by taking on the Fir Bolg in a battle for the possession of Ireland. It’s name in Irish is Cath Maighe Tuireadh, meaning ‘Battle of the Plain of Pillar’. The Danann won. Some thirty years later, a second battle of Moytura was fought, this time […]

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Ancient Irish Olympics – The Lughnasa Games at Telltown

The Telltown or Tailtiu Games were said to have been instituted by the Gaelic god Lú Lamhfada Samildanách – Lugh­ the Long-Armed Master of the Arts, and are considered to be the Irish Olympics Games. They predate the Greek Olympics by about 1200 years and it could be reasonably speculated that the Irish Telltown Games […]

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Irish Wolfhounds – “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”

Irish Wolfhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dogs recorded in the history of man. They appear in early Irish law tracts under the name “Cú” (modern Irish word for hound). The dogs are known as the “gentle giants” of the canine world expressed in the breed slogan, “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”. […]

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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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Devenish-Damhinis – The Isle of Oxen

Under St Molaise, this isle once held one of the greatest monastic scholars, the peer of Columbia. The monks of Devenish were of a reform order known as Culdees (Céilí Dé), Companions of God. Lough Erne bursts with legend, with its own banshee and ghosts. Most prominent of the tales is that of the prophet, […]

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Faoladh: Werewolves of Ireland

The Irish werewolf is different from the Teutonic or European werewolf, as it is really not a “monster” at all. Unlike its continental cousins, this shapeshifter is the guardian and protector of children, wounded men and lost persons. According to some ancient sources, the Irish werewolves were even recruited by kings in time of war. […]

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The Banshee

As we move into the darkest months of the year, it seems fitting to visit a spectre as ancient as life itself – the Banshee. A banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology who heralds the death of a family member, usually by shrieking or keening. Her name is connected to the mythologically-important tumuli […]

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