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Thompson 1 Jessica Thompson Lynette Vrooman English 1A 07 May 2012 The Good People: The rigin o!

the "rish #airies The $ord !airy con%&res &p images o! dimin&ti'e people $ith the $ings o! (&tter!lies $ho !lit a(o&t ca&sing mischie! and magic) *ay the $ord !airy to someone !rom "reland+ ho$e'er+ and an entirely di!!erent set o! images $ill (e imagined: a pale $oman $ho shrie,s a premonition o! death+ a headless horseman $ho leads a carriage made o! (ones+ and seals that slip o!! their s,ins to (ecome h&man) These and many more are e-amples o! the .good people/ o! "reland+ a race o! mythical (eings that ha'e enchanted people !or tho&sands o! years) 0&t $here did the idea o! !airies come !rom1 *e'eral di!!erent theories e-ist that attempt to e-plain their origins+ s&ch as the (elie! that they are !allen angels (anished !rom hea'en) Perhaps the most interesting s&pposition+ ho$e'er+ is that "rish !airies started o&t as the pre23hristian gods o! "reland+ the T&atha de 4anaan5 in !act+ this theory a(o&t the origin o! "rish !airies can (e traced (ac, all the $ay to 3eltic in!l&ence in "ron Age "reland and the mythological (attle that $as !o&ght (et$een the T&atha 4e 4anann and the Milesians) 0e!ore getting into the T&atha 4e 4anaan myths+ the historical en'ironment in $hich this mythology $as (orn sho&ld (e (rie!ly e-plored) Today+ "reland is ,no$n !or (eing the center o! 3eltic heritage+ (&t d&ring its height in the "ron Age+ the 3eltic 6orld+ .stretched !rom "reland and *pain in the $est and *cotland in the north to 37echoslo'a,ia in the east and northern "taly in the so&th and e'en (eyond E&rope to Asia Minor/ 8Green+ ."ntrod&ction/ 79) "reland d&ring this time $as mostly isolated !rom the other 3eltic areas and it is &n,no$n !or certain $hen+ e-actly+ the 3elts act&ally came to "reland) 0arry :a!tery 'ent&res in the essay . "reland: A

Thompson 2 6orld 6itho&t the :omans/ that .;i<t is not &ntil later in the third cent&ry ;0)3)<+ or e'en in the second+ that e'idence o! an esta(lished ;3eltic< presence in "reland is recogni7a(le/ 8=>09) The arri'al o! the 3elts is mirrored in "rish mythology $ith the de!eat o! the "rish deities (y a mythological race o! men tho&ght to (e the ancestors o! the c&rrent people o! "reland) Many o! the records o! "rish myth and !ol,lore $ere $ritten in the medie'al or later times5 'ery !e$ records e-ist !rom the act&al time period the myths $ere $idely spread+ so it is &n,no$n i! $hat is $ritten $as act&ally (elie'ed (y the "rish people) The te-ts $ritten post2 :oman and post23hristian $ere ine'ita(ly in!l&enced (y :oman and+ later+ 3hristian (elie!s so that a pict&re o! a p&rely 3eltic and "rish mythology is m&r,y at (est) E'en tho&gh it $ill ne'er (e certain i! the "rish mythological canon is acc&rate or not+ the myths ares still &se!&l and interesting to st&dy and learn a(o&t) The mythical stories and !ol,lore o! "reland are generally split into !o&r gro&ps (y most modern scholars+ three o! $hich are: .a mythological cycle o! 'oyages+ in'asions+ and pre23eltic di'inities5 the ?lster cycle+ reco&nting the e-ploits o! the :ed 0ranch $arriors5 and the #enian cycle+ $hich relates tales o! #ion Mac3&mhailll and the #ianna $arriors/ 8@ar'ey9) The !o&rth gro&p is the historical+ or ,ing+ cycle) The mythological cycle !oc&ses on the T&atha de 4anann+ or people o! the goddess 4ana or 4an&) The T&atha 4e 4anann $ere pre23eltic "rish di'inities .$ho came into "reland enshro&ded (y a magical mist $hich hid the s&n and their appearance !or three days and three nights/ 86hite 1A9) The gro&p o! gods incl&ded 0rigid+ goddess o! metal$or,+ healing+ and learning5 4ana+ the mother goddess5 Aongh&s+ god o! lo'e5 and Mac 3echt+ god o! eloB&ence 83otterell AA9) Lady Gregory reco&nts the e-ploits o! these mythological people in Irish Myths and Legends) *he $rites that soon a!ter their arri'al+ Cing D&ada o! the T&atha 4e 4anann sent a champion to "relandEs c&rrent occ&pants+ the #ir(olgs+ $ith a message stating that the T&atha 4e 4anann

