• Were There Women Poets in Ancient Ireland?

    The evidence for women poets in ancient Ireland is fragmentary, to say the least, but it exists. Resistance seems to stem more from modern prejudice concerning gender norms projected onto the past by current scholars and archaeologists, according to feminist archaeology.

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  • The Fairy Folk of Ireland

    In Ireland, these magical beings are known as ‘the Sidhe’ (prounounced Shee), also the Aos Sí, and Daoine Sídhe, and in Scottish lore, the Sith. They are named after the mounds which dot the Irish landscape, and which are said to lead to their homes below the ground. In folklore, they are often referred to as ‘the Fair Folk’ (hence fairy), or the ‘little people’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Well. You know what I mean.

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  • Were There Giants in Ancient Ireland?

    You might think that Irish mythology is full of giants, what with Fionn building the Giant’s Causeway, and the number of ancient stone monuments named ‘The Giant’s Bed/ Leap/ Grave’, but you’d be wrong. There is, however, a specific reason why giants exist in local Irish folklore.

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  • The Curious Phenomenon of the Irish Fairy Tree

    In Ireland, we take our fairy trees, our fairy tales, and our fairy folk for that matter, quite seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we delay the building of a motorway by ten years, and then end up completely re-routing it so that we avoid harming a well-known fairy tree.

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  • Speaking in Tongues of Fire

    Today, satire refers to biting, snarky incendiary sarcasm, often humorous, generally aimed at politicians and people of power. But to the ancient Irish, whose society was founded on a code of honour, satire had a much darker, and more practical purpose. To compose a satire against someone was to challenge their authority and call their honour into question. There could be no greater shame.

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  • A Fire in the Head | Shamanic Use of Amanita in Irish Mythology

    The Irish called it Agairg Cuileoige, but it’s more popularly known as Amanita Muscaria. It has been used throughout the ages and around the world for its hallucinogenic properties, usually for religious, shamanic and spiritual purposes. And there are lots of clues in Irish mythology as to its use in ancient Irish culture.

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  • Warrior Women of Ireland

    Irish mythology is riddled with powerful women, yet they are quite an enigma. On the one hand, we have feisty Queens like Medb,and fearsome Goddesses like the Morrigan. On the other, we have the helpless heroines such as Etain, Deirdre, and Grainne, who seemingly did little but lure men with their beauty into tragedy and catastrophe. But ancient Ireland also had its fair share of warrior women, and some of them were quite kickass!

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  • The Elixir of Youth Everlasting

    Achieving immortality by way of a drink fermented from honey is spoken of in many mythologies around the world; Nectar/ Ambrosia in Greek mythology, Amrita in Vedic mythology, Mead in Norse mythology, for example. In Ireland, we have such a myth, too.

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  • Did the Ancient Irish Believe in Reincarnation?

    The Druids left us no written record of their religion. What we know has been patched together from later Christian interpretations, and the writings of observers such as Julius Caesar, but where does the line cross between fact and fiction?

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  • Riastradh, the Warrior’s Battle Frenzy

    The Norsemen were famous for it, the Romans accused the Celts of it, and  it seems our Irish ancestors were capable of it too: the strange phenomenon known as the ‘battle frenzy’. Cuchullain’s battle frenzy was known in Irish as the riastradh, now translated as ‘contortion/ convulsion’, but thought to have originally referred to ‘the red rage of battle’ in ancient times.

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