Ireland’s long history is riddled with ancient mythology and folklore. Ireland’s ancient societies, the Druids and the Celtics, believed in the power of magic and many of these beliefs spread to modern day legends told again
and again across the country. Stories of warriors with all the knowledge of the world, fairies playing pranks on farm owners and leprechauns hiding their gold at the end of a rainbow add to the mysterious appeal of Ireland.
10. The Banshee
The Banshee was a woman who carried with her an omen of death. Sometimes you saw the Banshee as an old woman dressed in rags, sometimes you saw her as a young and beautiful girl and sometimes you saw her as a wash woman, ringing out bloody clothing
. Whenever she was seen, she let out a horrible cry and legend has it this cry brought death to any family that heard it. King James I of Scotland thought he was approached by a Banshee. Shortly after, he died at the Earl of Atholl.
The Pookas are a certain type of fairy- one bent on creating havoc in the mortal world. The Pooka appeared at night across rural Ireland and the seaboard. On a good day, the Pooka would cause destruction on a farm- tearing down fences and disrupting the animals. On a bad day, the Pooka would stand outside the farmhouse and call the people outside by name. If anyone came out, the Pooka would carry them away. The Pookas also loved to mess with the ships pulling away from Ireland, and were blamed for many shipwrecks along the rocky coast.
As legend has it, female fairies often give birth to deformed children. Since the fairies prefer visually pleasing babies, they would go into the mortal world and swap with a healthy human baby, leaving behind a changeling. While the changeling looked like a human baby, it carried none of the same emotional characteristics. The changeling was only happy when misfortune or grief happened in the house. The changeling legend has lasted for centuries. William Shakespeare talks of a changeling in his play, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Three hundred years later, Scarlett O’Hara believed Rhett Butler’s illegitimate child was a changeling in “Gone with the Wind.”
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Text version: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-irish-myths-and-legends.php
10. The Banshee
7. Dagda’s Harp
6. The Children of Lir
5. St. Patrick
4. The Shamrock
3. Finn MacCool