Thompson F $o&ld accept control o'er hal! o! "reland+ or else a (attle $o&ld occ&r) The #ir(olgs re!&sed5 as a res&lt+ the !irst (attle o! Magh T&ireadh commenced) A!ter !o&r days o! !ighting+ the T&atha 4e 4anann gained ad'antage o'er the (attle+ and the #ir(olgs $ere so&ndly de!eated) Gregory states that D&ada e-tended a proposition o! peace to the #ir(olgs as $ell as an o!!ering o! one o! the !i'e pro'inces o! "reland) The "rish deities gained dominion o'er the rest o! "reland !or a time) ther (attles $ere !o&ght+ incl&ding the second (attle o! Magh T&ireadh against the #omor+ $ho $ere Gdread!&l ) ) ) to loo, at+ and maimed+ ha'ing (&t one !oot or one hand+ and they &nder the leadership o! a giant and his motherG 8F29) The T&atha 4e 4anann $ere again 'ictorio&s in the ens&ing (attle .largely (eca&se o! their s&perior magic/ 83otterell A=9) "t $as not &ntil the arri'al o! the Milesians and the (attle o! Tailltin that the gods $ere o'erthro$n) The Milesians+ so2called (eca&se they $ere led (y the sons o! Mil or Miled+ $ere tho&ght to (e mythical ancestors o! the modern2day "rish and $ere alternately re!erred to as the Gaels) Lady Gregory contin&es the tale (y claiming that the sons o! Mil came to "reland in order to see, re'enge !or a mem(er o! their race $ho had (een m&rdered there) The Milesians demanded that the T&atha 4e 4anann relinB&ish control o! "reland or !ace them in (attle) The gods re!&sed+ instead in'iting the Milesians to ma,e them an o!!er) The Milesians responded that i! the gods co&ld pre'ent the sons o! Mil !rom sailing their (oats ashore the island+ they $o&ld lea'e and ne'er ret&rn5 ho$e'er+ i! the Milesians s&cceeded+ the T&atha 4e 4anann $o&ld ha'e to concede "reland) 8A29 At !irst+ the T&atha 4e 4anann held (ac, the Milesian ships !rom the "rish shore (y creating a s&pernat&ral storm that ,illed many o! the sons o! Mil5 e'ent&ally+ ho$e'er+ one o! the Milesian people s&(d&ed the storm and the remaining ships landed) *hortly therea!ter+ the T&atha 4e 4anann attac,ed the Milesians+ (&t in the (attle o! Tailltin the gods $ere de!eated) The T&atha 4e 4anann $ere !orced to mo'e &nderneath the "rish co&ntryside in the mo&nds and hills called sidhe) Manannan+ son o! Lir+ !o&nd the sidhe !or his people to li'e in and

