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.
According to legend, the Tuatha de Danann were a mystical race of God-like beings who invaded and ruled Ireland over four thousand years ago. Modern academics and scholars deny they ever existed, yet ancient historians have left behind texts full of the most incredible stories about them.
The banishment of snakes was a phenomenon which happened right across Europe in early Christian times. St Patrick was said to have driven Ireland’s serpents into the sea from a mountain called Croagh Patrick. Yet Ireland never had any indigenous snakes. Was this a metaphor for destroying the Druids and pagan worship?