#OTD in 2009 – Blarney Stone voted ‘most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world’.

Ever since Cormac McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, was granted the eloquence to win a lawsuit by the goddess Clíodhna*, the Blarney Stone has conferred the gift of gab on all who kiss. Mind you, this isn’t easy to do. You have to climb to the top of the castle then dangle backwards over […]

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Eve of Bealtaine | Beltane

The Celtic Festival of Bealtaine/Beltane which marks the beginning of summer in the ancient Celtic calendar is a Cross Quarter Day, half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. While the Bealtaine Festival is now associated with 1st May, the actual astronomical date is a number of days later. The festival was marked […]

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The Legend of Cú Chulainn

There are a number of versions of the story of Cú Chulainn’s birth. In the earliest version of Compert C(h)on Culainn (The Conception of Cú Chulainn), his mother Deichtine is the daughter and charioteer of Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, and accompanies him as he and the nobles of Ulster hunt a flock of […]

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The Hill of Uisneach | Westmeath

Near Mullingar lies the legendary Hill of Uisneach. In ancient Ireland, it was considered by druids to be the geographical and spiritual centre of the Emerald Isle. A rock known as Cat Stone, the Irish name “Ail na Mireann” means “stone of division”, marks the point where all five Irish provinces met. Éiru, in modern […]

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The War Hollow

Viking influence in the Celtic lands goes back to the very beginning of the Viking Age, when men from Scandinavia decided to make the perilous journey across the seas to take what treasures they could. One of these Viking raiders was Magnus Olaffson (Magnús Óláfsson), better known as Magnus Barelegs or Barefoot, the king of […]

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Crow Goddess | Morrigan

Draped over her shoulders, with its full hood pulled around her face and sweeping to the ground behind her, was a cloak made entirely of ravens’ feathers. The crow is a personification of the three Mórrígna in Celtic mythology and especially of Badb Mórrigu, the harbinger of doom. In this form, she seems to be […]

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Dún Aonghasa | Co Galway

The view from the summit of the fort is most impressive and solemn: the desolate-looking fields…fall away to the golden crescent of Kilmurvey strand, and rise up the opposite hill…to the old lighthouse near Dun Oghil. Eastwards runs the long range of steep, dark headlands, and deep bays, rarely unsheeted by high-leaping spray…The limits of […]

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Midir and Etáin

A bronze representation of the mythical figures Midir and Etain taking flight swan-like by Eamonn O’Doherty at Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre. Midir was a king of the Tuatha de Dannan; proud, handsome and regal. His wife was called Fuamnach, and was his equal in every way. She too was tall and proud, and she was herself […]

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The Battle of Cúchulainn and Ferdiad

Ferdiad, was a warrior of Connacht in Irish Mythology. In the Táin Bó Cuailnge (The Brown Bull of Cooley) Ferdia finds himself on opposite sides to his best friend and foster-brother Cúchulainn, with whom he had trained in arms under the renowned warrior woman Scathach. He and Cúchulainn are equal in all martial feats, with […]

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