Thompson > placed enchantments o'er their d$elling places so that it $o&ld remain in'isi(le to mortals) The people inha(iting the hills soon (ecame ,no$n as Aes Sidhe 8people o! the !airy mo&nd9 or simply sidhe+ $hich in t&rn (ecame synonymo&s $ith !airies) E'ent&ally+ the T&atha 4e 4anaan trans!ormed into the !airies+ or sidhe+ !amiliar in "rish mythology 8 E3onor H>79) ! co&rse+ m&ltiple other theories a(o&nd that e-plain $here the idea o! !airies came !rom) *ome theories descri(e the sidhe as !allen angels+ restless so&ls ca&ght (et$een @ea'en and @ell+ or as the c&rsed children o! E'e 8 E0rien9) Do one theory can e'er (e indisp&ta(ly pro'ed right+ and there is no concrete e'idence that s&pports the T&atha 4e 4anann theory) This has ca&sed some people to B&estion the lin, (et$een them) @o$ can $e (e s&re that the !airies o! "reland are the same as the gods o! "reland1 3arolyn 6hite arg&es in A History of Irish Fairies that they (oth share many characteristics+ s&ch as shape2shi!ting+ a propensity !or magic+ and a lo'e o! m&sic) These and other similarities+ 6hite asserts+ pro'e that the sidhe and the T&atha 4e 4anann are one and the same 8209) "n any case+ $hether or not the "rish !airies started o&t as deities or !allen angels+ they are still !ascinating mythological (eings $ith &niB&e traits and c&stoms) Altho&gh the sidhe are named a!ter the hills and mo&nds !rom $hich they !irst !led to as de!eated gods+ !airies can li'e any$here in the nat&ral $orld as $ell as in a(andoned remains o! h&man d$ellings li,e castles and ch&rches 86hite F>9) Perhaps the !airy mo&nds ser'e only as a point o! access to the sidhe ther$orld 8 E3onor HH=9) This ther$orld+ the land o! the !airies+ e-ists as a part o! "reland+ (&t remains in'isi(le to most mortalsI&nless the !airies sho&ld $ish one to see it) *teenie @ar'ey descri(es the $orld o! the !airies in .3eltic 3reat&res: A 0estiary o! Ancient "reland/ as .a hidden other$orld realm2a ,ind o! parallel reality)/ Do single description o! the ther$orld e-ists5 the n&mero&s (oo,s+ articles+ !ol, tales+ and other so&rces that tell o! the land o! !airies depict it 'ario&sly as a l&sh and shimmering palace+ a

Thompson H .glori!ied replica/ o! o&r o$n $orld+ and a land o! immortality and !ood aplenty 86hite F=5 E3onor HHF9) "t is a place $here the perpet&ally yo&th!&l and (ea&ti!&l !airy gentry dance+ eat+ !ight+ and la&gh) The sidhe $ho li'e in the palaces o! the !airy ther$orld reg&larly a(d&ct h&mans and (ring them (ac, to playIo!ten $ith disastro&s res&lts) Time mo'es di!!erently in #aeryland5 a h&man might spend one ho&r $ith the !airies and+ a!ter emerging !rom the hidden $orld+ !ind se'eral years ha'e gone (y in the h&man $orld) As !or $hat the !airies themsel'es loo, li,e+ that entirely depends on $hat type o! !airy it is) There are generally considered to (e t$o di!!erent ,inds o! !airy: the trooping and the solitary !airy 86hite 1F9) The trooping !airies are the gentry and royalty o! the !airy palaces that spend their time doing $hate'er they $ishI$hich generally incl&des ca&sing mischie!) M&sic2ma,ing+ horsemanship+ and !ighting are a !e$ o! their !a'orite pastimes) According to Dorreys Jephson E3onor+ these sidhe ha'e .a godli,e appearance+ the !air (rightness &s&ally associated $ith di'inities/ and that .part o! their cost&me $as al$ays green+ color o! re(irth+ sym(ol o! hope and o! immortality/ 8H>72>A9) The solitary sidhe+ on the other hand+ are m&ch more 'aried in appearance and manner than their merry (rethren) ?nli,e the trooping !airies+ the solitary sidhe pre!er solit&de) Many more stories e-ist that chronicle s&pposed interactions (et$een solitary !airies and h&mans than trooping !airies and h&mans) *ome e-amples o! these types o! sidhe are $ell2,no$n in pop&lar c&lt&re+ yet others are rarely heard a(o&t) An e-ample o! the !ormer is the instantly recogni7a(le leprecha&n) "n the collected !ol, lore a(o&t this "rish !airy+ the leprecha&n is said to drin, hea'ily+ smo,e a pipe+ g&ard treas&re+ and co((le shoes) There are only male leprecha&ns+ and they are all rather &nattracti'e and short in appearance and (ad2tempered in demeanor) They are (o&nd to gi'e &p their treas&re to $home'er !inds it+ (&t they &se tric,ery to get o&t o! gi'ing &p their gold more o!ten than not)

Thompson = T$o e-amples o! sidhe o! the sea are the merro$ and the sil,ie) The merro$ is the "rish 'ersion o! a mermaid: a (ea&ti!&l $oman $ith a !ish tail $ho delights in tric,ing men) The male 'ersion o! the merro$ is .green in (ody $ith green hair and teeth5 he has pigsE eyes and scaly legs+ arms li,e !ins and $ears no clothes at all/ 86hite J29) The sil,ie+ on the other hand+ is a seal that (ecomes h&man a!ter casting o!! his or her s,in) "n the myths centering aro&nd them+ (oth the merro$ and sil,ie $omen ma,e dem&re and de'oted $i'es i! a man catches them+ (&t sho&ld they !ind the relic o! their past li'esIa cap !or the merro$ and a seal s,in !or the sil,ieI they $ill ret&rn to the sea $itho&t a (ac,$ards glance 86hite JF9) The d&llahan and (anshee are the !airies most connected $ith death) 0anshee+ also spelled as bean sidhe+ literally means .$oman !airy)/ *he is a !airy that d&ti!&lly screams $hen a mem(er o! her chosen !amily is a(o&t to die) The (anshee 'aries in appearance+ (&t generally she is tall+ slender+ and pale $ith long hair and eyes gone red !rom crying) The d&llahan is an &ncannily headless man $ho rides a headless horse and carries aro&nd a $hip he &ses to ta,e o&t the eyes o! mortals) "n concl&sion+ altho&gh many theories e-ist to e-plain the emergence o! the !airy in 3eltic lore and myth+ the theory that they $ere the "rish deities trans!ormed remains the most engaging and (elie'a(le one) 0eca&se the ma%ority o! "rish mythological te-ts $ere $ritten in post2 3hristianity "reland+ the res&lting myths are ine'ita(ly in!l&enced (y 3hristian teachings) 6e may ne'er ,no$ !or certain the (elie!s o! the "rish in pre23hristian times+ (&t $e can ma,e ed&cated g&esses) The myth o! the "rish !airy has &ndergone n&mero&s changes+ !rom their start as a po$er!&l gro&p o! gods all the $ay to the modern day imaginings o! !airies li,e Tin,er(ell) At any rate+ "rish !airies are here to stay+ $hether they e'ol'e !&rther or not)

Thompson 7 6or,s 3ited 3otterell+ Arth&r) Celtic Mythology: The Myths and Legends of the Celtic World) De$ Kor,: *mithmar,+ 1JJ7) Print) Green+ Miranda J)+ ed) The Celtic World) London: :o&tledge+ 1JJH) Print) 222) ."ntrod&ction: 6ho 6ere the 3elts1/ Green F27) Gregory+ Lady) Irish Myths and Legends) Philadelphia: :&nning Press+ 1JJA) Print) @ar'ey+ *teenie) .3eltic 3reat&res: A 0estiary o! Ancient "reland)/ The World & I J&n) 2000: 210221) ProQ est !esearch Library) 6e() 21 Apr) 2012) E0rien+ Ce'in L) Medb h"renn I The Faerie Lore of Ireland) 3lare Enterprises+ 200A) 6e() 07 May 2012) Lhttp:MM$$$)med(herenn)comM!aerie2lore)htmlN) E3onor+ Dorreys Jephson) .The Early "rish #airies and #airyland)/ The Se#anee !e$ie# ct) 1J20: H>H2H7) %ST&!) 6e() 21 Apr) 2012) :a!tery+ 0arry) ."reland: A 6orld 6itho&t the :omans)/ Green =F=2HF) 6hite+ 3arolyn) A History of Irish Fairies) De$ Kor,: 3arroll O Gra!+ 200H) Print)